Live your values
Down at the airport on Saturday night, my mother had just flown in on the BA flight.
We piled all the suitcases in the car, turned the key to drive home and … nothing.
Not even an attempt by my car to start.
We looked around the dark parking lot and there was, oddly, not a soul (or set of jumper cables) in sight. Everyone had emptied the plane and beetled home; the taxi ramp emptied. One of those strange moments when you think to yourself, ‘Hang on, am I in a movie? Where did everybody go?'
As we sat debating our rather limited options, a jeep pulled in: a family picking up their friend's car while they travelled. I approached tentatively for help. They magnanimously launched into action. Well equipped, they first tried to jump-start my car. When it still wouldn't go, they insisted on giving us a lift home. They squeezed mum, me, son, dog and all the luggage into the cars and drove us halfway across the island to our front door.
It was so far above and beyond my expectations of help. Gratitude, appreciation and respect welled inside me. In times when it seems we cannot escape tales of animosity and negativity, this family shone as such a bright example of the goodness and kindness available within us.
I think many of us would consider ourselves “good people”, myself included. But to paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Good is as good does”. This family really did a “good” turn. It made me ask: am I really showing up in the world the way I like to think of myself?
How exactly am I putting my values into action?
It is not surprising that putting our core values into action would lead to greater happiness. Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin speaks to just this in her book, The Happiness Project. Once we figure out what is important to us, what we value most, we can look to apply those things in our everyday life.
Application, though, implies action.
Goodness is a value. It is one thing to “do no harm”, which I generally manage without too much strain. “Doing good” however, requires more willingness, intention and energy — greater generosity of spirit. This is where I could put more effort.
Values can translate into the real world through many means. Goodness could mean giving up our time to volunteer for a cause we believe in, donating money, it could be comforting someone in need, assisting a neighbour, being willing to offer a hand to someone who needs help …
We are all capable of living our values in one form or another. First, we need to know what we stand for, then we need to actually stand up for it. Let's get creative and find ways to show up in the world that are most meaningful for us. Live our values. Be examples to others. Actually be the people we think we are.
Thank you to the DeSouza family for the lift, and for the inspiration!
•Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on 705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com.