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Living Life Like a Compass Not a Clock - Part 2

With staff turnover continuing at alarming rates, demand for services higher than ever and burn out the number one concern of charity CEO’s across the board—the data is clear. People working in the charitable sector are under extraordinary strain. It’s time to start prioritizing the health and well-being of the people who work so hard to serve society.

In this fast-paced, hectic year-end season, managing time (or lack of it) feels like a race you simply cannot win. Clocks may seem more relevant than an old school navigation tool like a compass. I would argue that taking a moment to pause, chart your direction and make sure you are headed where you intended should be a priority, especially when the footing underneath is shifting. This is important for your organization—yes—but more vital for yourself.

It comes down to values

The key to living your life and running your organization like a compass (not a clock) is knowing your values. Values are not just a list on a poster in the staff kitchen. Values are the heart and soul of people, and organizational culture yet, we rarely pause and ask ourselves what really matters right now.

There are six core benefits of getting to know your values. Part one of this article discussed: empowerment, decision-making and feeling fulfilled. Now, the final three benefits: defining what matters, confidence and finding your people.

1. Defining what matters

The original inspiration for values compass work was Season Two, Episode Ten of a podcast when my friend Jen Love and I joined Mimosa Kabir in conversation. Mimosa said:

“Values can help you realize what is most important. For me this became clear when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. She is healthy now, but at the time there was a lot of uncertainty. I realized how much I had taken for granted up until then. Prior to that I spent my career quantifying my success – how much money do I want to raise by which age? While at work it might be challenging to step away from these metrics, I learned they didn’t serve me during harder times.”

Organizational psychologist Adam Grant supports Mimosa’s experience with his research. In 105 studies with over 70,000 people globally he found that valuing extrinsic goals predicts lower well-being. Fame, wealth and beauty are bottomless pits. Pursuing growth, kindness, trust and health is a pattern for flourishing.

A values compass helps you know what is important in your life.

2. Become more confident

Knowing and acting on values bolsters your confidence. If you have ever felt like you are an imposter, this can be extremely valuable. In the Self Confidence Workbook, Barbara Markway and Celia Ampel talk about how actions drive confidence.

Taking small actions every day, aligned with your values can result in more confidence.

For example: During a recent presentation, a participant shared a story of when she felt most resonant. There was dancing, music and family being silly. Sheer JOY! When I asked her how she was making sure that she found joy everyday, she became tearful. She wasn’t. Her actions were not aligned with her value of joy. Her goal is now to do things outside of work that give her joy. Seemingly unrelated, this small action will help her feel more confident at work.

A values compass can help you become more confident.

3. Finding your people

Last year, someone I used to know but hadn’t been in touch with in over ten years randomly booked a discovery call with me. Virtual networking is how you build a global business, so of course, I showed up for it. Especially because years ago, I used to do anything to be in the same general orbit as this person.

About sixty seconds into the call, I realized/recalled that conversation with this person made me feel small and patronized. They acted like they were better than me, and I’d leave feeling “icky.”

Since I have done so much work on my values, know who I am and stand firmly in my truth, I realized I don’t actually have to be around this person. There are a lot of other people in our sector who leave me feeling valued, appreciated, and smart. These are the people I seek out.

A values compass helps you find your people.

In conclusion

Yes, I realize that it is the end of the year and that work and family are demanding more and more. As a result, values work might seem like something you want to tackle “later.” Here’s the thing: later never comes, now is all you have. This moment.

Mimosa and I know, and sciences supports it—having a clear sense of who you are, what is important to you and building awareness of whether your actions are aligned with your values can help you get through turbulent and uncertain times. Times like right now, when demand for our services has never been greater and resources are dwindling.

So, if you can, pull out your calendar, look at your clock and make time to work on your values compass. Book some time to talk about working with me to help you through coaching. Doing so can help you take your first step toward a successful, abundance and resonant life – at home and at work.

This article was originally published on Hilborn Charity eNews.

Kimberley Mackenzie, CPCC, ACC renewed purpose is to be the kind of coach she wishes she had had. She is a burnt-out charity executive, grumpy consultant, former CFRE, former editor for Charity eNews, AFP Master Trainer, Podcaster, Step/Mother to eight children, Grandmother to one and works as a Group Facilitator, Certified Co-Active Coach, ICF certified Associate Coach. You can reach Kimberley at or follow her on Instagram

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