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  • David R. Edwards

A Challenge and An Observer (Exercise 2 of 5)

Exercise # 2 of 5

Do you ever have times when you feel a nagging discomfort with a situation? This can be a one time or a recurring problem. When you have this type of feeling it often indicates a situation that is inconsistent with your values. Use this reflection to help you understand and make your values more concrete. Remember, you are not placing blame or fault in this exercise. If you avoid judgment or blaming, you can focus instead on discovery and insight. If it is too uncomfortable you might think of this as if you are observing this situation from a distance. This can give you some safety.

  • Think of a challenging or uncomfortable situation you are dealing with. Consider this situation like an outside observer who is watching it. What are they seeing?

  • As you observe what is going on, what are the thoughts or feelings the observed is experiencing in this situation. Write them down.

  • As you think about these feelings, what are the values that are being challenged?

  • The conflict of values requires two viewpoints. The other could be a person, practice, policy or another artifact. As you observe the situation, what value is being demonstrated by the opposite perspective?

Sometimes when we are in a challenging situation we operate out of our “gut” or immediate non-thinking brain. In this specific situation were emotions ruling the moment or was there a pause for a more thoughtful response? From this reflection can you clearly state the value you (or the observed) have? Can you state how it was threatened in this situation? Can you state the conflicting value? If you said yes, you have a much better sense of what the exact problem is and can start to either zoom in to solve the problem yourself, zoom out to get help with the problem, or zoom away to get away from an impossible situation. Write down your observations.

Have some fun on this path, think, and enjoy the vital benefits of understanding and making your own values explicit. If you have not read the first blog post titled, "Values - Nicety or Necessity?" I encourage you to read through that first. It provides important context and answers the critical questions of what values are and why they matter so much.


David R. Edwards is the author of the new bestseller, "New You! Who Knew?". You can find out more on his web site.

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