Our delightful roommate Colette got my gears turning at work today with a very thought provoking note. I’d been thinking on the subject some a few weeks back, and her note (and subsequent discussion) got me dwelling on it some again.
Going to steal from her thesis to build on, because there’s a lot here to explore- her basic premise was that, in her mind, “who you are IS what you do.” From her note:
All the same, in my experience, someone’s true intentions and their behaviours should, for the most part, be in time with each other. If someone “wanted” to volunteer, had the ability to, but ultimately didn’t, it’s natural for me to say, “well I guess that ‘want’ wasn’t very strong.” Our decisions and actions betray to the world what is truly valuable to us, and I’d say our values are a large part of what makes us who we are.
The discussion that spawned covered a lot of different topics (and was excellent) but I wanted to start on the “who you are being what you do” bit of it.
I think the connection between our desires/intentions and actions is obvious, and stated well there. I know I’ve grown more irritated with people who say “Do as I say, not as I do”, or folks that say they’ll do something, and then not follow through. That’s integrity, and respect. What is your word worth to you?
In a recent conversation with someone about this, I also brought up the qualities of “importance” and “urgency”, and how they applied in this kind of thing. I’m a banker- I understand urgent. There are things that you might need to act on right now. I have documents that need to get to someone YESTERDAY and am scrambling to get them there. Or, on a different note, I’m hungry, and need to cook that bacon right now.
Conversely, there might be things that are important, but not necessarily urgent. My family is more important to me than my work- if something happened that MADE it urgent, I’d pack up and leave the office and do what I had to.
I think it’s the concepts of important and urgency that have continued to occupy my thoughts. What’s urgent to me? What’s important to me? What do I really value and spend my time/energy on? What would my circumstances changing do to my values?
I want to be more urgent. I take a lot of things for granted, and live a comfortable life. I want my values to reflect the man I should be. I want my time to be reflective of that man as well. Just because I spend more time at work most days doesn’t mean that my family and friends aren’t more important. But if someone or something is important to me, I should take the time to do the right thing.
Both what we do and how we spend our time say a lot about who we are. I think it’s worth thinking about the message we’re sending- not just in what we say, but more importantly, what we do.