DSS Leadership – Assignment 9
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”
Remind yourself what is important by reflecting on key life experiences and lessons learned. Consider the questions and statements below to help you consider what you stand for as a leader. Reflect on them and on your earlier StoryLine exercise. Capture your responses by writing them down.
What has your life taught you about what is precious and valuable?
Life has taught me that honesty and unconditional acceptance are the hardest things to find.
I value honest answers to my questions. I value people putting my well-being above “not rocking the boat”. Honesty can be hard. It can be uncomfortable and awkward and scary and painful. I value people who are willing to work through my emotions as well as their own to have a genuine relationship with me.
Acceptance is also hard to come by. Fair-weather friends are easy. They’re there for the good times; the easy times. Finding people who are willing to stand beside you while you scream in anguish or rage at injustice; people who are willing to accept you, all of you, strengths and weaknesses, broken pieces and shattered dreams… those are the people I value in my life. Those are the relationships I feel are real and deep and meaningful.
These people accept me as human and they don’t try to change that. They accept I am not perfect. They accept I will have hard days and stand with me through them, sometimes holding me up, sometimes sitting beside me on the path of life while I cry and try to figure out why I should keep going. These people are non-judgemental and while they beam when they see personal development and growth within me, they never press for me to be anyone but who I am. I’m not too shy or too outgoing. I’m not too intense or too serious or too silly. To them, I’m me and that’s enough. I value that; the feeling that I don’t have to do or be anything or anyone other than what and who I am.
What have the traumas and losses in your life taught you about what is most important?
The most significant trauma I have faced is the death of my mother. Her death taught me that “things” don’t matter. It wasn’t the gifts she bought me that I cherished most after she died. It was the memories we shared together. It was the vacation to California and going to Lego-Land where the tour guide made lame jokes about how, “he shouldn’t have lego.” Memories of going to Red Lobster and making the lobster dance around on my plate until its claw randomly fell off and we both cracked up laughing so hard that we couldn’t breathe. Memories of going to Moe’s for lunch and how it took me a year and a half to go back there and even then I still cried silent tears into my nachos because I was eating alone instead of with her. The things I treasured most were the moments she took out of her life to spend with me; to make me feel valued and loved and cared for.
The only things people truly have control over are their actions and their time. Cars can be taken away. Books can be taken away. Computers and phones and clothes and jewelry. Things can be taken away. Memories can’t. Memories and lessons and conversations… those last through the years and I will always cherish the time my mom took out of her life to give me the memories I have.
What have the privileges of your life taught you about what is of value?
Having lived in apartments where roommates did not clean up after themselves or pay rent or care for me as a person… I value people taking time out of their day to make my life easier. Coming home to an empty sink. The mail being check. Money being offered for known expenses before the due date. Random acts of kindness like, “I know you like this drink so I picked you up one while I was at the store.” Little things, little actions that say, “I thought about you. I cared about you. You mattered to me.”
Kindness is of value. Effort is of value. Consideration and responsibility are of value. Most of the things I value are intangible things. Their qualities of character. I value people treating others the way they want to be treated. I value people being honorable and having a sense of right and wrong. I value people valuing others more than themselves.
What is worth risking your life for?
The people who love and are loyal to me. It is worth risking my life for those who have stood beside me through the hardest times in my life. It’s worth risking my life to uphold my honor and dignity. It’s worth risking my life to live the way my mom would have wanted me to. It’s worth risking my life to speak out against injustice and wrongness. Being obedient is doing what you’re told regardless of what is right. Being moral is doing what is right regardless of what you’re told. I was raised to be moral and honorable. I would sooner take the world down with me in a blazing, flaming pile of righteous ashes than dishonor my name and thereby the name of my mother.
______ gives me the greatest meaning in life or work.
Helping others overcome their inner Evil Voice gives me the greatest feeling of fulfillment. The voice of self-doubt, and fear, and inadequacy. We all struggle. It is amazingly gratifying to help someone through their moments of darkness and to see them standing stronger for having gone through their experience; to know they have a more solid understanding of themselves and that I helped them get there.
In summary, my Core Values, the principles I stand for are:
Honesty, Acceptance, Integrity, Honor, Responsibility