I asked them to choose a core value—a belief that is very important to them, that helps guide them, that gives them a feeling of purpose…where they might ask, “Is this who I am at my core”?Then I asked, “Do you translate this core value from an ideal to a behavior? If so, how? Think about a time when your behavior was a direct result of this core value.”
I shared the fact that for me, one of my core values is grit, which means: Courage, Moxie, Mettle, Spirit, Tenacity, and Perseverance, for a few examples.
One behavior that results from this core value is the courage to stand up and speak out on behalf of what I believe is good, fair and right. Those who follow me on social media know what I mean. When my behavior is aligned with my values, I feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually connected with my Self and others. I asked that the audience discuss their core values and discover if there is another person there who shares that same value. I then asked that one volunteer from each table to offer to share their core value and what behaviors align and result from that core behavior.
I asked the audience, “What is a behavior that supports your #1 core value? What’s an example of a time when you were fully living into this value? Courageous women throughout the room stood to share their core values. One that struck me in particular that struck me was Judy Dang (CEO of Avid at Work) who shared about her mantra, “I am adequate to my life.” I love this. I too believe, “I am enough.”
I remarked that Loraine made an incredible contribution unknowingly when she shared about her work directly with key clients who are trying to create positive and productive environments where people can do their best work and be recognized for it. She is leading the way on tough workplace issues like sexual harassment and unconscious bias, helping resolve problems and change behaviors. Her behaviors are clearly aligned with her core values. This is quite meaningful.
If you behave in a way that is aligned with your core values, you are never silent about hard things. For example, do we have lessons to learn about gender? What about race? Absolutely. We have to think about factors like race, age, gender, class, sexual orientation.
We mustn’t talk about these issues. We must listen about them. As uncomfortable as that may be, to opt out of conversations about these issues is the epitome of privilege.
As Brene’ Brown says, “Silence is not brave leadership, and silence is not a component of brave cultures. A brave leader is not someone who is armed with all the answers. A brave leader is not someone who can facilitate a flawless discussion on hard topics. A brave leader is someone who says, ‘I see you. I hear you. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to keep listening and asking questions.’ We all have the capacity to do that. We all have the ability to foster empathy.”
As I facilitated the exercise mentioned above, Heather Morse called out about LinkedIn’s new capability allowing people nearby to connect through the mobile app by sharing with you (once enabled) who is nearby and simply connected on the spot. It was well received by all.
In an attempt to unplug and connect in a meaningful beyond what business cards and technology do for (or some might argue to) us, I would like you to consider this exercise:
If you were an attendee at the Bubbles, Bites & Bits of Wisdom kickoff event, I ask that you share your contact information with two other attendees you did not know before you arrived. I ask that the three of you meet for coffee, tea or lunch to learn more about each other, personally and professionally.
You can ask 1) what it each trying to achieve in their business setting, 2) what is each trying to achieve in their personal lives, and 3) what referrals can they make to the two others and perhaps invite as guests to the next month’s Bubbles, Bites & Bits of Wisdom event. If you need guidance on great questions to ask, just email me at Susan@FreemanMeansBusiness.com and I will help.
After your coffee, tea or lunch, I would like you to email me what you learned about the other people and whether there is any meaningful connection you have made where you would feel comfortable referring them to another person or other people unknown to them.
While there, I know that four of the women connected in such a meaningful way, business relationships have already resulted. I know that Deborah Farone has already been asked to speak again, this time in Chicago.