By Laurel Elders
In part one, we explored the possibilities that surround us and that are within us. In part two, we are expanding upon the truth that possibilities within us in a new light.
"I'm going to speak up," I said.
"I don't think you should. These things get sticky quickly, and I don't want to experience recoil. Even though you are right, the situation is horrible, it can come back to bite you." I listened to my colleague and ruminated on her words.
I was working in a company with a "good 'ol boy" mentality in the leadership. One of the three leaders abused his power by threatening people behind closed doors and manipulating votes to his favor, etc. I had enough.
Something inside of me wouldn't allow me to look the other way. Something inside me wouldn't let me sleep at night, knowing that people were dealing with the emotional abuse this leader was resorting to.
Something inside me also knew I would be speaking to brick walls if I spoke up. I took matters into my own hands. I took action in another way. I sent a company survey out to all the stakeholders and gathered anonymous feedback on what people were experiencing.
The feedback was so strong and detailed that this leader was eventually let go.
My point in sharing this story is that just like we have virtues within, we also carry with us core values. In this circumstance, I tapped into the virtues of courage and protection. What prompted me to do something and not look the other way? My deep-seated values for respect, equity, and truth.
What is fascinating about being human is that we can go our entire lives without knowing these parts of ourselves. Virtues and values can be untapped potentials waiting to be activated.
Virtues we choose. Values are reflected in our behaviors and reactions. Values become evident when we excavate them by expanding our self-awareness.
It makes sense to me that we don't know them. The majority of us do not live in cultures that invite self-awareness, self-actualization, or to expand our personal intelligence.
In my coaching practice of almost 20 years, I've noticed that the majority of my coaching clients come to the work without knowing their core values. After a value sorting exercise, this self-knowledge illuminates their life. Their reactions that didn't previously make sense now make perfect sense. Everyone thought I was crazy for going up against the "good 'ol boys" club, but I couldn't do it any other way.
Oh, and my boss fired me for the survey results. When the results went beyond my boss to the company owner, I was hired back, given a promotion, and the leader most at fault was finally let go after three years.
While getting fired for doing the right thing was daunting, I could sleep at night feeling right within myself.
Our values are our internal compass that tells us when we are in and out of alignment with them. In that drastic circumstance, I felt compelled. That wasn't always the case for me. There are more times than I'd like to admit when I've chosen to go against my values and felt it.
Have you had those moments? Where you know what is right for you to do is, and you justify doing the opposite and then later scratch your head?
The Aribinger Institute teaches a powerful lesson about justification in their book The Anatomy of Peace. They highlight how, in carpentry, we only need to justify something if it is crooked and out of alignment. So, when we take our truth and twist it into a justification, we get out of alignment with ourselves. This is called self-deception.
Self-deception occurs when the ego steps in to justify the fear or objection we have. To the ego, success is scary, doing the right thing is scary, and living aligned with our highest self feels untrustworthy.
As we integrate and grow in our Integrative Intelligence, we see that our core values are the truth of our highest self. They carry the essence of who we truly are at our core and what we are made of. They are both the lantern to our path through life, and yet they are also the path.
The good news is that we all embody different core values, and thank goodness for this! If we all valued justice higher than anything else, we may all be lawyers. If we all valued helping others, we may all be doctors or nurses. The diversity within us has the capacity to balance our communities. We each have a place. A purpose. A patch of grass for us to tend to in our life.
If you do not know this part of yourself deeply, I invite you to take the sacred journey within yourself. What values are at your core? What do they have to teach you about your potential and your truth?
The articles provided here on Integrative Intelligence do not capture, nor claim to capture, the full breadth of human dynamics.
These articles offer only a glimpse into new possibilities when we become more integratively aware and develop our scope of wisdom.
There are many facets to a single prism. These are but a few facets to help inspire a deeper and broader exploration.