Monday, 11 January 2016

My Values | Be Authentic

As followers of The Romeo Project already know, the month of January is all about my resolution to Be Authentic.
It’s about being true to myself; my like, my passion, my dislikes. And my values.

Values are the things that empower, motivate and excite you. They are what you stand for. How you want to live your life.

Now I’m trying to figure out what my values are. But how do we actually discover our values?

I started with a simple list of things I admire – honesty, being grateful, being polite, and empathy.

Mike Jaffe, 'Wake Up Your Life is Calling'
Then I took a look at Mike Jaffe’s book ‘Wake Up Your Life is Calling’.

Jaffe’s book contains a list of values to help you find the qualities that fit you (see Defining Your Core Values - Part I). The list isn't conclusive, and Jaffe highlights that you may come up with other values not on the list.
I figured I could link some of my values with some of his;

  • My honesty was his truth.
  • My empathy was his compassion, kindness and caring.

I also loved that authenticity was listed as a value. Seen as my month was all about 'Be Authentic', I would like to someday say authenticity is a value of mine. But for now, it didn't quite fit.

However, I was already starting to feel a disconnect with gratefulness and being polite. Could they be Jaffe’s respect and co-operation? Did those values really fit with how I wanted to live my life?

So I turned to Part II of Jaffe’s piece on defining your values for guidance.

In Part II, Jaffe includes a couple of questions geared towards helping you evaluate which values are most important in your life (see Defining Your Core Values - Part II).
Mike Jaffe, 'Wake Up Your Life is Calling'

A) Write down three people who you admire or who inspire you, and state what it is about them that you respect (e.g. Gandhi: love, authenticity, peace). List all of their admirable qualities. 

1) Cristiano Ronaldo – Yes, the Portuguese/ Real Madrid footballer has been a favourite of mine ever since I read about his life off the field. He’s resilient, rising out of poverty using his skills alone. He showed strength to move to England on his own as a teenager. He values family above all else, that much is clear from any basic knowledge of him, and he’s loyal to them. He also has a kind side and donates hundreds of thousands to children’s charities and children’s hospitals every year.

2) My mother – Again, she’s someone to whom family is very important. She has always put others’ needs in front of her own. She works hard, and she’s a compassionate and sympathetic person.

3) JK Rowling – When I was 15 I did a research project on JK Rowling and discovered that not only was she my favourite author, but she was the type of person I wanted to look up to as well. She also rose to the challenge that a difficult situation left her in; showing strength and resilience as a single mother. She provided for her family through her own hard work and created the Harry Potter series. She’s generous and has set up her own charity to help people around the world. She also stands up for what she believes in, which is ardently visible with a simple glance at her Twitter profile.

These were the people that first sprung to my mind when I read Jaffe's question, but if I were to list others, the qualities I like about them would probably be similar.
So are these qualities something I value?

Family is a recurring theme when it comes to the people I admire. It’s clearly something I find important, and now that I see it, I feel like it fits with me. For me, family isn't just about blood. There are close friends who have transcended that bond, and I would consider them family too. Therefore, family deserves a place on my own list of values.

Compassion is key for me. I consider myself a compassionate person; my reaction to one of our politicians falling out of a boat into the floods was 'I hope she brought a change of clothes with her, the poor thing.' It fits with my value of empathy that I’d discovered earlier.

Resilience has also emerged as a quality I look up to. I struggle to call myself resilient because it feels like a compliment, and I don't often (ever) compliment myself. But I feel like resilience is what I'm trying to achieve with my blog. Resilience is making the list of values.

All three of the people I admire are also hardworking. I hadn’t considered this as one of values, but seeing it emerge through this task reminded me of how highly I do value my own work ethic and commitment to whatever it is I’m working on at the time. I decided to check the qualities Jaffe includes in his Part I list; persistence, perseverance, dedication. But was there one word to sum this all up? Following some online dictionary and thesaurus searches I settled on conscientious; something many of my teachers actually called me in school.

Taking these new qualities on board I now have a list of five values;

Now to take Jaffe’s advice.
Reinforce these values. Try them on. Do they fit you?

Since the beginning of January I’ve been trying to emulate these values in all that I do. It’s not always easy to remember, but I’ve realised that these values have already been shaping how I live my life – they’re why I work in the field that I do, they’re how I decide to spend my time, they’re a part of me. I’ve only just identified them now.

My values also form an important part of my Life Handbook, as it involves putting them into action. But more on that next week!

A Bit Of Everything

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