Building resilience and challenging unhelpful 'red herring' values - The Process Improvement Collective
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Building resilience and challenging unhelpful ‘red herring’ values

Building resilience and challenging unhelpful ‘red herring’ values

The latest buzz word is resilience. We all need to be resilient to get by, but how do you become resilient?
When you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you, how do you get over it and pick yourself up. Putting on a brave face and pushing it aside doesn’t actually get rid of the pain you’re feeling. The only thing that can fix what you’re feeling is to re-centre yourself to your values. In this blog, we’ll cover how to articulate the values that are unique to you, describe how to re-centre to your values and how to nurture your values so that your resilience matures to help you get over things quicker and prevent getting hurt.

Losing your sense of self

We’re very adaptable. We get influenced by those around us. You’ll notice when you’re constantly around people with a sarcastic sense of humour, you will start being sarcastic or people who swear a lot, you’ll start swearing with them. So when you’re around people who have different values you’ll find you start to take on those values, even though they’re not true to you. As time passes, you’ll feel ill at ease with who you are becoming and wonder how to find your way back.

What happens when you’re down

When you’ve had a setback or a criticism, you feel like shit. All of your mojo is gone and you’re not sure how to smile again. The reason you feel this way is because you’ve had a nerve touched that is particularly important to you. Someone or something has challenged one of your values that is unique to you. This is a fundamental piece of information that speaks to the core of who you are.
If you are in this situation now or can easily recall when you felt this way, you’re in luck. This information is gold. It will help you define who you are, what is important to you and who you need to become. It is also the key to becoming resilient and moving on quickly and easily from these horrible feelings.

Analysing the hurt

Think back to a time when you were deeply offended or angered by something someone has said or done. Relive it. Try to define the exact moment of the memory that riles you up or creates a physical reaction of pain, flushed or sinking feeling. What was the theme of the criticism or action? Is there a particular word or look that really hits you? What is it that’s being challenged? This is one of your core values.
For me, I’m devastated if I’m accused of being mean, being unhelpful or the quality of my work is questioned. Having people like me and think that I do a good job is incredibly important to me. So when I think about who I am and who am I trying to become, this is my key piece of information. The most important value to me is being respected and liked. In turn, I respect others and I’m kind to others. I want to do as much as I can to build a happy environment, where people feel good around me.

Re-centre yourself

Now that you have identified what your values are, you know what’s most important to you and who you are, you just need to draw a map for yourself to show you the way to your true centre. Find a way to remind yourself of who you are and who you are becoming. When you’re having a good day, write about how you feel, what you feel, who you want to be. If you’re not much of a writer, find a picture, song or a few key words that will help you come back to who you are. Put some effort into getting it just right, because it’s on your darkest day that you will need a powerful reminder to pull you back.

Challenge your deepest values

Unlocking where some of your values have originated from, might actually help you discover some deep weaknesses or deficiencies that have been operating under the guise of a value. Red herring values. These are values that are not helpful to you and deserve to be challenged and removed from your potential values conflicts. In my situation for example, I am incredibly polite. This stems from foundation values I learned from my parents. I am uncomfortable with confrontation and I don’t want to make people feel bad. This can mean letting people get away with bad behaviour and passively ignoring issues rather than dealing with them head on. I find the thought of upsetting someone revolting. This is a red herring value. It’s not truly who I am or who I want to be. It’s a learned value that I choose to challenge and remove from my psyche. I fight my instincts to keep the peace and speak my mind no matter the consequences.

Finding resilience

Staying true to who you are and who you are becoming on a daily basis is how you become a resilient person. If you are behaving true to your values and the person you truly want to be on a daily basis, you will be able to recover from lapses much quicker. I recently came to work and a co-worker asked if I was ok because I wasn’t my “usual happy self”. The absolutely great thing about that question was that it showed me I am truly living my values to the point where other people know who I am and what my values are. I’ve become the person I want to be to the point where others know it too and help me stay on track.
The person you are becoming will continuously change, especially if you identify those red herring values and challenge them. The more aspects of yourself that you learn about and challenge the less failure points you will have that require resilience. Resilience will be something you have most of the time in most situations and you will rarely have to think about centring yourself. This is the path to wisdom and contentedness.



The Process Improvement Handbook contains an easy to follow 7 step process that harnesses employee knowledge and refines it to reveal management-ready improvement proposals that are relevant to objectives.