In late February of 2019, I became a mother to Athena. Born healthy. Sweet. Vulnerable like all babies. From the time I knew I was carrying her I started to wonder who she would become. Imagining what we might raise her to believe in and value. Three weeks after Brian and I brought her home, the pandemic changed life and work as we knew it.
Becoming a parent certainly re-orients our values. But, how about becoming a parent in isolation, while living in a new city, during a pandemic, amidst political and social turmoil, while also running a business that focuses on supporting and developing leaders who were charged with navigating all of this for themselves and their organizations?
I was taking in an inordinate amount of new information. Absorbing the general stress, emotions, and uncertainty we all felt. All of that was compounded by an expansion of my personal identity as a parent (hello breathlessness) and months of sleep deprivation that sometimes comes with bringing a new tiny human into the world.
After months of carrying Athena to term and imagining who she would become. I found myself examining who I was becoming through all of this. It led me to re-examine a core part of who I am (who each of us are), my values.
Our Collective Story
Our personal values are the place from which our preferences derive. If we are living and working in a way that aligns with those, things flow. When we choose to, or are asked to do things that conflict with those values, we can feel the rub. And, wow, can it be uncomfortable!
Over the last 19 months, we have been face-to-face with values-oriented questions.
Who and what do we vote for? Do we wear masks or not? Do we get vaccinated or not? What am I doing to support social justice and equality? Do I care enough about the environment to put effort into ensuring politicians are protecting it? Do we sacrifice our wellness to hit unrealistic work demands while also tending to our children’s e-learning at home or not? Do we stay on social media and if so, what do we consume? Do we return to the office to work or not? Where do we prioritize our domestic partnerships in this chaos? How about time for ourselves? Do friends make the cut when our time and emotional energy is in such high demand? Am I willing to stay in this job/industry/profession if it means sacrificing other core values I hold?
If you weren’t already curious about how your personal values have re-oriented recently, now is the time to get curious. We are, slowly, emerging from chaos and have the opportunity to make really conscious choices about who and what we invite back into our lives and careers.
With that in mind, I created this values exercise for you. (Okay, I created it for myself and my clients and I’m sharing it with you!) The last time I did this was in 2016 and I was amazed to see that only one value (in my top 5) is the same for me in 2021. I also asked my husband, Brian to take this so that, as we navigate this world with our little Athena, we could do so being conscious of what is important for each of us at this time in our lives. Further, as I do my annual business planning for 2022 I will be keeping these values in mind.
After you take this assessment yourself, think about inviting other people in your life to complete it. Perhaps you have your team at work complete this and share your results with each other. Enjoy getting to know this current version of yourself and be wise about what you do with your discoveries.
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