Defining your values, to yourself and others

Four years ago, I spent some time defining my core values and how these apply to work. These have been a part of my identity for as long I have worked . They also guided me as I balanced work with other experiences that contribute to my place in the world.

These values probably limited my ability to climb proverbial ladders of power, but they also mean that I am authentic in how I show up and what I want others to know about me.

That is me, Rudy Owens, on Martha’s Vineyard, in July 1984, when I worked outdoors. It was a lousy job, but I learned some important things from the crew and from my employer, DeSorcy Contracting.

In no particular order, here are some of my values as they mostly relate to me in the work world, where most of us have to find our place and earn our keep. Some values also relate to what I prioritize when seeking that elusive balance in life.

•    I value hard work.
•    I value personal and professional integrity.
•    I value collaboration with colleagues and open systems thinking more than hierarchy and close-systems thinking.
•    I value creativity and those who are wildly passionate in visions for change.
•    I value being open to constantly learning new things.
•    I value spontaneity and the ability to change.
•    I value travel and learning from experience and other cultures.
•    I value personal health and the promotion of health at the individual, local, national, and international level.
•    I value simplicity.
•    I value the benefits that come from fair but fierce competition.
•    I believe in pursuing goals bigger than one’s self and one’s immediate surroundings.

So, these are my values. What are yours? What do you do stand for? How do you show them? What do you do when they conflict with your coworkers and neighbors? How do you respond? Do your values bend or do they guide you through life’s ambiguities?

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