How to practice walking the talk with your values

I believe values need to be aspirational, not descriptive. The best values inspire you to better actions, not just define your current state. This is true with organizational values as much as it is with personal values.

For example, I have, historically, had a problem with control, anxiety, and patience. When I don’t have control I get anxious. And when I get anxious I get impatient. And when I get impatient I’m prone to taking it out on people around me – in the form of pressure, frustration, and disrespect.

My number one value is contentment, which means being satisfied and at peace with the present moment. However, this value is not a description of myself. It is an aspiration.

After speaking at a conference in Whistler, B.C., I caught a shuttle to the Vancouver airport (about a three hour trip). Traffic wasn’t as bad as expected and we got there early enough that there was time to catch an earlier flight. I found out there were seats available on the earlier flight for a $150 change fee.

I immediately went to frustration. I allowed the guest service person to take away my contentment and peace of mind. Annoyed, and upon reflection, I wondered why I gave my serenity and personal power away to a person I didn’t even know. Then I sat and re-read my values and decided it was more important to be contented than it was to be right.

I used the 90 minutes to relax, make some calls to friends, and reflect on what really matters in my life.
When I walked on the originally booked flight, I was a lot more contented than I was at the guest service desk.

I am practicing walking the talk. And I’m making imperfect progress.

What is your aspirational value?

What’s the difference between tension and relaxation?

I hate to admit it, but I have spent a good part of my life trying to live up to an image to impress others. I call it impression management.

It’s exhausting managing impressions and constantly regulating myself. There’s a constant fear of doing something that doesn’t correspond with the image I am trying to project.

The problem with living in fear is that it overpowers creativity, joy, inner peace, and spontaneity.

There’s a Zen saying: Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.

I guess this is a reason why I have spent a good part of my life teaching about authenticity. That which we are best able to teach others is what we are most in need of developing within ourselves.

How to hold yourself accountable to be authentic.

Authenticity is when your actions are a full expression of who you are in a way that contributes to the world. You are in alignment with what life wants from you. The Authentic Way is the awareness that you don’t need to change yourself; you need to come home to yourself.

Words I hear used to describe what it’s like to be authentic, at home with yourself: happy, confident, peaceful, free, brave, calm, inspired, appreciative, alive, fulfilled, ‘you lose all track of time.’

Words used to describe when how you live is not the real you: exhausting, anxious, depressing, sad, irritable, stressed, lonely, disengaged, empty, lost.

How to hold yourself accountable to be authentic:

  1. Decision. Like any choice to change your life, it starts with a decision – a firm resolve to live your life authentically.
  2. A Benchmark. Have a sense of what authenticity feels like to you: have a vision of what “coming home” means to you. Know you’ll be “off course” much of the time in a world that expects much from us.
  3. Community. Authenticity is a lonely journey but it can’t be done alone. Community can come in the way of teachers, guides, confidants, and coaches – those who support you and hold you accountable to be who you are.
  4. Self-Reflection. The authentic journey is a contemplative journey. Reserve time on a regular basis to turn off technology to attend to the voice from within.
  5. Journaling. Regularly writing down your emotions, reflections, dreams, values, progress, and gratitude, can help keep you connected to your authenticity.
  6. Feedback. Be open to how you are impacting others. Stay humble. Being teachable is a core quality of authenticity.
  7. Uniqueness. Create a list of ways you come home to yourself, nourish yourself, and attend to these regularly (e.g. spending time in nature, with good friends, with animals you love, reading books, cooking, going to museums or the theatre, etc.)
  8. Service. Authenticity means bringing your gifts to the world in a way that makes the world better – even in some small way. Be sure you are intentional about making a difference.

Peaceful New Years

Peaceful New Years

This is a good time to reflect on the past year and refocus for the coming year. I always take a day between Christmas and New Years to take an inventory and clarify my goals and intentions for the upcoming year.

I don’t make New Years resolutions. I make a list of what I’ve learned and achieved this past year and review my commitments to myself, so I don’t get distracted from what matters most.

We, at the David Irvine Team, want to express our heart-felt wish for a contented new year.

May you find peace in the storms of your life, embrace each moment with careful attention, stay true to what matters to you, and have the courage to live a life that belongs to you.

#theleadersnavigator #happynewyear #inspiration #peace