Aligning Values

Yesterday, we did a values inventory and I asked you to think about your top 10 values, either on your own or from the provided list.

If it helps, here are mine:

  • Autonomy
  • Love
  • Kindness
  • Curiosity
  • Self-respect
  • Growth
  • Service
  • Fun
  • Optimism
  • Wisdom

Do any of these surprise you? Are any of these ones you were pretty sure about? Either way, I’m curious if these help you see me better if you don’t me, or if they are what you would have picked if you do know me.

But let’s talk about values in conflict.

Autonomy is one of my values that is ALWAYS in conflict. I work for the Army, and the Army prioritizes things like loyalty, duty, and compliance. Autonomy can support Army values but it is not necessarily something that’s encouraged.

I also have a number of conflicts with self-respect. After almost 22 years in Army service, I’m trying to figure out who I actually am. I feel like I’ve had to submerge who I am under a layer of Army image for years, and I’m still fighting to be who I am without being embarrassed of that person.

The biggest thing for me that isn’t on this list? Family. I value being able to take care of and spend time with my family, and that’s often a conflict considering the requirements of my job.

But what I have to figure out is…are there ways to mitigate these things?

In my case, remote work has helped a lot with all of these. I have the autonomy I want to choose where I work and how I work, I’m able to be more me when I’m not showing up in an Army office every day (and that benefits the Army, because they keep me around largely because of ideas, opinions, and ways of thinking about problems that are unique to me), and I’m able to flex time so that I can spend time with my family and then catch up later.

But what if…just what if…I couldn’t?

What if I couldn’t reconcile these values? What if I remained in a push/pull relationship in any of these?

Wouldn’t that be an impetus to consider another method of work, one that would accomodate my needs?

You bet.

How does your values inventory stack up? Are they things you can mitigate, or are they showing you that you should find another place to work?

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