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Aligning to Our Values

Leading for equity includes aligning behaviors to values.

You know that person in your life who says one thing and acts completely differently? 

Misaligned values and behaviors are painful to see and experience, even in ourselves. 

When did you last identify your core values? 

Brené Brown helps us with a Living Into Our Values activity. Do you know of other resources that help set personal core values?  

I’m participating in a ten-month cohort led by Tovi Scruggs-Hussein called Emotionally Intelligent Equity & Inclusion Facilitator Certification. It’s been life-changing, and I’m only halfway through the cohort. Stay tuned to a video interview with Tovi next month here on the L3 Catalyst Group blog. I’ve drafted and revised my core values many times over the years, but with Tovi and Brené’s help, I pushed myself to identify just two:

Love and Liberation.

These guide me. All other values I hold are inputs toward these two. 

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Let’s talk for a quick minute about the times we don’t live according to our values—the ugly underside of being human. I’m not sharing this to berate, belittle, or be cruel to ourselves or each other. I believe that when we share our mistakes, it helps us reflect, learn, adjust, and grow, while encouraging others to do the same.

I highly value learning as part of my practice. However, when I’m exhausted or scheduled back-to-back-to-back-to back in meetings I can be impatient with myself. Then the ways I talk to myself can be cruel. I know that the learning journey includes making mistakes. When I’m rushing or stressed, I beat myself up for making mistakes, especially when I hurt friends or colleagues. My practice to eschew perfection is ongoing, and when I’m cruel to myself, it is much easier for me to be judgy or blame others when they make mistakes, which is NOT how I want to show up.

My value is love. My consciousness is raised when I behave in ways that aren’t loving, even toward myself. Showing love to myself isn’t letting me off the hook for the ways I cause harm. Showing love to myself helps me grow, learn, do better next time, and have the good energy to be there for other leaders working to learn and work for equitable outcomes. 

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Previously, I thought I didn’t deserve kindness or the opportunity to learn. How can we offer learning opportunities and kindness to others if we don’t offer it to ourselves?

I’m practicing being tender with myself when it’s so much easier for me to be tender, loving, and patient with others. I’m taking baby steps toward this by practicing meditation and mindfulness. 

Can you think of a similar example of a way you don’t live out your core values? How do you counteract that to behave in ways aligned with your values?

I’d love to hear your examples via email, over coffee, or below in the comments.

Beloveds, I wish you courage, rest, and community along the journey,

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Ways to get involved:

Deanna Rolffs (they/them)
Post by Deanna Rolffs (they/them)
February 28, 2024
Deanna Rolffs (they/them) is a strategist, facilitator, coach, systems thinker, and Process Consultant who works with executive leaders and teams at the intersection of organizational theory, leadership development, justice, and equity. Their process consulting approach focuses on organizational transformation via thriving teams, brave leadership, equitable systems, and inclusive communities. Deanna served as a Senior Consultant with Design Group International since 2018, became a Senior Design Partner in 2021, and launched L3 Catalyst Group in 2023.