Why do you love God, love your neighbor and make disciples?
If your values aren’t in alignment, it will show in your actions.
Have you ever been at work, or at church, or chatting with a friend and you realize that you just said or did something differently than you would do if you were someplace else? Maybe you realized that you truly value honest relationships in your personal life, but when you’re at work, you can’t seem to be able to share important truths about yourself. Maybe you are an incredibly invested parent, but you can’t seem to work up that enthusiasm in church. It can look a million different ways. The WHY has been lost leaving the WHAT tired and maybe even compromised.
A former client of mine, Glenn Spyksma, shares his experience with incongruent values.
I went through this realization myself not too long ago. One of my values is “people development”, or wanting to see people become all that God intends for them to be. I felt like I was living this out at work but at church, I struggled to help people in this way. It wasn’t that things were different at work and church…my values were different. My values were in conflict with each other and I realized that I would find myself having to change my identity depending on the situation. This inspired me to really consider what my truest and deepest values were.
I began by looking back on my life and considering consistent themes (positive and negative). I thought about influential people in my life, circumstances that shaped me, events that encouraged new ways of thinking and behaving. Next, I identified lessons learned.
At work, my value of people development was played out through training classes, mentoring, coaching, and creating a freedom for upward mobility driven by personal accomplishment. But at church I struggled to find a way to help people. It was frustrating. I felt like I was able to live out my value of “people development” at work but not in my church. The incongruency was disorienting; I was being authentic to who God created me to be at work, but not at church. It wasn’t that things were different at work and church…my values were different. I was not being true to myself. Because my values were in conflict with each other, I would find myself having to change my identity depending on the situation. I wanted to discover my life values; my true and deepest values, and then align them with my behavior in everything I did. But where did I begin?
Self evaluation can be difficult. If you find yourself, like me, weighing what you truly value, start with your most important, clear behaviors. For me that came down to love God, love others, and make disciples.
5 Steps to Clarify Values
Do you also feel the need to clarify your values? Or help a client you are coaching? Follow in Glenn’s steps:
- Begin by looking back at your life to identify themes, influential people, circumstances that shaped you, or events that encouraged new ways of thinking and behaving.
- Identify lessons learned.
- Identify values that emerge from these lessons.
- Now take 5 minutes and go back through and reexamine what your values are. Modify your list as necessary.
- Create three columns by each of your values. Maybe start with the three you see as most important to you. At the top of each column write Church, Work, Home, Sports, or whatever three primary spaces you occupy. Begin to examine how you live out each value in the three areas. This is only for you, so be truthful!
What did you observe? How can you change your behaviors to be consistent with your highest values in all areas of life? Tomorrow, as you go about your day, be especially mindful of your list of values…you might be surprised at how it inspires your day and makes you feel more at peace with yourself.
Glenn is a semi-retired Operations Executive formerly with The Wine Group. He has also worked with colleagues in the operations and engineering arena developing people and systems for large brands like Campbell Soup and Chef Boyardee among others. Glenn has always had one foot in the church and one foot in the marketplace. He is an avid church-goer and involved in church leadership.
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