I always try to make decisions and live my life consistent with my values. Sometimes it's easy - and sometimes it's not. I haven't always succeeded but then I usually end up learning a lot about myself in those circumstances. For me, referring back to my values helps me make difficult decisions in morally ambiguous circumstances.
Over the years, I've observed the fragility of some people's integrity. I've met a lot of people who only act with integrity when it suits them or when there is a reward or incentive to do so. Many years ago, I ended up being punished for acting and behaving with integrity - and I'm happy it happened. Looking back, that experience strengthened my resolve(and confidence!) to always act with integrity in spite of the pressures and incentives to do otherwise.
Our lives are short and we need to make the most of the experiences that we can have when we are able to have them. For ourselves, our family, and for our friends. We only get to spend 6 halloweens with our kids before they realize that we're really not that cool. I tend to say Yes! to experiencing new things or new ways of experiencing the same thing. Yes to moving from Vancouver, BC to Halifax, Nova Scotia for my undergrad, to living in Nunavut for 2 years, to studying in India for 3m, and to attending Burning Man(and living in the scorching Nevada desert for 7 days!).
I believe that greater civic engagement and dialogue is necessary in our society to bring people closer together, to understand each others perceptions and realities, and to initiate change at a systems level. I make it a goal to appreciate and welcome the individual uniqueness and the differences that people bring to the table and to my life. Enriching our society and our common humanity is important to me so you'll often find me giving back more than I take.
I find myself often choosing to respond with compassion first instead of contempt and to assume the positive first. This is not the same as being naive or a doormat. It is about trusting people unless you have reason otherwise. It means you trust trustworthy people. And it means you become appropriately assertive when your interests are harmed.
The places I’ve traveled to such as Nunavut, the US, Burning Man, and India have shown me so many different ways humanity is capable of living and experiencing the world.
The people I’ve met have shown me that our differences don’t have to divide us, it's how we choose to interpret those differences and how we choose to interact that determines our collective future. My colleague Isaac Gould made the insightful comment that "People act to what they know and what they trust".
“Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.” - Abraham Lincoln.
I don't believe anyone can lead without being a learner and a listener. And you can’t learn unless you know what people really think and experience working for you and being with you. When people offer me unsolicited advice, I prefer to view it as a gift - a gift from a friend who cared about me enough to offer their feedback and risking rejection in the process.
Our ego serves to guide us, enabling us to assert our needs when necessary. When our ego instead governs us, however, that is when it can be destructive and leads us to arrogance and ignorance.
We have to learn new mental models for how to think about challenges and solutions.
"All human interactions are opportunities either to learn or to teach." - Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled.