Picture this! “Eva works in a store that sells clothes. She is responsible of the shop and in charge of everything. The owner trusts her in everything. A woman comes in the shop and she looks pitiable and poor. After some time, Eva notices that the woman is stealing clothes. How would you react if you were Eva? Now if you knew that Eva is an eloquent speaker? How would you react in this position?”
Depending on your answer you can see if your reaction came out of justice, compassion, love for money or impartiality. These are four of the many values that someone can have and can guide his behavior. But when given the element of eloquence in Eva, you could see that depending on each value, Eva would use it in a different way. This was the activity a coach in self-awareness did to me, to explain how our values give direction to our strengths. One can have many strengths, abilities, much knowledge, but it is always hard to understand how to use all this and towards what direction. This is where the values come into the picture. They are like inner rules that we have and shape the way we think, the way we act and react.
Knowing our values means knowing how we behave and why we behave like this. Understanding them means understanding ourselves better and being able to have a clearer vision of our future.Being more sure of our everyday actions. Our values set the tone of usage to our strengths so as to embark on the journey of exploring and achieving our passions. As the boat needs a compass to know where is headed, the same implies to ourselves with our decisions and goals.
All through my experience in AIESEC, I was always asked what are my values and could never reply for sure or understand why is it so important to know. Many times I replied randomly to just get rid of the people asking me. But it was when talking with refugees, narrating me the story of their trip, their lost home and family members, that an urge arose inside me. An irritation, a need to stop it, to do something about it. It bothered me to know that such things exist. And it was then when I gave name to it; Social Injustice.
I couldn’t stand social injustice and that was one of my values. This gave a completely different meaning to what I did, how I wanted to use my abilities and I finally understood why I was so keen on volunteering. Sharing this made me find people who supported me and believed in me. Things in my life became more clear as to what steps to take next and this resulted in me being more sure of my actions. Values and actions based on them inspire people to follow your example. This is Leadership. Knowing yourself and your limitations, where you are headed and what drives you, can give you the base to achieve greatness. This is Leadership! No captain ever found its way without a compass.
If you want to have challenging experiences that can help you understand your values, go to aiesec.org and embark on a journey of development and contribution.