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What do you value? Over what?

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

Over the last year and a bit, I have been working rather hard at understanding, expressing and following my values.


Before this process started, I would usually say things like 'family', 'respect' and 'innovation' when asked what my values were. None of these have changed. What has, changed, though, is the nuance with which I understand them.


So now there are three practices I try to follow:


1. When I have a strong emotion, I ask - what was the value that was affected?


I tend to be generous and respectful to other people in traffic, and find that when people are rude or inconsiderate to me I get quickly angry. Reminding myself that my anger is because my values (being respected) are affected, and also that being controlled by my anger is *not a value, helps me calm down - and keeps me from being disrespectful. Conversely, when I feel great excitement about a design brief - what value did that trigger?


2. When faced with conflict/disagreement with others, I ask - are our values in conflict?


One of my values is my college motto - Facta Non Verba (Deeds not Words) - or as I now say it, bias towards action. In a work environment where detailed planning is the norm, this can sometimes be challenging. Reminding myself that others may not share my value builds empathy for their situation. While it may not mean I agree with them, it does reduce the chance of this becoming full blown conflict.


3. When faced with a decision I need to make, I ask - what values am I catering to? Over what?


A project I have been working on fell over, and I realised that at core it was about values - I valued exploration over control, while the person who sat across from me valued control over exploration. Neither value is any more 'right' than the other, but each value has consequences on decisions we make. Realising this helped me find a way to move the project forward (my values) without trampling on her values.


What are your values? How do you apply them?

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