Posts Tagged ‘core values’

Integrity: Are you living out your values?

corevaluesArticle Contributed by Amy Sargent


On a recent first date I met a guy who claimed he loved camping. This was a good thing to hear because I really like camping too, and go every chance I get on warm, summer Colorado weekends. He went on to tell me how passionate he was about the great outdoors, how he loved sleeping in a tent, and being in nature.  “I absolutely love camping!” he proclaimed, loud enough that I actually glanced sideways to see how many other restaurant patrons heard the good news. I then asked him when was the last time he had gone camping, and he replied, wistfully, “Oh, it’s been at least 20 years…”

There wasn’t a second date.

Now you may think that the subject of camping is a shallow one to determine dating potential upon, and I agree. That’s not the point. There is a competency of social and emotional intelligence that shows up – or doesn’t – when what we believe doesn’t match up with how we live. It’s called integrity.

Most of us think of integrity as that ability to maintain high standards of ethics at all times, someone who always able to be honest and exercise good, pure motives.  And while that definitely is an aspect of integrity, it is also the ability to live out our values in our day-to-day lives.

Most of us know what we believe in. Don’t we? Try it, right now – jot down five or so things that you are passionate about. Not just interests (I’m trying to move us off the camping topic) but things you are moved by, things you would fight for, things that you would sacrifice your time and effort for. It shouldn’t take long to compile this list. (If it does, you may want to consider meeting with a coach to help you establish your core values and be able to speak to them). Once you have this list in front of you, take a moment to think on each one, and write down a moment in time when that value came into play. For example, maybe one of your values is “family” – beside that you may write, “Spent last Friday night playing board games with my kids”.  Now look at these moments – and determine, when did each most recently occur?  If you find the last time you spent time doing something you passionately believe in was months, maybe years ago, then there’s a good chance that you are not living out your life with integrity.

Don’t feel bad if that’s you.  Most of us find ourselves in places where our jobs, relationships, or extra-curricular activities don’t match up to our values.  It’s easy to end up there.  Life has its way of taking twists and turns that can lead us down a path that is far from our heart. If you’re there, know that it’s actually a good place to come to.  It’s those moments when we realize there is a miss which can spur us to make a much-needed shift in a new direction.

If you recognize that it’s time to get back to actually living out your values, there are some simple (not easy, but simple!) steps you can begin to take to get back to your heart.

  • Again, know what your values are. Refer to this list of common values so you can name them accurately:  List of values
  • Prioritize your values. Which are most important to you? Which are must-haves and which are would-like-to-haves?
  • Display your values in a visible place for a constant reminder.
  • Ask yourself (and answer honestly):  Am I living out this value in my day-to-day life? If you feel you may struggle with this self-assessment, consider reaching out to a coach or taking a 360 assessment to help you become more aware of where you’re at on this one. Sometimes an outside opinion can work wonders in aiding accurate self-awareness.
  • Make small shifts. If you wish to spend more quality time with your family, carve out an hour this week and do it. Let your core values become priority. Don’t allow anything else to come up that will keep you from doing it.

If someone looked at your appointment calendar, would the contents reflect who you are and what you believe in? Time is precious, and there are not many things more frustrating than feeling like we are wasting our time. How we spend it truly speaks to who we are.

Are you content with how you are living out your life?  If your day-to-day doesn’t match up with your heart, each moment spent saying yes to activities that are not your values is saying no to those very values. It takes courage and effort to make these shifts, but the treasure that comes from living a life of integrity can be rewarding—and may even get you that second date.

“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.” ~Henry David Thoreau, “Economy,” Walden, 1854