When Core Values Conflict

Occasionally, even your own personal core values might conflict with each other. A topic I teach in my workshops is what do you do when you have conflicting values. What do you do to align those values with one another?

Irrespective of your culture, your values will always remain. Let me give you an example: in my Indian culture, nobody would even dare to miss a wedding or funeral. Sometimes in life, unexpected things crop up and at times you have to miss certain occasions, but for me this is a high priority. I don’t view this as a cultural obligation. As the years have gone on, I have discovered that this is something I really want to commit to because it aligns with my values. I am the oldest cousin in the family and often viewed as the big sister; it’s such an honor that my relatives view me in that regard.

Due to unforeseen situations, there are a few weddings that I missed when I was younger, but attending a wedding is something that is not up for debate. Recently, I was asked to be a speaker at a workshop in Sacramento. I was ecstatic and knew it would help my business if I attended. I was supposed to speak on the second day of the workshop, so people had the chance to first get to know me at the beginning, and then have another chance to connect with me after I gave my talk. Literally two days after I had agreed to talk at the workshop, I get a Save the Date from one of my cousins who was getting married.

I found myself in such a predicament. What was I going to do? I couldn’t miss the wedding, and I couldn’t miss this career opportunity either.

The decision I decided to make was based on my core values. I knew I couldn’t do both, so I knew I had to renegotiate the talk at the workshop. I had given my word, so I didn’t want to cancel on the producer. The event was still four months away, and there was enough time to find another speaker. However, he said he really wanted me to speak there because what I talk about is aligned with what he wanted the people there to experience. What happened was we renegotiated the time I would speak; my conflict was resolved that easily.

So, instead of speaking on the second day of the event, I spoke on the first day. Of course I didn’t have as much time to get to mingle with people, but I did get to go to the wedding.

I would have been unhappy at either one of the events, if I had to back out one of them. Because of being connected to my values and priorities, I was able to make concise decisions and also have clear discussions regarding those decisions.

That’s one of the benefits of knowing your values; it enables you to make clear decisions, not based on emotion, but making decisions based on your core values! Believe me, it is a lot easier to make decisions when you are aligned with your core values.