This is one of the most thought-provoking soul-searching questions I ask myself.
Principles, standards, convictions, and beliefs that we adopt as our guidelines. We live this values every day. They are our baseline for making decisions and are the reason for our reactions.
Our values are passed on to us by our parents. The process begins pretty much at birth. Those values are instilled in us as we experience our childhood. Then what happens? We begin witnessing and perhaps adopting the values of of friends, teachers, and people in our religious experiences. Do I dare mention the values we witness on television and in movies?
My kids grew up during the Friends frenzy. I didn’t want them to watch the show, I knew they were too young to witness the values being portrayed on the show. What is a concerned mom to do? They, of course, would complain that they were “old enough” to watch the show. I decided I would let them watch Friends; however, I sat with them on the couch. Every time one of the characters did something against my value system I would say to the kids, “Now you two know we don’t sleep with every person that walks through our door, etc.”
Finally, they said, “Forget it, mom, we don’t really want to watch the show.”
“Oh! Okay!” I said. Works for me!
When I was teaching, my number one, non-negotiable value was the safety of the kids. I understood it to be my personal responsibility to make sure the kids were safe, felt safe, were respected as individuals, and always knew that I was responsible for them while they were in my care. Momma-Teacher bear would show up through me if I ever believed that value was being comprised by another student, parent, administrator, whomever. I remember one time, in particular, I felt like the kids were being put at risk. I would not back down from my decision. It caused conflict between myself and others that I worked with at the time. Finally, I came to understand our top values were different. There was nothing I would be able to say or do that would change their choices. I did what was in my control to do. I will admit, it was very difficult. Through the process, I learned a lot about my character and the strength of a strong value.
My values include serving others, love, trustworthiness, dedication, justice, peace and honesty. When any of these values are at risk for being comprised (by me or anyone else), I am pretty quick to react (with love, of course) to do what I believe is necessary to right the wrong (in my perspective). However, I am much more mindful that other people operate from a different value system than I do. I do not comprise my top values; however, sometimes the situation is a draw. Other times, it will be necessary for me to remove myself from the situation because I cannot and will not condone the choices made and it is not the final authority on the decision.
Agree to Disagree
Do we have to agree to disagree? Is it possible we are both right, each from their own perspective?
Last week I talked about pruning friendships. We hang out with people like us; similar value systems, likes, dislikes, etc. Perhaps the pruning is necessary when one person’s value system has changed. It is not that we no longer “like” that person, one of us has changed. That is okay, we need to recognize it as such and move on. This happens in families, friendships, and marriages.
What are your values? Are your personal values different from your business values? My number one value in business is serving others. It is the principle that guides my decisions to offer the services I do. My number one value in my personal life is love. It is the standard, that I make the decisions for all my relationships. When I deviate in choices, decisions, or actions from those number one values, I am failing to live my life to the fullest potential. Therefore, it is important that I do a “value check” when situations present themselves; I have every intention of living to my fullest potential!