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LEGACIES
MAKING EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE AMAZING

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Read a teaser to my book...........

Pages 01 - 15

Introduction

It was a cool day at 50℉, with clear blue skies. Kelly and I stood high on the outside dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Steve Largent (former American Hall of Famer for American Football), Senator in the US House of Representatives, was ahead of us. He turned and told us, “Richard and Kelly, this is quite the tour we’re giving you. Not many people get to stand here; only members of the house and a select few can bring people to this spot.” We were now overlooking an unobstructed view over the city of Washington, D.C.; Steve noted that the Height Act maintained a maximum building height of 13 stories. In the distance, the White House stood resolute. It felt like a very patriotic moment, even though I was a Kiwi visiting from New Zealand. We were there for a Leadership conference that included dignitaries and World Leaders from around the globe 

 

Dear Friend and the future of our heritage and humanity, this book contains stories, life experiences, thoughts, and reflections I’ve learned and would love to share with you. 

I’m addressing you as ‘Friend,’ even though I probably don't know you. As a good friend once shared with me, “I approach all people whom I haven’t yet met as if they’re my ‘friend’ already. It completely alters our interactions; it changes how I communicate and what we talk about – and, therefore, the conversation's outcome. Your approach to the meet – with a caring demeanour and the honest intention of being a friend – means that the other person responds in kind. They pick up on your demeanour and mirror your open friendliness almost instantly.” I write these pages with the same intent of friendship. A famous saying we refer to often in our business, goes like this:

“People treat people the way they think they are.” 

People tend to respond to others based on the other people’s self-concept. So, if you behave confidently, it’s likely that others will then respond to you with confidence. Other people's perception of you is their ‘reality’ of you. Their experience of you then shapes ‘who’ they think you are. 

I’ve dedicated my life to providing wisdom and counsel in any situation with the driving motivation being my desire to encourage and care for others. Fortunately, my counsel and expertise in business have enabled us to make a living from Business Skills Training, amongst many other activities supporting companies of all types and sizes. More about this later. 

I hope you find this book valuable, enlightening, and encouraging. I’m privileged to have had several mentors, friends, and family who have helped provide bearing, guidance, coaching, and friendship through various highs and lows, and – probably even more so – regular everyday life. They’ve helped me to continue to grow and learn, and they always ensure my compass is set in the right direction for me. 

Life’s awesome! It’s a gift, and one we’ve been blessed with – so use it, love it, and live it! 

 

This moment in history, right now, will never happen again. You have the power to decide how to live every moment, every day.

It’s your decision how you respond to every circumstance, every situation, and every experience. And each decision you make will help shape who you become, where you end up, and what you do. 

As you read through the chapters of this book, you’ll see the part we play in other people's lives, both the people we meet for only a moment and those interactions that endure over our lifetime. In a recent training session with the key leadership team of a large multinational company, our message was focused on the following: The better you know yourself – the reasons behind your motivation and your resistance – the better you can be at what you do. Knowing why you do the things you do and why you avoid doing other things is an area of understanding that’s helpful in business but also in all of life. 

Through this book, I hope you become more aware of who you are and discover more about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. From this deeper awareness, you can then learn how to help yourself grow and develop your behaviours and skills to become more in control of your outcomes. Through this understanding, you’re also more likely to live a life of emotional freedom, where you’re not controlled by your circumstances, but instead guided by your choices and consideration. 

 

Our three children (Baylin, Isaac, and PJ) have often heard us say, “You can’t control other people's behaviour; you can only control your own”. And to get control of your behaviour, you first need to recognise what drives it. 

It’s what we think in any situation that drives and determines our behaviour and, ultimately, our outcomes. 

This one piece of knowledge has a significant influence on all our lives. I’ll write more about this in the chapters ahead, where I’ll share some situations and experiences that are more personal to me. 

The headings I’ve created capture the beliefs that have been instrumental as I continually measure myself and re-centre my thinking. Are they principals? Maybe. Are they values? Probably. But I’ve found that if you want life to be fulfilling, it helps to have a measure guiding and shaping what you want. These areas have been my measure.

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A quick look at the headings 

Chapter One: Keep It Simple 

Chapter Two: Keep It Real 

Chapter Three: Keep It Balanced 

Chapter Four: Keep It Fun 

Chapter Five: Keep It Moving 

Chapter Six: Keep It Alive 

Chapter Seven: Keep It Big 

Chapter Eight: Keep It Light 

Look in any bookstore – online or in the shop – and you’ll find hundreds of self-help books. Aspects of this book may have similar concepts, threads of thought, or comparable situations, to others in the genre. However, the difference I’ve pursued here is in the focus and ability to create change at a deeper level. As you read and unpack this book, I hope you can apply each aspect in a way that’s relevant to your life. These aren’t just ambiguous concepts, but practical skills and behaviours to make life as fulfilling as possible. 

The scholars of our day on the topic of stress say the number one reason for stress is a lack of purpose. And purpose is directly linked to fulfilment, which is not simply ‘success’, completion of goals,  nor an end point. Fulfilment goes beyond emotion and action; I believe it’s the holy grail of life and the pinnacle of existence. Because whatever your beliefs are – or the principles and values you hold – fulfilment is established when your purpose is at work. 

 

What is ‘purpose’? You may think you don’t have one – or you may wonder how you can boil it down to just one thing. But consider that maybe it’s not just ‘one thing’; there are many factors influencing your sense of purpose. My hope is that, by the end of these chapters, you have more clarity wrapped around this concept of purpose. Because if it’s so influential in maintaining a healthy life, it’s worth understanding – especially understanding where your own unique purpose lies.

 

It’s no secret that we can accelerate our life experiences and wisdom by standing on the shoulders of those older than ourselves, who’ve already qualified themselves through certain life lessons. I once received a birthday card from a family member that read, “Thanks for allowing me to see more of life by standing on your shoulders and learning from some of your previous experiences”. 

We tend to learn from our own experiences, both positive and negative; but those who walk alongside the wiser have the opportunity to learn quickly. Grey hair is a sign of wisdom, but even the youngest can glean from those grey hairs. 

Confidence lies with anyone with the knowledge, capacity, and ability to apply what they know. As the famous quote goes, ‘Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.’

How do you think we should live life? Is it for the pursuit of pleasure? For the pursuit of happiness? Or is it in the pursuit of gaining time and financial freedom that leads to being able to do whatever you want? I know plenty of people who hope to live a better life, getting out of the mundane work they do – just if they could hit that Lotto jackpot! “Everything would change! '' they say. 

But would it? 

 

Often, what people want is already right in front of them. But they don’t step into that potential because they’re afraid; they don’t know how; or maybe they’re fearful that the change or challenge will take too much effort. It’s not that they’re lazy, necessarily. But the emotional, physical, and intellectual effort is too great. It’s too much to push through, and they may not have the confidence or resilience to make it happen. 

One evening several years ago, I was sitting at a table with a few friends. We’d had a beautiful dinner together, prepared by our hosts, and after a couple of wines the four of us were deep in conversation. Our discussion centred around the people we thought had had the single, most significant impact on us. I was the youngest at the table by quite a few years, so on that basis there was a high degree of life experience and wisdom in the room. And not only were my companions wise by age; they were also wise through experience and perspective. Some of their experiences included business ownership; careers within large multinational corporations at the highest level; working and living across various countries worldwide; and even, in one case, supporting the Australian Prime Minister and his team to pitch (and win) the hosting of the Sydney Olympic Games. They were also well-respected family men who now had grandchildren aged well into their teens. 

If I said it felt like an inspired conversation, I don’t think I’d be overstating it. What began to emerge, and what I captured from those thoughts, was a distillment of what – in our collective estimation – were the key attributes of those who had significantly impacted our lives and the lives of others. 

 

Our goal was to define these attributes; and to do so, we needed to dig deeper to get beyond the single word, ‘Love’, and identify the outworking of that word. This is what came from our discussion. 
 

The life and attributes of impactful individuals: 

 

Steadfast – Consistent: 

These people could be referred to as, ‘strong in character’; the way they behaved was always consistent, no matter what the circumstances. 

 

Purpose – Focus: 

Each person held firm to a foundation and direction. This direction did not waiver based on events, trials, or successes. As a ship has a rudder steering its course, their purpose guided their lives. 

 

Safe – Protection: 

They always had your best interests at heart; therefore, you were safe in the knowledge that they’d never intend to hurt you in any way. 

 

Transparency – Alignment: 

What they did and what they said always aligned with who they were. They were open and honest, ready to apologise at the first fault, and seemed to have nothing to hide. 

 

Fruits of the spirit: 

Some may consider these to be a religious concept – but the fact was that peace; patience; goodness; self-control; kindness; understanding; and gentleness were displayed through their character. 

 

Grace: 

They never judged. They may have brought corrections, but they never, ever judged. 

 

I recognise that influential individuals in your own life may have displayed other commendable characteristics; but these were the key attributes we identified in our discussion as being common to those who’d had a major impact on us. 

It all looks good on paper – all of these attributes are admirable and even impressive… But if we wanted to, how the heck do we become a person like that?! I trust you’ll find the answer in the following pages, where these themes are explored in greater depth and practical applications become clearer. You’ll also learn how these individuals achieved such seemingly-incredible characteristics.

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Chapter One - Keep It Simple

 

As I write, my father, Lambertus Johan Klein Ovink, is sadly in the late stages of Alzheimer's – a disease that destroys the memory and steals life. The doctors have given him weeks, maybe months, to live. The only relief for our family in this is that he will then be freed from the grips of this evil, destructive sickness; and that still doesn’t take away the pain of losing my Dad. 

What this sad situation has helped with, though, is to put my life back into perspective; to ensure I ‘Keep It Simple,’ because this belief is about making the most of what truly matters. At earlier stages in my life, I lived at a rapid pace, acquiring what I had come to believe to be important – house, car, clothing, job title, etc. – driven by my own need to feel significant. 

In our modern lives, our phones ring; texts buzz; emails chime; messenger alerts beep; and reminders ding… There’s so much going on, and so quickly; and far too much to stay connected with and do! It’s easy to overcomplicate life by adding further demands and living according to the expectations of others or of our own subconscious. And we’re driving ourselves for reasons that hold little to no life-long value. 

I’ve mentored and trained people from tweens through teens, and I’ve worked with business people just entering adulthood to those of retirement age and beyond. And I’ve found that a large percentage of people entering their later years are not consciously aware of what motivates them and what specific values they live by. Our values and motivators are the guide and compass with which we tend to make our decisions – and while some are altered over time, most remain fundamentally unchanged throughout our lives. 

It’s not only possible but also desirable to articulate these values and motivators, and we will introduce the process to do so through the coming pages. 

Value: a life principle you hold, affecting your decisions, actions and ultimately your behaviours. It’s the ‘what you do.’

Motivator: something that inspires you to action. It’s what you want and need from your life. It’s what drives you, engages you and pushes your ‘positive’ buttons. 

 

Keep It Simple looks at how our values and motivators have guided our decisions over our lives, and how we can ensure that we’re not overcome by life’s pressures and the issues that cause us stress or take us away from what we really want and need out of life. 

I’ll aim to help you understand more about what your Values and Motivators are; and, with this understanding, you can make life more fulfilling and Keep It Simple. Let’s begin.


A warm Fiji breeze blew through the palm trees as I approached the 16th green – the signature hole at Denarau golf course. My playing partner and family friend, Sitiveni (Steve) Rabuka, was the former Prime Minister of Fiji (a position he’d held for ten or so years). Steve put in for par, and we continued our conversation. 

“Why is it”, I asked, “that the Fijian people are so happy? They’re always smiling… Their service in the resorts is second to none, and they always seem full of laughter and fun.” 


Steve turned to me before glancing pointedly at a palm tree nearby, up to the sunny skies, and out to the ocean. He replied in his deep voice, “Richard, the Fijian people want for nothing. Everything they need comes so easily. It’s always warm – so they’re never cold. The coconut falls from the tree – and you know that you can actually live eating coconut alone – and, on top of that, there’s plenty of fish in the sea. It’s so easy, they hardly have to do a thing to be comfortable, warm, and fed. That’s why they’re happy; they want for nothing, and they have none of the stress of the Western world.” 

 

What is it that we’re trying to achieve in this ‘western world’ of ours?! We’re all motivated by different desires, goals, and aspirations for life. Is one better or worse than another? Is my bearing or compass in life more accurate than that of my neighbours? How do I know I’m doing the ‘right’ thing, or acting and behaving in the right way? We refer to a country like Fiji as a third-world nation; and yet, when we have a bit of time and money, that’s the kind of place we want to go to! We work so hard to enjoy for a short time what they always have. Now, I do acknowledge that village life in Fiji is quite different from a holiday in one of the resorts; but surely there’s a lesson here in how we often make life so much more difficult and complicated than it needs to be. From what I see, this complication stems from a number of reasons – but high on that list, if not number one, is our drive for social acceptance and social significance. We’ll explore that more in the next chapter, ‘Keep it Real.’

 

Our actions are based on what motivates us and where our values lie. 


Thirty-six years ago, in 1988 – when I was age 12 – we lived in the countryside not far from Auckland, near the little village of Waiau Pa. The property that Dad and Mum had bought six months prior was a beautiful five-acre block nestled on the crest of a gently rolling hill. The view from the property was a picturesque vista: the Manukau Harbour towards the west, framed amongst the backdrop of the Waitakere Ranges and Awhitu Peninsula. Dad had spent six months prior to the move building greenhouses and an associated shed, which stood high and prominent. Its multiple purposes were to serve as a packing shed; house the cool store for the flowers; and house our family for the next few years. Money was tight as my parents began to rebuild this new venture. They had recently moved from a property in Drury, where they’d managed a private flower-growing business for two years; and prior to that, they’d sold a dairy farm in the Eastern Bay of Plenty at a significant loss. The circumstances and timing surrounding the initial purchase of the dairy farm had not been ideal; the mortgage rates were at an all-time high of twenty to twenty-two per cent; and when they sold, the value of the land hadn’t yet reached its potential. Finances were therefore seriously limited during this stage of my childhood. 

 

I was relatively unaware of our financial state as a young boy, but when I was about twelve, I began to notice differences between our lifestyle and those of my peers. Friends began to acquire new items: pieces of clothing; the latest toys; branded sports gear; new bikes; music; stereos; the latest technology; and more. It also seemed that they regularly went on holidays. They often talked about fun adventures and places they’d been. It struck me around this stage that I didn’t have those branded clothes; my parents couldn’t buy me the cool stuff ; and our family couldn’t participate in the fun activities that only money could buy. We weren’t going without food, clothing, or everyday needs; but money wasn’t readily available to throw at extras. Food was rather basic, my clothes were from the cheapest shops, and birthday presents were minimal. 

 

On reflection, I do have to add that I actually loved the adventurous life I lived in spite of our financial constraints (in fact, maybe because of those constraints). I was much more creative in building and creating; I spent a large degree of my time outside, building huts, shooting my air rifle, creating jumps, and just being an outdoor country kid. But there still lurked an awareness and quiet desire for the things I was missing out on. 

It’s amazing how strong an influence your childhood perspective can have in your later life. Reflecting now, I see that – all those years ago – what began to form in my mind was a drive and desire to not be without; to be able to afford the extras in life. This thought process served as a motivator for achievement and an appreciation for the value of wealth. In my mid-twenties, as my financial success grew, life became more complicated as I worked to fulfil those needs and that drive within me. The clothing became more expensive; the ‘toys’ were bigger; and my desire began to grow into what I then recognised could easily become a never-ending spiral. Some of you will be aware of how those values can sometimes become impossible to fulfil; the need to ‘do better’ and have more becomes greater, and the cost becomes higher – whatever that cost may be. Today, those strong motivations and values remain; but, because I’ve made purposeful choices and changed my thinking around ‘success,’ it’s become less of a relentless drive. I still appreciate the things money can buy, but it no longer has a hold over me. Where once making money drove me to work long and hard, it’s now an aspect of my life I’m very aware of and keep in check so that it no longer consumes my decision-making, choices and thinking.

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How did I change this drive in me? A little life experience contributed; but it’s also been in working to understand my thinking and improving my confidence and self-worth that has helped keep life simpler.

The more I add, the more complicated and difficult life becomes. 

 

Some time ago, I heard someone speak on what they called ‘The Three R’s of home ownership’: Rust, root and repair. Referring to anything you own breaks down over time and requires attention and energy to maintain. I’d now add ‘replace’ to that list. Our spa recently began to play up. The repair guy visited and told us the spa would cost almost $4k to fix; far more than we’d paid for it six years earlier! We’ve loved our spa, and place a high value on its function and purpose in our family; it’s a wonderful way to get everyone together, talking and sharing. So we’ve reinvested in another. But the more you have, the more you’ll be caring for. I’ve learnt to ask myself more often before making purchases, “Do you really need it?” 

At the beginning of every year, we try to select a word to somehow define the twelve months ahead. The word I chose in 2016 just happened to be “Simplify,” and it inspired me to analyse, reflect, and consider other ways to make a process or task easier and simpler throughout the year and in the years since. I’ve also adopted the habit of examining any ‘clutter’ in my life – unnecessary things that take up time or space in our life that aren’t required. All these extras that serve little purpose can become energy-draining. 

 

Kelly recently listened to someone on social media speaking on how he’s simplified his life to the point where he even knows what he’s going to wear ahead of time, so that getting dressed is no longer a time- or thought-consuming process. It may seem too structured to some – but I know I can sometimes expend emotional energy just deciding what to wear! It sounds crazy, but if you try to be aware of your thinking over the next couple of weeks regarding your clothing selection, you may be surprised at the time and energy it consumes. 

My word simplify has contributed to my commitment to keeping it simple. I’ve recently revolutionised my garage, and it’s now the epitome of organisation and order in the manner of a shop or showroom. I love it. Snowboards, skateboards, and surfboards –- all on racks; helmets on hooks; wetsuits on hangers and rails. I’ve created a large shelving unit to stack big clear plastic tubs, each clearly labelled with its contents, which ranges from snow gear to painting items; files and books; car cleaning equipment; and cables and cords. This new organisation makes it quick and easy to find – and store again – those necessary items. It’s saved us a lot of, “Dad, do you know where my elbow pads are?” or “Where are the tennis balls?” Because everything now has a ‘place,’ and it’s been easy to find and get to, the items were then replaced where they belonged instead of being left out to create clutter and mess. 

Keeping it simple contributes to my motivators and values, as one of my key motivators is balance. Maintaining balance helps me to have order and organisation and vice versa. 

Knowing where to spend your time and energy (both at and outside of work) can help you to keep it simple. 


A good friend is developing his career in the IT industry. He loves the technical nature of his role, he’s passionate about the industry itself, and he enjoys learning and being progressive. He’d originally worked in a role that was primarily a support position, assisting customers with issues, setting up new networks, and developing support software. Because of his success within the organisation, he was offered the opportunity for a promotion, which would mean earning more money and managing the team he’d been a part of. He enthusiastically took on the challenge. Six months on in his new position, he found his enthusiasm severely waning. What had seemed like an exciting challenge now felt like a drudgery. His high motivation had now slipped to sense of reluctance, and each day seemed long and tiresome. We offered him some time to help unpack what had changed to curb his enthusiasm. I’d assumed that – as so often happens – he’d simply grown tired of dealing with people, and the frustration of keeping the team on track and in harmony were all taking its toll. But I was quite wrong. Kelly had worked her way through the issue with him, asking specific questions to reveal the genuine source of his frustration. Yes, those management issues were frustrating – but they were also bearable. Yes, people would take their time to do what was required – but he could get them across the line. The real issue lay within his intrinsic motivation. One of his ‘key’ motivators was expertise; and before his promotion – when he was part of the team – his expertise was required daily. But in his new role, he was no longer functioning in this area; now it was more by chance and on the odd occasion that he needed to provide his expertise. His promotion had taken him away from what he loved and what motivated him. With this newfound realisation and a few conversations with his managers, he was able to make the required changes in the new role to meet his need for expertise again. Within a very short time, his motivation had returned; his enthusiasm was high; and the thought, come Sunday night, of the new week ahead was once again motivating. 

Establishing and understanding your motivators can help you avoid a lack of motivation, indecision, or a wavering direction. 

As with my own value of ‘not going without,’ it’s often not until issues arise that people are able to identify their motivations. So, how can you know what values and motivators influence your choices - and what’s the value of understanding these things about yourself? 

Most people have no clear idea of what motivates them or what values underpin their decisions in life; but if you want to be purposeful in what you do, then these are things that are absolutely essential to understand.

Decisions and life navigation are much easier once you understand your motivators and values. Through our business, we continuously have the opportunity to help others realise both. 

In a recent business meeting with a client, I committed to confirming items discussed and sending an email by the end of that week. The week passed, and halfway into the next week, I remembered my commitment and realised I hadn’t followed through. This is unusual for me, because when I commit to do something, I make sure I do it. And the reason I’m usually so diligent is that a piece of my family heritage is linked to the word ‘integrity.’ My Dad would always be completely honest in all his interactions; I’ve never even thought to question his honesty and integrity. This value also rings loud and clear with all my siblings, as we’ve grown up seeing honour in being a person of integrity. It’s a value that underpins what we do. If I say, “I’m going to do it,” my heightened sense of integrity will drive me to ensure it happens. 

A value is a life principle you hold that affects your actions and behaviours. 

Your values will drive expectations; influence decisions; hold you to personal account; and influence your worldview. 

The list of values below is extensive but not exhaustive. Read through the list, and then highlight the values or personal attributes that resonate with you. Once you’ve completed that exercise, return to your highlighted items and refine it to just five values. These will be the most significant, influential values to you. If you’re listening to this as an audiobook, bear with me as I read through each possible value, or skip ahead. You can also find this list at https://www.richardkleinovink.com/legacies-resources. 

 

Values List 

Choose your top five values 

Accomplishment. Achievement. Activity. Adaptable. Adventurous. Alignment. Ambitious. Articulate. Artistic. Athletic. Balance. Beauty. Caring. Challenge. Communication. Compassion. Compulsive. Confidence. Contribution. Courage. Creativity. Daring. Dependable. Diplomatic. Discerning. Diversity. Education. Effort. Empowerment. Encouragement. Energetic. Entertaining. Enthusiastic. Excellence. Excessive. Expertise. Exploring. Extroverted. Fair. Fairness. Faithful. Faithfulness. Fame. Family. Fearfulness. Financial Freedom. Fitness. Flexible. Forgiveness. Friends. Fulfilment. Fun. Generosity. Gentleness. Giving. Goodness. Gratitiude. Growth. Happiness. Hardworking. Health. Honesty. Honour. Humanity. Humility. Imagination. Impulsive. Independence. Industrious. Inner peace. Insightful. Integrity. Intelligence. Intimacy. Introverted. Intuition. Joy. Justice. Kindness. Knowledge. Leading. Leadership. Learning. Leisure. Life. Lifestyle. Loyalty. Morality. Movement. Open-mindedness. Optimistic. Order. Organisation. Others. Passion. Passionate. Patience. Peace. Peace of mind. Personal growth. Pessimistic. Pioneering. Play. Playfulness. Politics. Possessions. Potential. Power. Powerful. Practical. Productive. Quality. Relationships. Reliability. Respect. Respectful. Responsibility. Security. Selflessness. Self-reliant. Sensitivity. Service. Sincerity. Sincere. Skillful. Speaking. Spirituality. Success. Superiority. Talent. Teaching. Thankfulness. Tolerant. Travel. Trust. Trustworthy. Truth. Truthfulness. Understanding. 

Now what? Identifying your values is just the beginning. Get to know your values to a deeper level; think about how they affect your choices and behaviours; learn to articulate why you make the choices you do based on your values. Identify the origin of each value in your list. Was it family-based? Did you create it out of hurt – or did you adopt it in response to pain? Reflecting on your life journey thus far and recognising the part your values have played helps make future decisions so much easier. You stay convicted of your beliefs, and they serve as a benchmark for your life – your rules for how you play the game. 

Another thing to consider is that your values subconsciously drive your behaviour and responses to situations and people. They help determine the emotions with which you and others leave your interactions. Values work on a hierarchy. So, you may have a value of ‘family’ and a value of ‘independence’; but when both are at play, one value will override the other. I know someone who (I reckon) has this value of ‘family’ – but another of her values is not conforming to the traditional roles of men and women. Her wider family, when they’re together for meals, all tend to get stuck in and help out with preparing food and cleaning dishes; but, because of her nonconformist value, she’ll hardly ever help in the kitchen. While others are cleaning the dishes, she’ll make remarks sharing her opinions around gender roles. So, even though she values family, her value of breaking the mould, not conforming, doing things differently, and freeing herself from ‘Tradition’ is what actually drives her behaviour. And because of this value of hers, she’s unwittingly begun to separate herself from the rest of the family. She’s losing the respect of her extended family; and because she doesn’t help out, people are less inclined to invite her over or involve her in what they’re doing. So her value of ‘family’ is therefore negatively affected because her other value of ‘not conforming’ is overshadowing it. 

 

I recently observed another situation in which one value was overridden by another. In this case, the value of ‘family’ was overruled by a perceived need for ‘keeping the peace.’ In this case, the family acted to placate a single person, keeping this person happy (and thus ‘keeping the peace’) at the expense of nurturing, growing and cultivating the family as a whole. 

 

Just be aware that we can sometimes be unconscious of the values behind our beliefs and actions. 

 

“When the river runs low, the rocks show.” 

It’s in situations in which we’re under tension, pressure, or pain that our true values are revealed. Someone may intend to give or claim to be generous, but that value is only really tested when they have next to nothing. How generous are they then? 

It’s important to consider the question of values, not so we can judge others, but for you to be aware of what drives you; your thinking, your feelings, and then ultimately your actions. 

Another thing to be aware of is those times when our values don’t align with what we’re doing. There was a time when I was working within the family business. The culture and values of the business were strongly family-oriented; being kind, caring, and considerate of people's personal lives and putting people first were core to our ethos. People mattered – nobody was viewed as ‘just a number’ or simply a resource. These values in my work life aligned strongly with my personal values – and that felt good. But the day came that the business was sold to a corporation. The company’s family values were quickly replaced by a cold, hard, results-focused approach. The strong ‘people’ connection was lost. The new values no longer aligned with my personal values; and it didn’t feel like a safe work environment anymore. My job remained the same – same salary, same co-workers – but I no longer wanted to be there. 

So, as you journey through life, just be aware that if you can place yourself into environments where your values align with theirs, you’ll experience greater harmony and satisfaction than if there’s a disconnect in that area...................

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