Most of us play more than a singular role in life. Often, these roles require tweaks or adjustments in how we act, present ourselves and maybe even how we think (especially when you’re negotiating bedtime with a toddler…you have to think like them to win!).
As we move from work, play, family, relationship, individual and community roles, we shift ourselves appropriately for the context. This is 100% fine and completely normal…unless the shift between those roles and your authentic self creates an insurmountable divide.
One way to keep the shift from becoming catastrophically seismic is to use mindfulness and be present in each different experience.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, widely known as the founder of mindfulness as a stress-management strategy, teaches that we must commit to being present in each moment. Kabat-Zinn, who the book titled Wherever You Go, There You Are, believes mindfulness and self-awareness teach us to manage all the hats we wear.
Mindfulness leads to living with intention. Living with intention provides the foundation to align all the different parts and expressions of you, and acts as proofing against those seismic shifts.
The materials for the foundation come from your core values–what makes you, you. What’s important to you, what feeds your soul, what makes you alight with passion? Knowing what these are and then leaning into them provides the stability and strength to withstand changes or differences in our environment.
You might feel like a different person at work compared to how you feel coaching your kid’s soccer team. But as long as you take your core values with you, you take you.
That’s what it means when I say “the personal is the professional.”
It’s important to do different things and behave differently to broaden our perspective, welcome new knowledge and skills into our world.
As long as we act with authenticity, we hold true to our core values, no matter the context.
Our core values guide our behaviour and decisions. They define who we are, not how others see us.
Get out that writing pad and write down your top three values. If you haven’t defined them yet, think about the words that are intrinsic to you as an individual. Adventure?
Learning? Creativity? Honesty? Compassion? There are plenty of online resources and guides that provide additional values language and definition if you’re struggling to find the right word.
Now write one or two examples of a behaviour or example of how you accomplish each one. If you do have your values defined already, maybe now is a good time to revisit them and update your examples.
- What does this word mean to me?
- Does this word make me feel fulfilled?
- How do I incorporate it into my life?
If you bring those values into every facet of your life, no matter what role you’re playing, you are aligned.
If you’re in misalignment — if you don’t experience honesty at work, if you don’t experience compassion while volunteering — you’re in the wrong role and cracks will start to form in your foundation.
It’s time to get clear on your values and build a plan to realign, strengthen and nourish your core values. Here’s how you do that:
- Reacquaint yourself with your core values
- Have a clear vision of who you are and what you want to achieve
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Surround yourself with people who lift you up
- Say no if the ask doesn’t feel right for you
When we take care of ourselves, the fractures in our foundation disappear.
The fractured feeling comes from when we don’t check in with our core values and ask “is this the right choice for me?”. If it’s not the right fit, there’s usually a small tremor of uncertainty or hesitation in the back of our mind. Don’t ignore this! It is your internal alert to seismic activity, moving you away from your core values.
When we’re clear on who we are, it becomes easy to say “yes” or “no” to anything that’s asked of us.
Then our behaviours are in line with our beliefs and we live truly authentic lives, feeling confident, strong and healthy.
You start from where you stand. When you are standing in your authentic self, you will be ready to rock the world like a hurricane.