To Getting It Right in the New Year

Today a guy at the grocery store checkout waved me through ahead of him because I only had two items. I understand that in the whole scheme of life, it wasn’t a big deal but it did do a lot to lift my spirits, particularly as when I thanked him, he shrugged and said, “It’s nothing at all really, it’s just the right thing to do.”

Innocuous as it was, the exchange made me think that as we enter a new year, “doing the right thing” is a worthy resolution each of us could make. Let’s simply resolve to do more that is “right” whenever and wherever we can, even when it’s inconvenient or requires an investment of time or money.

But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that doing the right thing isn’t so much a resolution as it is a principle or value. It made me realize that perhaps instead of making resolutions, we should be thinking about articulating our individual, as well as our organizational, values and principles. In other words, spend time determining not just specifically what we want to change about our lives in the upcoming year, but what is important to us in a more general way. In other words, what do we stand for?

As it is these values that communicate our beliefs and serve as a basis for our actions, being clear about them will help us make decisions about our priorities and behaviours over the upcoming year.

So, while I have made a number of personal resolutions like remembering to put ME on my “To-Do” list in order to ensure I get more sleep, laugh more, stay physically active, ask for help, spend more time with family and friends etc., I also started to think about the values that drive the work I do related to community building.

As a result, I’ve come up with a dozen values I intend to use as a guide for helping me determine where to put my time and energy over the upcoming year. 

1. To do the “right thing” even when it’s hard.
2. To learn as fast as the world is changing.
3. To facilitate outcome-based work that minimizes the need for rigid hierarchies and structures.
4. To see opportunities that others might not see, to “think different”.
5. To challenge the status quo, prevailing assumptions, and conventional wisdom.
6. To remain grounded in hope and optimism and a belief in the inherent goodness of others.
7. To facilitate a purposeful work environment that ultimately contributes to more active, creative, and engaged citizens.
8. To keep trying early and trying often to make a difference.
9. To continue supporting others to solve their own challenges.
10 To reflect the knowing that diversity adds to value and strength.
11.To convey the importance of vision and the value of collaboration and innovation.
12.To never stop believing in the power and possibility of productive change.

So now that I’ve written these down, I must say they seem pretty lofty and idealistic, and yes, rather intimidating. However, I also know that if I can use these values as a filter for prioritizing and making tough decisions, especially when time and resources are in short supply, it’s going to be a mighty fine year. Cheers to you and yours and the opportunity to get it right in the upcoming year. 

Posted on 01-09-11

Comments:


Hey Brenda - I LOVE your list of values and is far more apropos than my resolution to stop eating pastries.  I have to say though, while your list might be more lofty (yet worth it!), mine is tougher.  Do you know how much I LOVE PASTRY! 

Here’s to a fantastic year of working to make rural Alberta more active, creative, and engaged.

•Posted by Janet Naclia  on  01/10/11  at  12:18 PM


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