A thousand years ago, (okay like 1992 or so) I attended a training class while working at Boeing. Another team member and I signed up for this class that was basically getting to your core and finding out what makes you tick at work and at home. I've taken several classes like this and find I always find something new about me.
In that class on the first day we were given a list of "values". We had to write on a paper plate one value. We had 5 plates. As soon as we were all done, the instructor asked us to give one away. That was hard. I honestly don't remember all of them but I do remember struggling over which one I'd give away. Then every day we came to class we had to give a value away. The instructor had these grand stories about what would happen if we didn't. It was hard. Very hard. These are things that you truly hold to be part of who you are.
By the end of the week, I had integrity left. I do remember giving up family on the day before and it was hard to decide between the two. It took me a while to think about what my family would want me to do. In the end I held on to "integrity".
In this team offsite we had a stack of 200 cards. Each card had a word or phrase on it. The instructor have us 2 minutes to find 6 that would describe our core values. He asked us to not "think" about it and just react. Most of the team started flipping through the cards one at a time. I tossed mine on the floor and scattered them. Glancing down at them words would rise to the top and those are what I chose.
When the two minutes were finished I was a bit surprised at what lay in front of me. Not because I don't think they're core values, but rather because I felt really good about them being my core values.
In no particular order:
Creativity - This should go without saying. I firmly believe that creativity is something I need in my life to feel fulfilled. Without it, the world would be grey and dull to me. I use creativity in so much of my daily life that it's a bit frightening that it was the first word that popped out to me.
Family - This goes without saying. Without family I would be nothing. I may not always like all of them, or agree with them, or spend as much time with them as I'd like. But at the end of the day, they're family. People who stand by you and love you unconditionally regardless of how crazy you may be.
Do what you say - This one did surprise me a little. And yet it doesn't. It is the one thing that drives me the most crazy about people. When they say they're going to do something and then they don't. I hate that feeling of being disappointed and bummed because they didn't follow through. That being said, I know that I too have to work on this one.
Inspiration - This one and volunteer bounced back and forth with me. Finally I decided on inspiration because that's what I want to be for someone. If my actions, my words, my deeds can inspire just one person to be a better person, then the just got a little bit brighter. Being part of the 3Day family I'm surrounded by inspiring people and I think because of that, they make me want to be better too.
Health - This one in 1992 would not have been in my core values. I find it mildly amusing and not at all surprising that it's here now. This one by far of all of them is the biggest struggle for me. And yet it's the one that I think stands out as the most valuable one. Without health your life stinks. Things you can't do, people you can't inspire, creativity you can't explore...none of that is possible if you don't have health.
and the last one...
Integrity - after all these years I am proud to see it still there. Have I always lived my life with integrity? Nope. Not likely. I think you'd be hard pressed to find any one of us who has "always" lived with integrity. But like an old friend, I know that it is something that I value not just in me but the people I surround myself with.
So what now?
After that exercise he asked us to define what we meant by our core values. For a person with "creativity" in her core values my definitions weren't all that creative. From there we had to list our values on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being I am living the value at the highest and one being I am not currently living this value.
Wow. This part was a bit more difficult than all the others for me. I had to use my "integrity" value and actually rank how I was living this for all the world to see.
I approached this much like the cards. I just went with my gut reaction. Ignore that I did it backwards. I thought 10 was not living it and 1 was living it. Pays to read the instructions. But you get the point. Health wasn't as much "living" as I thought. Creativity is a daily part of my life so that one I have no worries. Do what you say wasn't nearly as full as I thought either.
Looks like I've got some work to do. Do you know what your core values are? Do you live them?