I was reading Dare to Lead  by Brene Brown and she described this values exercise. She took a list of values that was three columns on a page. Words like kindness, generosity, love, respect, and accountablilty filled the page. According to Brown to really know what you value, you had to get down to two primary values. This sounded hard but worthwhile.

I was teaching a leadership class at the time, so it was perfect for us to do together. I gave them each the list, and instructed them to highlight their top values, but no more than 10. They could also right in anything they felt was missing from the list. Once we had our top values, I said we had to narrow it down to two. Any more than that and we aren’t leading from our values. I was doing it with them except I had been pondering the list for a week wrestling with those values.

One student wanted two for work and two for family. I said no. We each had to come up with two that would be our primary values to lead out of for the coming year. They were frustrated and challenged, but together we got there.

I landed on wellbeing and dignity. I chose wellbeing because it encompasses a sense of wholeness in body, mind, and spirit. It includes everything from physical health to relational health. If I am whole and taking care of my wellbeing, I am a better person to others. I handle stress and conflict with God at the center rather than me at the center.

I chose dignity because I always want others to know their value. I want to be aware of how I interact with those whom I don’t know personally. I want to examine biases and judgements through the eyes of Christ.

17 Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. 18 You who are servants, be good servants to your masters – not just to good masters, but also to bad ones.19 What counts is that you put up with it for God’s sake when you’re treated badly for no good reason. 20 There’s no particular virtue in accepting punishment that you well deserve. But if you’re treated badly for good behavior and continue in spite of it to be a good servant, that is what counts with God. 21 This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. (1 Peter 2: 17-21 MSG).

There is nothing perfect about the values I have chosen to lead out of for the year. Setting these values as my priority for the year is what matters. It allows me to focus on aspects of the life of Christ that I want to grow in.

What values are you leading out of this year? How are they focusing you on Christ? Share your values here and breathe life and bring hope to others.

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