Displaying Values

Dear all,

Imagine has been a powerful conference for many of us. The problem with conferences however, no matter how powerful they are, is that they are limited in scope- our everyday life catches up with us quickly. So if you made it to continue reading this blog, congrats for not letting the rat race catch up with you!

My entries this week will be around personal development. How can we live a more conscious life, make the right decisions for ourselves, plus find the energy to put them into motion? If you figured out the right formula for that, send it to me, and I will happy to post it here for you. .-) If not, I look for ward to some open discussion about this topic.

Maybe you remember that we had a session on Finding my Values in the Open Space Session. I am working on the output these days. Juliane helped me here by providing her notes as a photo-protocol -the flipchart go lost. But her notes looked more in order than my flipchart-writing anyway!
One question we discussed there was about displaying our values. When giving trainings on Personal Development, I notice that many people are reluctant to share their values with others after they wrote them down for themselves. And that is also the question I would like to ask you personally: If I asked you the question: What are the five most important things in your life right now- would you post them in this blog, for the world to read? Would you at least hesitate?
I believe that many of us still see our values as something we need to protect. As something vulnerable, that could hurt us if other people used them against us, or at least as something very private. Maybe we are also afraid to be misunderstood with something as fundamental as our values.

I believe however, that the leaders who had the biggest impact on society had one thing in common: They displayed their values openly. I also believe that the people we admire most are all people from which we believe that they live out their own values in their best way possible. Our values, then, are not a source for vulnerability- they do not need to be hidden and protected, but the need to be lived. For values are a source for strength. I strongly believe that we cannot change the world according to our values if we keep them private.

The world would be a much nicer place if all of us shouted around and lived our values, instead of trying to hide and protect them. What do you guys believe?

Thu Phong.

P.S. The most important values in my life right now:
1. Support my family
2. Helping others to develop their personality
3. Promote understanding amongst different cultures
4. Strive for a sustainable world

How about you?

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2 Antworten zu Displaying Values

  1. Anne-Claire schreibt:

    A very good question, Thu Phong!
    When I quit my job before Christmas, I felt very vulnerable in a way, because I had the feeling I had to „sell“ myself to the job market again to find a new job, and I am not good at that! Then, at the beginning of the new year, when people asked me what I wanted to do, I started sharing my ideas. I feel very strongly what I want to do, but it is still hard to put it clearly into words, and I am not always so confident about the „use“ of these ideas. And I expect people not really to understanding me. But instead of that, most of the times, people see how passionate I am about my ideas and views on the world, and respond in such a positive and encouraging way to that!

    Another recent example of me being afraid to share my values or inner beliefs is the following. At the beginning of the year, a very interesting woman in the cultural scene/new media in Amsterdam „challenged“ me by asking me to put my „experience“ in intercultural communication on a website, so I would be able to market my experience. I really liked that, but when this was more or less done (for the time being!), I was too scared to make this public. Only last week did I add the link to the blogroll of the imagine-blog, and sending my ideas into the world black on white was even more scary than talking about it to a person in front of me… But it was a relief when I did it (and immediately Frauke posted a nice comment!).
    Displaying your values is actually some kind of „coming out“! It’s only be sharing your ideas and linking up with likely minded that the most interesting things can happen!
    I will try to put my 4 or 5 values into words within a week and post them on this blog!

  2. fraukegodat schreibt:

    Wow, Thu Phong, what a powerful and meaningful entry on this blog! And I had to hold myself back for a couple of days to not be the first one again to respond 😉 in order to see what is emerging. Anne-Claire responded 3h later and then there was SILENCE

    Thus, I am asking myself why people have not commented, yet? Is it the rat race? Is it ignorance because of fear?

    Anyways, I feel this is very relevant! From experience, I can even say that a value audit against your work and life once in a while helps a lot to make decisions that take you out of this blurry state of unhappiness, insecurity or fear of making decisions.

    For a presentation at NaLDS 2006 (AIESEC Germany National Leadership Development Seminar), I found an interesting concept which is called the Values Circle:
    1. The beginning: talk about your values
    2. The means: build every activity on your values
    3. The end: measure your work against your values
    4. restart at the beginning 😉

    I did that in the summer last year when I decided to leave Greenpeace International. I took my vision and values and measured them against my work at that time:
    – Passion
    – Peace
    – Responsibility
    – Tolerance (I have been struggling lately a bit with that one and might replace it with Respect)
    – Change

    1. PASSION: People around me were passionate about their work but too passionate to listen or to question their work
    2. PEACE: Non-violence was a key organisational principle but internal and external communication was actually quite violent
    3. RESPONSIBILITY: The organisation had a blaming and complaining attitude where the system or the Senior Management Team was responsible and very few took personal responsibility to improve things
    4. TOLERANCE: Greenpeace works in „black and white“ terms and is always right, thus there was not much room for dialogue accepting diverse opinions
    5. CHANGE: the organization was too busy in changing the world and others forgetting to change itself which has build up a huge internal immune system towards change

    And suddenly I realized that the decision was really easy: I have left the security of a paid job with social benefits to trade it for a space where I can live my values and:
    -develop and use my potential
    -take more risks
    -have greater responsibility
    -be more creative and implement my own ideas very quickly

    I have lived 5 months now from my savings and a from a few paid leadership and social change trainings and this period has been the most exciting time in my life and a big step in my personal development so far!

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