Welcome to the Déjà vu Blogfest…the day to re-post one of your previous blogs from this year. Which one? How about your personal favorite…or one you feel didn’t get the recognition it deserved…or one that garnered the most comments. The choice is totally up to you. If you want to take part, or see a list of everyone participating today, you can click on the badge below.
I originally posted my entry in May, a couple weeks after the A to Z Challenge had concluded. I think the blogosphere was taking a collective break during that time period because commenting in general was down, but I really like the message I was trying to communicate with this, so I’m bringing it back for the blogfest. I hope you enjoy it…again. :)
A couple weeks ago the company I work for sent me on a week-long leadership development program located in an isolated spot in Northwest Arkansas. I was told before I went that it would be an experience to help clarify personal and professional values, improve self-awareness, and identify emotional blind spots. To say that I was apprehensive going into the week would be a colossal understatement. I envisioned a lot of sitting round camp fires, holding hands singing Kumbaya, and group sessions where we candidly shared our inner-most feelings. The introvert in me was shitting mental bricks! But continuing with my 2012 theme of making it uncomfortable in my comfort zone, and recognizing this could be an excellent warm-up for my agent pitch a week later, I opened myself up for the adventure.
I’m happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed the week and even learned a couple things about myself! One of the exercises we were encouraged to do was take a hard look in the mirror, ignore the crooked smile, half-raised eyebrow, and all other physicality that means very little, and go to a place inside we rarely visit. Once there we were to take inventory of what we believed all our core values might be. We wrote them down and then slowly peeled away the layers by highlighting those values that really meant something to us, our true core. I started out by listing between 20-30, then meticulously narrowed the list to seven that I really felt passionate about.
An important part of this whole process was remembering that true core values remain intact regardless of what else is going on around you, or to you. Imagine the mirror you’ve been staring into, now flip it upside down, what happens to your reflection? It remains unchanged. Whatever is going on in the world around you that changes the orientation of that mirror, your image…your values, should remain constant.
A lot is made sometimes about situational ethics, where the guidelines are flexible and the end can justify the means. But can our principles, our morals, afford the same latitude? Through our writing we often have the luxury of experiencing a different set of values with the characters we create, and we work hard to maintain believability by ensuring their actions stay true when their mirror flips. How ironic is it that we work so hard to get those details just right in our stories, but we waffle in our own lives?
I know I’m making this all sound super simple, when it’s really not. Values are easy to maintain in a vacuum, but life is rarely like that. We will be tested, and sometimes we’ll come up short. I know I certainly have. But the trap is allowing yourself to blame it on circumstances. Whether lying flat, on its side, or upside down, the reflection in your mirror is the same you. Embrace that person!