Who are you really? - Michelle Gibbings

If you missed it, yesterday was World Values day. Yes, that was news to me too. I didn’t realise we had such a day.

Then when I thought about it, I thought ‘How awesome is that!’

Think about it: How often do you spend time consciously thinking about your values? That is, what drives you and what’s important to you. It’s often something we pay scant attention to and yet it is so crucial to living a happy, healthy life.

His holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, said: “Open your arms to change but don’t let go of your values.”

In many quarters of society, you’ll see people who sidestep their values, lose their voice and authenticity in an attempt to be liked by everyone or to appease both sides of an ideological divide.

The same thing happens at work. In an effort to build relationships and an internal support base people can lose sight of who they are and what they stand for. They think to be influential and successful they need to be someone other than themselves, or they alter their views to fit with the people in power they want to impress.

Over time, this does enormous damage to a person’s confidence and sense of self-worth. Research shows that when we stop being our authentic self it causes psychological distress, which can have ongoing emotional and physical ramifications.

It also impacts how people perceive and relate to them.

For example, colleagues will see when you shift and change your behaviour and ideas. They’ll notice the disconnect between what you say and do.

This breeds distrust – putting your credibility and integrity in doubt. Once that happens it becomes far harder, to build a coalition of support for ideas and projects you are leading. When people no longer know what you stand for they start to question the intent of your actions – making it harder for them to collaborate with and support you.

In contrast, when a person is authentic and stands behind their values, has a clear personal brand and behaves consistently it is far easier to connect with them and build a long-lasting relationship.

This is because you know what you will get when you collaborate and engage with them. There’s no surprise, and you know that person won’t let you down or say one thing and do another.

If you want to be connected and fulfilled at work, you need to know your values and what you stand for. Ask yourself:

  • Do you know what you stand for and what your underlying values are?
  • Do you know what drives your feelings, thoughts and actions?
  • Are your words and actions aligned?
  • Are you consistent in how you work and lead?

When you are clear on your values and how you live them, they become the guiding compass that helps you decide what to say or not say, do or not do.

As Michelle Obama said: “I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values, and follow my own moral compass, then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.

Getting you ready for tomorrow, today®.

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate Your Career’. For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact [email protected].


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