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Navigating Conflicting Values in Your Personal and Professional Life

Experiences of conflicting values are common in life. We hold beliefs and values that clash with each other at times. For example, we have a job offer that provides a 30% raise but is in an industry that conflicts with our values (examples might include a casino or payday loan company). When our values conflict with our personal needs, it can be difficult to decide how to proceed without betraying one value at the expense of a personal goal. So, what can you do when two values conflict?

1. Analyze the situation: It's important to understand the situation and the values that are in conflict. Reflect on your choices and identify the underlying value associated with each one. Now, rather than comparing the choices, compare the values they represent.

2. Prioritize your values: Sometimes, you may not be able to satisfy both values. In such cases, take a step back and prioritize your values recognizing the costs involved. This can help you make a decision that aligns with your beliefs and principles. How much is your personal integrity worth?

3. Seek advice: If you're struggling to decide, seek advice from someone who shares your values and can provide an objective perspective. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, or coach can help clarify your thoughts and provide new perspectives. You may discover options previously not considered that achieve your goals and uphold your values.

4. Avoid binary thinking: Much of life is lived in the grey with no clear black or white answer. Are there aspects of each choice you could make work? Can you negotiate alternative working arrangements that uphold your values? Modify your expectations by rethinking timelines for achieving desired goals. Consider ways to reconcile the values and try to find a compromise that satisfies both.

5. Accept the consequences: In some cases, you may have to accept the consequences of your decision – at least in the short-term. Remember that every decision has trade-offs, and few decisions are permanent. Trust yourself and your values and practice self-compassion.  

Value conflicts are challenging experiences and present an opportunity for growth and self-reflection. By analyzing the situation, prioritizing your values, seeking advice, avoiding binary thinking, and accepting the consequences, you can make a decision that aligns with your values and principles while meeting your needs and goals.

If you’re facing a value conflict, schedule a coaching session with me and let’s explore options that meet your goals and your values.

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