I write a lot about the importance of values. Developing them, defining them, and living them. How about changing them? I think that for many, living by a named and defined set of values is extremely valuable (pun intended). So what do you do when you realize that your values have changed or evolved? You change them, because it means that you have changed or evolved. Leadership is a constantly iterative process, and just like we always seek to make our work better, we should also consistently work to make ourselves better leaders. A year ago, I wrote about values. If you want a reminder on how to create a set of personal core values, you can go back and read my original blog on the topic. I have learned a lot in the past year, and have realized that while some of my values have stayed the same, some have changed (noted with *).
Creativity: This value continues to be at the forefront of my mind. I believe in thinking outside the box, testing crazy ideas, and pushing myself to be more generative. I have become better and better at talking myself into and out of ideas, by exercising my creativity. Over the past year, I’ve pushed myself outside of my creative comfort zone through working on a novel, doing a few DIY projects, and trying some recipes that I always considered too challenging to do.
Curiosity: To me, the power of curiosity is two-fold. First – it is about listening deeply and asking powerful questions. It’s being candid, open, challenging, and empathetic. Curiosity is also about learning. I seek to not only learn from others, but to learn through reading, watching documentaries, observing the world around me, and observing myself. I recently started a leadership/executive coach training program, and am learning to hone in my ability to be curious, as it is at the forefront of becoming a great coach.
*Kindness: This is a new value for me, in the sense that I’m explicitly naming it as a core value for the first time. At the end of the day, if I’m not kind to others, I have not been living up to the core of who I want to be as a human being. I want to continue to focus on loving others, even when I’m frustrated, disappointed, or disagree with their choices. Kindness is defined as being friendly, generous, and considerate, and those are three things I want to continue to commit myself to.
*Humor: I have learned to find the humor in as much of life as I can, especially this past year. Without humor, I would not have been able to thoroughly enjoy my wedding while in a big boot, while preparing for a surgery based on a very silly accident. I believe that humor can be used to bring people together, especially during difficult situations. I might not be great at telling jokes (I’m actually really, really bad…seriously, mom), but I do love to make people laugh.
*Optimism: In my last set of values, I defined this as ‘positive attitude’. While I consider the two values to be similar, I see a few distinctions for myself. As defined, optimism refers to hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. While I do want to continue to approach everything with a positive attitude, I really do want to stay hopeful and confident – and to understand what I can do to contribute to the world, in ways big and small, especially when things seem less than hopeful.
I am excited to update my values, and found the exercise refreshing and reinvigorating. It is important to remember that my values are not necessarily your values, and they’re definitely not the right set of values – they simply reflect what is most important to me at this moment in time. So I ask, what are your values?