“I Don’t Like What’s Going on Here!”
“Unhappiness lies in that gap between our talents and our expectations.” - Sebastian Horsley
In many of my team and culture building exercises, I mention that people seek out environments that allow them to live out their values without compromising them. They also seek out environments that allow them to “be themselves” (outgoing, able to deal with details and more). It would be great if this always happened, but the fact of the matter is that we are often put into situations that make us uncomfortable.
When you’re in one of those situations when you’re being asked to compromise your values or be someone you’re not, you have five options. This list was taught to me by Dr. Bud Upshaw and I use it all the time.
1. Do Nothing. This is where people feel like a victim of their circumstance. If they continue to do nothing, it could actually lead to health issues like headaches, ulcers and more.
2. If you can do something to change the environment, do so! This could be a policy change or change in lifestyle.
3. If you can’t change the environment, petition the people that can. This is why you do things like talk to your supervisor when something isn’t right. It’s also why people do things like write their congressman and go to city council meetings.
4. Change your values. This is easier said than done! Our values are usually deep seeded and not easily changed. This usually only occurs after a traumatic event of some kind. For example, a person who just had open heart surgery changes things in their lifestyle like diet and exercise.
5. Leave. Sometimes, the best thing for people to do is to leave the environment. This is usually done after a person has gone through all four of the previous steps. Their thought process goes like this: “I tried doing nothing and I couldn’t take it anymore. I tried to make some adjustments myself and it didn’t work. I went to talk to you about making some changes to the situation and you either refused to do so or your changes didn’t help. I’m out of here.”
This is a nice list to keep around. It can help you when you’re facing a situation where you’re being asked to compromise your values or “be someone you’re not.” Good luck!