self-awareness values

To Pivot to a New Identity, Consider Revisiting Your Values

Jimmy Carter, Bono, and Nelson Mandela are all examples of many who created new and larger identities for themselves as they grew older. Carter became a great ex-president, Bono a humanitarian, and Mandela became the father of a nation.

Something in them shifted as they felt the passion to pursue things that were bigger than them at the time, and they realized that in order to move forward, they needed to keep elements of their past, and at the same time create space for new.

Values are our inner compass - pillars on which we build our lives, our relationships, our leadership, and what we use to create a shared vision with our team and loved ones.

We like being around people who have similar values. Sometimes our values drive prejudice. We also know that organisation cultures reflect the values of those who are running these organisations.

Misalignment in values trigger us emotionally and physically. If we are unhappy with work or in a relationship, it is often a misalignment of values.

Yet how many of us periodically take time out to reconfirm if what we once valued is still true, and/or still in alignment with our vision and reality of our current/desired identity.

We have to ask ourselves “How did we get our current values? Are they still serving me well?”

Our values are often given to us by others (authority figures e.g. parents; teachers; bosses) and sometimes by society, and/or the internet. Often our values are fear-based (e.g. financial security.)

They may not be relevant anymore as we develop our own identity.

As we create this new identity, we need to check:

  • Is any of our current values out of alignment with the person we want to become? with the life we want to lead?

  • Are we using all our values and bringing all of ourselves in every situation and encounter? Are we are showing up differently at home? in work? or with our friends?

How can we reconcile any difference in values depending on where we are or who we talk to? What will it take to realign so that we are not hiding parts of our personality and/or getting tired by our resistance to show all of us?

These are questions we must reflect upon to bring alignment in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The answers combined with setting good boundaries help us become the person we want to be.

As Clayton Christensen said, “It’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time.”

I have always felt that my name ARIF stood for my values - Achievement; Respect; Intelligence; and Fairness.

As I shifted from student to father to corporate executive to now a professor and an executive coach, these values have always been at my core with additional values being added or removed depending on what new identity I was/am/will be creating for myself.

Just like appreciation of beauty was important for me when I was pursuing photography, service and spirituality become more important as I enter the later phases of my life.

If you are happy with your current values and identity, then the invitation is to be even better. If you would want to make a change, then it is time to put some thought into and identify what values and behaviors will get you there.

What values are you willing to keep and/or let go as you build upon your current identity, or create a new one?