Live Into Your Values

What are values?  If you do a synonym search the thesaurus will give words such as merit, ideals, standards, worth, usefulness, principles, moral code and ethics.   What do you value in life?  The dictionary defines values as the relative worth, merit or importance, or a standard of behaviour. Brené Brown, in her book dare to lead, simplifies it to "A value is a way of being or believing that we hold most important."

So if I was to ask you today what you valued, you may have a ready list of what you value, but if you are like me and a lot of other people in the world ,you haven't really sat down and thought much about what you value.  However, most of us are following a code of behaviour; so we are living according to some values, but we haven't sat down and really thought about it.

Brené states that, "Living into our values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them.  We walk our talk - we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviours align with those beliefs."

If you are operating a business or thinking of starting a business knowing what you value will help you define your purpose and to follow that purpose.  It is time for us to do a little heart to heart with ourselves.

The first step is to go through a values list and mark off things you value - then the fun part begins - now it is time to pare down the list to one or two values - not 15 or 20 like I had on my list to begin with. As you slowly whittle the list down, you will realize that there are one or two values that will begin to stand out to you and the other values you chose will be embodied inside of your main two.  But first here is the link to the values chart that Brené uses to begin this activity.  As well, the Dare to Lead Workbook Link is also included. You will find the activity on page 30 of the workbook. Work through the activity by yourself or with a few close friends or even your coworkers at work.


I am going to share about how values leads a person to action. The Canadian Electronic Health Information Ltd. is a company that began in 2016 in the heart of a young Occupational Therapist named Heidi Watson.  It is her dream to make the world a better place by noting areas in the world where humankind can do better. One of these places is in the world of paper.  When computers were invented, it was touted that they would cut down on the use of paper and save trees; trees which provide the human race with much needed oxygen, but instead of that it actually increased paper usage phenomenally. According to Keeley Travis, "Surprisingly the use of paper in the last 20 years has increased. Not marginally, but by over 120%. Since 1997 the use of paper products has increased from 92 million tons to 208 million."

As a bystander watching Heidi's life unfold, I noticed that this information caused a reaction - it triggered her to action because it was going against something she valued - nature.  Galvanized to action, Heidi began to create a company that would store medical records electronically, instead of taking huge amounts of paper that needed to be stored for years in a safe place. There were big companies that were operating for physicians with huge clinics, but they were not practical for small allied health clinics.  That is when E-HIS Guardian Software Application for electronic medical storage files was born.  Phase Two is now in beta testing stage. This is due to values. As Brené states, "More often than not, our values are what lead us to the arena door - we're willing to do something uncomfortable and daring because of our beliefs.  And when we get in there and stumble or fall, we need our values to remind us why we went in, especially when we are face-down, covered in dust and sweat and blood."

But living into your values is not easy - it takes hard work; each day, every day! Every day you will have to practice your values - in the way we carry out everything we do since "a value is a way of being or believing that we hold most important." Therefore our intentions, our thoughts, our words, our actions and behaviours need to align with those beliefs. WHY? "Our values should be so crystallized in our minds, so infallible, so precise and clear and unassailable, that they don't feel like a choice - they are simply a definition of who we are in our lives.  In those hard moments, we know that we are going to pick what's right, right now, over what is easy."

Working as part of a team means that you will be working with people who have values that may be different from yours and it takes hard work to respect and honour each others values and learn to work in a way that is aligned with those values. The next step is to then create a culture where you hold each other accountable to stay in line with your values. When the E-HIS team gets together for work blitz weekends it is a lot of uncomfortable, amazing, tough, enlightening work . It is the teams values that keep everyone at the table pushing through the uncomfortable phase of learning to do things you have never done before, feeling like a fish out of water, wanting to give up and go do something easier. By supporting each other, there comes a point that suddenly the team begins to work like a well oiled machine; people begin to understands what they are doing and can see the way to reach the goal.  It's as if there was a huge wall that we had to help everyone get to the top of and then it is much smoother sailing from then on.

All I can say is to never give up.  Each new day is a new day - to find your values or to practice living into your values or to support each other as others live into their values.

Note: I am only giving a very brief write up based on what I am learning as I read, dare to lead by Brené Brown.  I recommend that you get your hands onto a copy of her work if you desire to make improvements in your life.  I know that it has helped me on my journey to becoming the best me that I can be.  And hey, I have a long way to go, but then don't we all! That's what it means to be human.  My motto lately has been a quote by Robin Williams that was posted on the wall in the office I worked in this past summer that stated, "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle that you know nothing about, be kind always."  You might have picked up on one of my values which is 'grace.' Being a person of grace each day to whomever I am around is my goal.

Works Cited:

Brown, Brené. dare to lead. USA. Random House. 2018 accessed January 12, 2020  accessed January 12, 2020 accessed January 12, 2020 accessed January 12, 2020