I was taught, beginning in my teen years, that each of us has multiple masks that we wear – different personalities that we adopt in different contexts. Certainly, I know that I behave differently with my family than I do at work or at church.
But carried to the extreme, this can mean that we experience inner turmoil when we have to act in a way which isn’t consistent with our deep values and priorities. I work with clients all the time on digging down to these deeper levels, and it always results in important insights and a sense of deeper longing. Bringing those deep values and priorities to the fore then leads to a life which is more fulfilling, more consistent – more congruent.
Each of us only holds one set of inner values. We use that as the basis for making decisions and feeling satisfied with our various contexts – family, work, spirituality, and social circles. The degree to which we are able to exercise our personal values in each context is the concept of congruency. Clearly, to be satisfied with your life overall, you need to be able to exercise that alignment in each context.
Which means that having all aspects of your life be congruent with each other is also of great value.
A primary reason why I’m still with my employer after many hears is that their core values are consistent with my own. The company doesn’t behave according to its values perfectly, of course, but then neither do I. But I can be more of who I truly am, at a deeper level, than at other companies with different cultures.
I have other important parts of my life associated with family, with the coaching community, and with my church. The important thing is that I don’t have to be a totally different person in each context, I can be mostly the same self.
So here’s the questions:
- Have you been able to articulate your deep values and principles?
- In what ways are you able to act consistently with those values in each important context in your life?
I believe we’re each called to make a contribution to this planet while we’re here, but it’s so much easier to do when we’re not fighting ourselves every step of the way.