Mindful Values: Professing Or Practicing?

“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values, and follow my own moral compass, then the only expectations I have to live up to are my own.” – Michelle Obama

I had been sober for only four weeks when the country entered COVID lockdown in March 2020. Suddenly, my nine hours of group meetings and counseling each week were halted, and I felt a moment of panic when I realized how much I depended on them to keep moving forward in recovery. As I searched for online resources and programs to leverage for support, an activity from graduate school more than 10 years earlier came to mind. It was a values card exercise to identify and define our personal values. At the time, I was fully aware of how important an organization’s values were to its culture and employees from a leadership perspective, yet I had never considered my own values on a personal level. 

Curious where this mindful memory was leading me, I searched through boxes of grad school materials to find a deck of values cards. Leading myself through the activity I remembered, I emerged an hour later with my top five values – Love, Joy, Growth, Wellness, Kindness – and a newfound commitment to live, love, and lead a life aligned with my values, one in which alcohol addiction had no part. 

What are your top values? It’s one thing to know them, and another to live and lead accordingly. Exemplary leaders don’t simply profess their values – they practice through alignment with their behaviors. Living and leading into our values means we walk our talk – we practice DWYSYWD, as Jim Kouzes & Barry Posner describe in The Leadership Challenge, Do What You Say You Will Do. By mindfully assessing our actions and activities based on their alignment with our values, we are better positioned to make decisions, solve problems, and lead organizations. Leaning into our values allows us to lead ourselves, our lives, and those we love with courage, authenticity, and integrity, and it’s a commitment I made more than 530 sober days ago.  

For a closer look at your values, take the Mindful Values survey at https://lnkd.in/eWG8qMa

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