Being civically engagedIntegrating values and beliefsIntegrityStanding up for one's own values and principles (being honest with him/herself) and working along with them

Do I Walk my Talk?

This tool will help you become aware of your level of integrity and motivate you to align your values and beliefs with your everyday behavior and actions. Aligning your beliefs with your everyday behavior is essential for your civic engagement. Walking your talk and doing what you preach is of the utmost importance to make people trust you and your idea for a positive change. This tool provides you with an insight into your level of integrity and it gives you a sense of understanding of how much your behavior is aligned with your beliefs. This tool can be a great input for reflection and discussion on the topics of #moral #principles #ethics #justice #leadership #values

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#values

Description

Being civically engaged means that you are standing up for something you believe in. If you want to make a change based on your beliefs it needs to start with yourself firstly by understanding your values and beliefs and secondly by being aware of your goals and how everyday behavior reflect those values and beliefs. Your behavior and decisions should be in alignment with your values and beliefs if you want to make a lasting impact. This is integrity.

All the world’s great leaders – Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King – had ultimate integrity. Their words and doings were in complete alignment with their values and beliefs. People trusted and followed them regardless the challenges and hardships they have experienced. They didn’t have formal authority and they were not their bosses. They had integrity. They had moral authority.

Instructions

1 In order to understand if you walk your talk, first you need to understand what your talk is. “Talk” is metaphorically used for the things you believe in. What are your beliefs? Understand that your beliefs are derived from the personal values you hold as an individual. So, in understanding your “talk” you first need to be clear on your own values. For reflecting on your personal values you can use the tool “Personal Values Assessment
2 Consciously or not, when you set your goals or when you have thoughts about the future, they come from the perspective that is important to you. So, if you envision yourself as a doctor, one of your values might be related to health, helping people, or career advancement. If you envision yourself as a successful innovator/entrepreneur then your values might be freedom, originality, uniqueness, adventure (risk), etc.

So, what you want to do here is have a conscious vision of yourself and with that, a goal-setting based on the personal values you hold. So, if your values are family, peace, and success ask yourself:

–          What is my vision about my family? What are my goals?

–          How do I understand peace and what is my own vision of peace?

–          What is a success for me? What are my goals related to success?

Write this on a piece of paper or your laptop. You must write it somewhere. This is important because:

1. Writing things down brings things to life; and 2. You can measure your progress and reflect on it afterward.

Understanding your values and creating your vision and goals around them will make you stronger in standing up for what you believe in, your own values and principles. Writing down your values, vision, and goals will make you able to work along with them and evaluate your growth and progress.

3 This part is about understanding how much of your walk is related to your talk. It is a simple exercise about reflecting on your day or your week.

What did you do? How many hours did you spend on that? What took the most time and energy?

Now, check your values and check your goals.

How many of the hours you spent the previous day (or week) were related to your values and goals? To put it even more simply – reflect on the specific actions you did the previous day.

Which action was related to which value? Do your daily actions reflect your values?

Taking the previous example of choosing the values – family, peace, and success:

How many hours did you spend on the family? How many on peacebuilding? (Depending on what that means for you) and how many hours on success (from the perspective you understand and envision success).

Breaking down the day in hours and actions and reflecting on these suggested questions will make you more aware of the alignment and adjustments you need to do, to increase your level of integrity.

If you realize that your values and goals are completely different than your daily actions, you need to reconsider your priorities. You are not walking your talk. Reflect. Align. Build an agenda around your goals. Spend more time on actions related to your values and actions. And make a plan.

4 On a piece of paper write down your integrity plan. The integrity plan should include:

–          Your personal values with a simple description of what they mean

–          Your vision and goals next to each value

–          Actions you need to take, in order to achieve your goals

–          The knowledge that you need to gain to align your vision with your values

–          People you want to be surrounded with (that have the same/similar values and goals).

Put a time perspective on your goals and actions (its suggested you start from the back – example: 1 year / 6 months /1 month / 1 week – action plan)

5 Being honest with yourself is one of the most important things when it comes to increasing your level of integrity. If you need to quit something that you like doing, because it’s against your values, be honest with yourself. Acknowledge what is that other value that makes you do things that are against your “aware” value. Sometimes the values might conflict with each other. That is why reflection and “brushing” of your values and beliefs are important. Sometimes a certain value that we think is important to us might just be an expectation from society or an expectation from our parents. Think about it, when you are reflecting on “How was your day?” or when you are reflecting on your “integrity plan”.

You must touch upon your core and sincere beliefs. When you do that no force can stop you from achieving your goals and vision. Your work will no longer be work, you will feel that you are fulfilling your life purpose. It will motivate you to learn more to develop yourself and others around you. It will steer your civic engagement and the positive change you want to make in society. Remember: higher integrity leads to higher impact.

Suggested Reflection Questions

In this article, there are many reflection questions in the instructions.

Exercises:

On a piece of paper write down your integrity plan. The integrity plan should include:

–          Your personal values with a simple description of what they mean

–          Your vision and goals next to each value

–          Actions you need to take, in order to achieve your goals

–          The knowledge that you need to gain to align your vision with your values

–          People you want to be surrounded with (that have the same/similar values and goals).

Put a time perspective on your goals and actions (it‘s suggested you start from the back – example: 1 year / 6 months /1 month / 1 week – action plan)

Integrity is what you do when no one is looking

Antonio Jovanovski

Antonio Jovanovski has extensive experience of training and facilitating diverse groups all over Europe. His training and facilitating experience started during his AIESEC years (www.aiesec.org) where he served as President of AIESEC in N. Macedonia and France. Currently, he is a director of a youth environmental NGO (www.gogreen.mk) where he works on the topics of climate change, youth eco-activism, greening of economy, greening of education and jobs. He is also a member of the Pool of trainers of [email protected] partnership on employability and entrepreneurship (www.youthatworkpartnership.org)

Click here to read more about Antonio Jovanovski

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