Values come in two forms.
The ones we talk about every day are our spoken values. These are the ones we normally reach for when asked, ‘what are your values?’.
The ones we live are our lived values.
The two are not always the same.
It is easy to talk about our values, it is harder to live them. Unless our values have been tested, we do not really know whether they are our values.
If our values are intended as an inner compass, a guide for our lives, then they are worth a little more thought. Are my values aligned with my actions or are they but cheap talk?
We can test this easily enough by looking back at big decisions we have made in our lives and the values that have underpinned them.
Big decisions are easy to spot, they are the ones where something changed. A relationship started or stopped, a change in career direction, the start or end of an era in our lives or a shift in the strategy of our business. There are surely more examples.
If the things we value come up as the consistent thread in these big decisions then our spoken values are aligned with our lived values.
If our values waiver with every decision, then perhaps we need to take a closer a look at what we consistently value.
Those are more likely to be our lived values, and the ones we should speak about.
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