Do you view adversity as a failure and not as a learning?

People can experience setbacks and adversity as failure and then compare themselves negatively with “successful people”. They can therefore miss the learnings and the benefits to them of the setbacks and hardships they encounter. It is often said that the successful entrepreneur is viewed from the perspective of their success story, not the reversals and financial disasters along the way. Someone whose has had a serious accident or illness and had to give on their dream in consequence may look back with regret, but not necessarily see what they’ve gained from their life so far. Yet there are those too … Read more

Being in integrity means facing our own demons

How often has something not worked out for you in relation to another because of an issue with being in integrity? For example, how much do you find you aren’t fully trusting of another and where they are coming from, or for that matter they with you? Do you find you aren’t always fully consistent yourself and maybe don’t always show up quite as you think you ought. A useful test can be how you feel, like a certain discomfort, guilt or even shame. In transactions with another, often key to a successful outcome is the level of trust that … Read more

Fear of being selfish can limit what’s possible for us

Recently someone told me that she was brought up not to be assertive about what she wanted because that would be selfish. She was taught that “others came first”. In the “me first” society of today that might sound strange and anachronistic. Yet in other cultures, and in parts of Western culture too, it is not uncommon, particularly in older age-groups. Parental and societal rules or injunctions can be introjected by a child and absorbed as their own belief unquestioningly, such that when they are older they hesitate to take a course of action for fear of how they think others … Read more

Are you really who you say you are?

We have a saying in personal development that when we make a stand on something we’ll get challenged on it. One area this can particularly seem to be so is in our values. “Are you really who you say you are?” might be the question others have in their minds. Thus it’s noticeable how much we can get invested in challenging people’s integrity, exposing the hypocrisy of their expressed beliefs when compared with their actions, or questioning the acceptability of their actions against some perceived higher standard. There’s a TV programme running at the moment, presented by Stephen Fry, in … Read more

At what cost do you violate your personal integrity?

What price one’s personal integrity? On the day that a UK MP and his wife are up for sentencing for lying (pun not intended: price…Pryce?!), it’s another of those times to reflect on what we mean by integrity and how important it is to us. The immediate case in mind is that an MP and his wife lied about a driving offence, the MP, a former government minister, claiming it was his wife who was driving, only to be shopped later when his estranged wife, who subsequently claimed marital coercion, told the press it was a lie. It seems a … Read more

In questioning our values we are calling time on what’s not working

Interesting that Stephen Hestor has spoken today of the “selfish and self-serving” culture in banking that needs to be eradicated not just from his bank, RBS who have just been fined £390m for manipulating the LIBOR rate, but also right across the industry. This time right now is one of those defining moments when we as a society take a hard look at what has been going on within it over the last few decades, not just to the time just before the crash of 2008, but over an era stretching back arguably to the political and economic philosophy represented … Read more

Are our values at odds with those around us?

It can often seem as though our own values are out of step with those around us. This could include a feeling that in the place where we work the senior managers don’t seem to think the same way, or the culture there isn’t what we ourselves might value. Then the community in which we live might not live quite according to our own ways. Or that the overall culture in which we live is somehow out of step with our own. I read in the news today for example of how a Muslim family felt compelled to move out … Read more

To mean what you say and say what you mean

Honesty, sincerity and integrity are things many of us say we espouse, but how much do we do it in practice? It’s a useful test: do you mean what you say and say what you mean? So, you might ask yourself, “Do I show up? Am I who I say I am? Do I do what I say I will do?” No doubt many of us can think of people and situations where statements aren’t matched by actions. Most often people immediately mention politicians or bosses past and present, and can readily itemise various betrayals. Think of the rousing meetings … Read more

Where our values don’t translate into action

As this recession (really a depression) in the UK grinds on, the tolerances that were initially retained post-2008 seem to be breaking down and I wonder if we’re moving to a period where we need, where we really need, to take a good look at our values and what we want as a society. I’ve been noticing how people have been struggling individually in the face of what for the vast majority of us is an unprecedented contraction in the economy. I say contracting, although on the face of it we seem to be “flat-lining”, in other words bumping along … Read more

When our values can put us on the spot

Do you recognise occasions where you are asked to make a choice and you find yourself hesitating about what is the right course of action? It can even seem like you are “put on the spot”, seemingly being asked to choose to do or say something that doesn’t sit right with you, or by contrast something where there’s a stirring within you that this course of action you are contemplating is totally who you are and what you are about. These are occasions when we are contronted with our values, with an ethical choice, one that can even strike at … Read more