Whose values are guiding you?

Whose values are guiding you?

So often we are told to look to role models who provide us with truths and values that should guide us – Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks. Yet very few of us can live up to such exacting standards. And by looking outside of ourselves we are living our lives from the outside in – seeking to imitate and indeed emulate the lives of our heroes. 

To live our own life, and be leaders that inspire in times of deep uncertainty, we have to believe
that we ourselves have values and truths that hold meaning for us and who we are.

The challenge is to sit with ourselves and work from the inside out and ask ourselves – Whose values are guiding you? We must see and accept the light and shadow within us. And listening to what it wants to tell us is part of the exploration and discovery.
Without this, we risk imposing a warped form of political correctness upon ourselves; editing or denying
our thoughts, our fears, our loss, shame and vulnerability. This suppression generates emotions that
then sabotage our attempts to live faithful, dutiful lives and we doubt the best of our selves: “If I was
truly a good person, how could I have thought that?”

As a society we also see the challenges this denial creates – it erupts in violence, xenophobia,
censorship as we only want to see the shadow in others rather than ourselves. In the health
and care sector this contributes to failings such as that at Mid-staffs and those in care homes that
dominate news cycles.

So can we find compassion and love for the totality of ourselves and the experiences that brought us to
where we are today? In this stillness and truth we can find acceptance, release and peace and need
not fear or judge our actions. We can learn to trust and believe in ourselves and our ability to make wise
choices and good decisions.

And with shadow there is light – acknowledging our own pain gives us an empathy and understanding
of the pain of others; our desires and cravings, both physical and mental, can become the driving force
to improve a situation or to fight for justice and peace in the world.

I finish by paraphrasing some words of Parker J Palmer who writes so eloquently on vocation:


“Beneath the surface of the experience I call my life, there is a deeper and truer life waiting to be
acknowledged”.

As a leader are you willing to go there?


If you’d like to have a conversation about how you can create a culture where all can thrive, contact
me today – I look forward to hearing from you.

Mitzi Wyman is a Solicitor by background with wide ranging experience across health, law and media. She now specialises in leadership and organisational development consulting and how good governance can lead to better out comes for organisations and society at large. Mitzi has an LLM in International Environmental Law, an MSc in Organisational Psychology and has trained with NancyKline, whose Thinking Environment underpins all her work.

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