Building a Community Around Values

In last week’s post, I shared why values are so important and why your values are the foundation for who you are as a leader. If you’ve ever found yourself feeling frustrated, burned out, or isolated as a leader, then you need to build a community. 

You need people around you that share your values. It doesn’t matter that it seems your boss, coworkers or the company you work for, doesn’t understand your values. Maybe they do share your values, but have lost their way. That’s OK. You don’t have to be angry about it. You can still connect with people that share your values. 

During a particularly challenging time in my life when I felt very alone, a wise woman said to me, “It’s like you’re alone in the forest in a cabin with the lights off. Turn on your lights. The others who are lost in the forest will find you.”

You can’t expect people to find you or connect with you if they don’t know who you are and what you’re about. You can apply this teaching in practical ways. For example, maybe you think pharmacists need a creative outlet to reduce stress levels, start a YouTube Channel. Or maybe you value spirituality as part of being a good healthcare provider. Start a blog on the subject.  You can volunteer to teach a class at your place of worship or with a community group. Start a book club. A simple thing to do is check out groups on LinkedIn and contribute opinions or resources. The others are out there and they’re probably looking for people like you to connect with, share stories, and borrow inspiration. 

Setting Boundaries 

You may have to say “No” to things that don’t line up with your values. This won’t be easy. Remember, you don’t want to be in the wrong cabin when the right people come knocking. Graciously leave groups or organizations that are no longer a good fit. No need to justify, judge, or harbor resentment for lost time or resources. Simply explain that you’d like to free up some time and energy to be involved with other projects. 

Having too many obligations can hold you back from finding people and groups that are a good fit for you. Even if you’ve been with a certain group for a long time, or if you feel obligated, take a good look at what kind of groups you’re involved with. Know that staying in a good group at the wrong time will not be beneficial to you or to the other group members.

Being a People Pleaser 

It may very well be that you’re spending your precious time and energy with people that don’t share your values because you want to be liked or accepted. It’s ironic, but you have to leave and risk being alone sometimes in order to belong. 

Ask yourself these questions for more clarity. Are your contributions valued by the others in the group? Do they ask for your input? Do you feel good about being involved with this group? Does this group’s message inspire you? Are you proud to be involved with this group? Would you miss this group if you stopped contributing my time and energy today? Too many “Nos” means it’s time for you to say, “No.”

They’ll be OK without you. And you’ve just freed up time and energy to be a part of something that really resonates with you and that will make you happy. 

Final Thoughts

One of the best ways to enjoy your work is to find ways to stay in alignment with what you value. When you act and speak in line with what’s important to you, that is a great way to be true to yourself. Here’s the thing you probably don’t realize: Others are watching. You may encourage someone to stay true to their values.

It’s important to find others who share your values so that you have encouragement when it’s difficult and you don’t feel alone. This doesn’t mean you have to quit your job. Just because the others aren’t right under your nose, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. 

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