Core Values and Vital Symmetries

A number of years ago as part of my professional development I went off to a Covey seminar on Core Values.  I found the class interesting, but in the end, felt that it left something important unsaid about how I navigated through my life.  Being explicit about one’s values is helpful, even necessary, but values are not sufficient except for the most fundamentalist approach to living.

My Life, as I’ve experienced it, only infrequently runs aground for a lack of values awareness and implementation.  Generally when my values are under duress, the choices are very clear even if implementation comes at a significant cost. My deepest, thorniest challenges come in situations that involve tradeoffs where there isn’t a clear either/or value to fall back on for direction.

Over time a pattern has emerged to these trade-offs, allowing me to identify common pairs that I am continually managing and I’ve come to call these vital symmetries, riffing off the medical idea of vital statistics.  Furthermore, my times of deepest dissatisfaction have always involved, upon reflection, some imbalance in one or more of these vital symmetries.  To move beyond those times required time and attention to restoring the dynamic balance of the impacted symmetries.

Like the values, identifying my  vital symmetries is one level of work, but maintaining them requires another whole level of effort.   By their very nature there is a kind of oil and water quality to them.  Realizing one of a pair often involves letting go of the other.  For example, if one is creating the whole world it can be damn hard to find something one hasn’t created, to acknowledge and accept a gift of the universe.

I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of talking over this idea and my specific content with a number of folks, and not too surprisingly while it seems everyone can identify at least one or two trade-offs they are always engaged with, those trade-offs tend to be unique to each individual.  I suppose if I was a scholar and researcher, I could do some data collection and begin to identify patterns and commons tradeoffs, but the planning, collaboration and stability required for that are more than off-set by my love of spontaneity, individual effort and change.  That’s me being realistic about the balances I need in my life to feel good, on-track and happy.

The other part of this conversation is some individual context that has persisted over the 50+ years of living I’ve done. This enduring context seems hardwired into me at a level deeper than personal choice.  A number of attempts to let go of these attributes or suppress them has been consistently unsuccessful in some pretty spectacular and painful ways.  Useful awareness as I try to understand both my values and my symmetries.  Neither set tends to lead me down paths that are in direct opposition to the enduring context.

Below you’re find my context, core values and vital symmetries.  What are yours?
Enduring Context

Outsider
Pathfinder
Acceptance

Core Values

1 Truthfulness – Search for persistent truth as the basis for sustainable action
2 Balance – Maintain the Symmetries and values
3 Integrity – Honor the truth I find, act accordingly
4 Communication – Clarity, Transparency
5 Equality – The “Death Comes for the Arch-bishop” thing
6 Nurture – Nurture the best I can find in people, animals, all
7 Curiosity – Explore, examine, question, and play

Core Symmetries:

1 What I find/am given What I make/create
Grace

Nature

Others

Me

Acceptance

Approval

Public

Honor & Glory

Writing

Houses/gardens

Environments

Me

Private

Harmony

Acceptance

Conviction

2 Spontaneity Planning
Casual

Funny

Loose

Engaged

Senses

Emotions

Structured

Deliberate

Serious

Reliable

Predictable

3 The Actual The Ideal
Tolerance

Nature

Evolving

Approximate

Precision

Complete

Focused
4 Masculine Feminine
Analytical

Sexual

Fix it Experiential

Sensual

Nurture It
5 Individual Effort Collaboration
Art

Craft

Athletics

Ideas

Work

Process

Communication

Discipline

6 Action Reflection
Doing

Change

Creation Being

Consolidation

Integration
7 Change Stability
New

Challenging

Stimulating

Unexpected

Ritual

Familiar

Comfortable

Known

Expected

8 Mystery Clarity
Connection

Connotation

Invisible Structure Definition

Integrated

Visible Structure
9 Community Self
Anonymity

Meaning

Collective Identify

Existence

Personality

Profession

Avocations

Presence

10 Physical Soulful
Sense

Sex

Consume

Pleasure

Meditate

Love

Absorb

Savor

11 Emotional Intellectual
Heart

Experiential

Pleasure

Integrated

Involved

Analog

Head

Analytical

Correct

Rational

Detached

Digital

12 Timeliness Timelessness
Now

Specific

Quantitative Enduring

Inclusive

Qualitative

About blglick

Story Teller, Path Finder, Peace Maker
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