It may be that we have always lived in turbulent times, or that there are periods when we just feel more sensitive to the bumpiness in the air or the road. I, for one, know there is no sustainable smooth sailing in life, and that we must appreciate the calm seas, or gentle skies as and when they offer up reprieve – if only for a short while.
It is really only when the going gets rough that our true metal is tested. And for this reason alone, it is highly advisable to have a clear set of values upon which we can rely to find solace, encouragement and sometimes, when the chips are seriously down, hope.
Values are also guides to how we shape our work lives, our friendships, our relationships (domestic, and professional) and pretty much anything else we undertake. They help us make decisions, and choices, and to give us the confidence to be clear on what we do in fact stand for.
For some these are easier to articulate than for others. Do our personal values match our family’s, or if not, do they have merit in their own right? Do they reflect the career paths we choose? Do they hold up when turbulence does shake us senseless?
Having formerly worked with big and small brands for years, I know how hard it is to get values to mean something that a wider population can buy into (staff, customers, other stakeholders). Sometimes they are just words stuck in a staff handbook, or on a website to show positive intent. Sometimes they actually break through the veneer, and motivate staff and customers to be part of something bigger than themselves, and allow trust to settle in.
My personal values have sharpened over the years – though some have stuck through all manner of turbulence. For the purposes of my mentoring practice, Yensa Mentors, launched officially in 2015, I wanted to re-articulate my personal values in ways that feel relevant to my clients, and our mentoring journeys together.
Based on a fundamental yoga principle ‘ahimsa’ (non-violent/harm free), kindness is at the core of human decency, dignity and compassion. It is my first value. In my work as a mentor it means:
- Listen and communicate with care
- Be aware of others’ needs, motivations, difficulties
- Look for the positive in any situation
As a young girl, and young woman, I was deeply motivated by justice for the more vulnerable – those who had no voice, or ability to speak up for their rights. My volunteering in humanitarian/human rights organisations is no surprise therefore. It is my second value. In my work as a mentor it means:
- Be non-judgemental, fair, open-minded
- Stand up for your own values, and chosen life practice
- Be brave, even when it seems impossible
We spend much of our existence justifying the choices we make, the lives we lead, the way we are, to others (peer pressure, family guilt, societal expectations). This hinders our deepest desire to be true to ourselves, when we try to accommodate everyone else first. This is my third value. In my work as a mentor, it means:
- Respond to any difficulty or success with honesty (do so kindly)
- Have integrity and discipline in every action
- Express a strong/true sense of self even in adverse situations
The world has gotten a lot noisier, and busier in the decades I have been alive. With noise, business-ness, clutter, and pressure comes stress – a real killer. About 16 years ago, my stress levels got so dangerously high, I knew something had to change. I started practising yoga in earnest a couple years after, and (re)discovered serenity. This is my fourth value. In my work as a mentor, it means:
- Create quiet spaciousness for change
- Allow for calm, steady positivity to shape plans and action
- Breathe, notice your breathing, keep breathing, keep noticing
If we can be kind, just, true and serene throughout the mentoring programmes I offer, then we are off to a good, steadfast start, no matter how much turbulence we may encounter along the way.
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© amanda yensa manor 2017