I can talk the talk, but can I walk the walk? Just this week I had an opportunity to find out.
Early Morning, January 2, 2012… “Wham!”
The flu… Fever of 102°, chills, headache, congestion, the whole shebang. Welcome to the New Year… Sheesh!
But the plot thickens… I was scheduled to give a workshop on 1/8 of all new material at a new venue! As the days passed, and the Kleenex boxes rotated, I knew I’d have to decide. Would I honor my body’s need to recover, or would I push it to the limit?
And then it dawned on me. Irony of ironies… this was to be a workshop about honoring your Core Values! Core values are those things without which you would feel incomplete, and unknown to yourself.
People often have core values around:
Accomplishment, Collaboration, Compassion, Creativity, Diversity, Excellence, Health, Honesty, Integrity, Loyalty, Nature, Peace, Productivity, Responsibility, Risk-Taking… to name but a few. When those values are not being honored in our lives we feel inauthentic and incomplete; like we are living a lie.
Was there really a question here? I’d spent the week debating with myself when the choice was as obvious as my red nose! One of my own core values is Health and Well-Being. If I had pushed myself to the limit, and risked jeopardizing my gradually increasing health, I would have been violating a part of who I am. How could I have possibly gotten up in front of all those people, sniffling and hacking, and croaked about honoring what makes them feel most alive?
Thankfully, my concerns were quashed when the venue graciously agreed to reschedule the workshop for later in the month. Many thanks to CORE for their understanding!
So, what’s the message here? If someone is asking you to do something and you have an itchy feeling that you’re going to regret it, take a closer look: it may be a core value getting stepped over that’s causing the red flag. Tell the other person that you need to get back to them, and take a few moments to explore what core value is waving the flag. If what they want is important to you both, then negotiate a solution that fulfills both needs. Otherwise, you may just have to say “no”.
When the choice of whether or not to honor a core value arises, if you’re going to be able to look in the mirror, being true to yourself is key. (Refer to my blog post “Breathe in Your Life” for more on why you’ve got to come first.) Anyone that tries to force you to violate yourself, however convincing their argument may be, is not looking out for your best interests. It’s your job to know where your line is that cannot be crossed, and then to make sure that you don’t cross it.
Courageously staying true to your values puts you well on your way towards living an authentic, fulfilling and honorable life.
Always infinite possibilities… always your choice.