Living Your Soul’s Values – A Novel Concept?
– How to define, connect with, and live one’s values
Leadership is a verb, not a job.
― Chris Clark
We’re all leaders, regardless of position, life style, or creed. Thinking that we don’t matter, or that our actions or reactions don’t matter, is not only irresponsible, but also a testament to a deep feeling of separation. For me, leadership is closely linked to my values and to questions like “Am I the best I can be? Am I taking responsibility for my actions and reactions?”
It’s difficult to answer such questions without knowing what our values or guiding principles are. We usually enter the conversation about values through one of two doorways. For the most part, we seem to use values to distinguish between “us” and “them”, or what is considered “good” or “bad”. We’re also used to talking about “moral values” and “ethical values”. Both approaches speak to human behavior, but there’s a third doorway – to knowingly embody and consciously live our values. In other words, to ask “Am I “being” my values? Am I being true to them for myself?”
The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.
― John Wooden
To ground and integrate the values we aim to live by, the natural first step is to identify and define our soul’s values — our foundation. But identifying and defining values isn’t enough. For me, it has been equally crucial to connect with my soul’s values – by bringing them into my body and mind, and stay connected to them in my everyday life.
It’s easy to get lost in abstract thinking when talking about values. For a more practical approach I like Jaemin Frazer’s descriptions of the “Be-Do-Have” model and three common approaches to trying to get ahead in life, “The Victim”, “The Worker”, and “The Winner”, excerpted here:
– The Victim arranges their life in the order HAVE DO BE.
Victims say: “When I HAVE enough time, money and support, then I’ll DO the things I’ve always wanted to, and then I’ll BE happy and successful.”
– The Worker is all about DO HAVE BE.
Workers say: “The more I DO, the more I’ll HAVE. The more I’ll HAVE, the happier I’ll BE.”
– The Winner orients their life quite differently: BE DO HAVE.
Winners say: “It’s not what do I need to HAVE before I can start, or what work do I need to DO… but who do I need to BE? What kind of person would have access to the kind of outcomes I want? And if I were that kind of person, what would I be doing?” And then the having takes care of itself.
With values and winners in mind, I’ve introduced a new way of looking at and working with values and, more precisely, our soul’s values. To be able to “live” our values, we need to shift our perception and make BE-ing the starting point. As expressed by Simon Sinek – leadership is a practice!
Here’s how this works: Each value has three aspects: a core principle, a process, and a practice. Exploring these aspects helps us take embodying our values to a new level. My business partner and co-founder in Sourcing The Way, Jeff Vander Clute, suggested these guiding questions for each aspect:
- “What is the it?” (The value’s core principle, or name)
- “How do we recognize it?” (The process)
- “How do we live it?” (The practice)
When I asked myself these questions, my own values took shape like this:
- What is the it? Equality
- How do I recognize it? Transparency
- How do I live it? Humility
- What is the it? Truth
- How do I recognize it? Unconditional love
- How do I live it? Listening deeply
- What is the it? Connection
- How do I recognize it? Inclusiveness
- How do I live IT? Asking questions
- What is the it? Deep Joy
- How do I recognize it? Happiness
- How do I live it? Openness
- What is the it? Coherence
- How do I recognize it? Balance
- How do I live it? Staying tuned to inner wisdom
The clarity I get from seeing my soul’s values this way helps me appreciate how easy it is to lose my sense of connection to my values in daily life. Adding that third question, “How do I live it?”, is like switching from a single flashlight to using flood lights to light up a dark room.
To come full circle, if I bring it back to “The Winner” and apply my soul’s values to Frazer’s Be-Do-Have approach, something even more powerful emerges.
Here’s how I answered the Be-Do-Have questions, using what I’d learned about aspects of my own soul’s values:
Who do I want to be? How do I live by my soul’s values?
It is important to practice being humble, listening deeply, asking questions, being open, and staying tuned to inner wisdom.
What is the everyday experience? How do I recognize my values?
My experience is filled with transparency, unconditional love, inclusiveness, happiness, balance.
What is the outcome? What are my soul’s values or guiding principles?
The outcome is equality, truth, connection, deep joy, coherence.
Now that I have this summary, I can look at each important relationship or situation in my life and see if I’m living these values, if my values are alive in my life. Are interactions and engagements filled with humility, deep listening, asking questions, openness, and staying tuned to inner wisdom? Do I express and experience transparency, unconditional love, inclusiveness, happiness, and balance? Am I true to my guiding principles, equality, truth, connection, deep joy, and coherence?
The Be-Do-Have summary offers powerful guidance and support for discerning practical and potential next steps, as well as for staying connected to values for an empowered, coherent, and radiant life.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
― Mahatma Gandhi
Just as much as purpose is central to why we feel called to do what we do, our values are central to who we are. And if we recognize that values are dynamic and can change as we evolve, working with them and revisiting them across time helps them become the engine for our choices.
Living and being of service to your Soul’s Values will promote and support your personal and professional growth. It will increase your experience of clarity and sense of freedom and possibility in your work and life. You will:
- Feel empowered to up-level your service and contribution in the world, leading you to new beginnings and empowered self-leadership.
- Experience peace of mind, while being aware that we create our own realities with our thoughts, beliefs and actions.
- Manifest inner balance and harmony.
- Build confidence in your innate worth and abilities.
I hope you have enjoyed this post. In upcoming posts I’ll say more about how to use values as a resource for leading from within. The first step is to understand what our values are. In my next blogpost I’ll share 4 simple steps for how you can define, connect with, and get to know your own values.