Category Archives: Values

We Leak Our Truth

By LeAnn Elkins, Friend of Simple Intentions

“MomLeak Our Truth_0630, you’ve been giving the baby about 30% too much formula vs. water.  Please use the measuring spoon I’ve put in the diaper bag and then add the corresponding amount of water.”

Yes, this is my son giving me feedback on how to properly fix a bottle for my grandson. I could take it as a personal attack on my abilities as a grandmother, but instead I know my son. He has, for as long as I can remember, been a factual and data-based communicator. This request was no different than his request as a young boy on how to prepare his sandwich with the appropriate proportion of peanut butter to jelly.  He is simply “leaking his truth!” His particular truth being a strong sense of correctness and order in everything he does and wanting those around him to do the same.

We leak our truth, whether we know it or not, and it’s a steady, unstoppable drip. Our truth is not necessarily what we say is important or even what we think is important. Our truth is:

  • the reaction we have to situations
  • our values in action
  • those inner most thoughts and feelings about self and others
  • how and where we spend our time and money

Though it can be challenging, there are indeed times where we can recognize our leaks. Often it takes others pointing these leaks out for us to truly understand their presence. Try out an exercise to identify your own leaks. Start by writing down some descriptors of self and what you most value. Share this list with a trusted colleague and/or friend, asking them to add to the list using their experiences of you. Have this person share with you how you “leak truths” about yourself as they occur. Look at your list often and compare it to what’s happening in your day to day actions. You may be amazed at how often you leak your truth without realizing it – and you also might find that these truths are not in alignment with your perception of self or stated values.

What this is really about is having the courage to own your truth. Instead of trying to be whom you think others want you to be or who you’ve been told to be (which can lead to so much wasted energy and even stress), just be you – the truth will leak out anyway! LOVE and HONOR these truths and how they are serving you and those around you. Get to really know them and let them shine — this is the authentic you and you are enough!

“This above all:  to thine own self be true.”  William Shakespeare


What Is a Community’s Role in Work-Life Balance?

By Jae Ellard, Simple Intentions Founder and CEO

[Note: This post originally appeared on Huffington Post]

Community's RoleI’ve been wondering lately what would happen if the conversation about work-life balance shifted out of living rooms and conference rooms and into the communities in which we live. Think about the community you live in right now — how does it support you in creating the type of balance you desire?

One of the core elements of balance is finding alignment to values. So then, do your values align with those of the community in which you live? Does your community value education, health, kindness, innovation? Does it value growth, connection, diversity, equality? Does your community value balance?

Do you actually know what your community values? Most people don’t; I didn’t before I wrote this article. Most cities have a list of core values or at the very least a mission statement listed on their website. Just like a person or a company, a community (even a country) will express its values based on where it focuses time and spends money. Through looking at where a city invests time and money, a clear connection can be seen to a city’s actual values.

For example, this summer in Paris, nine of the city’s largest parks will stay open all night. Residents, most of whom value social connection and city landmarks, can now appreciate the beauty of the city and each other 24 hours day. Paris is spending an estimated half a million dollars on this project, a direct alignment to the values of its residents.

For the residents of Carlsbad, California, most of which whom embrace a life of activity (on land and sea) the city has committed that 40 percent of the area will remain undeveloped as open space in addition to the 50 miles of hiking and biking trails and 7 miles of beach access already established. Going a step further, Carlsbad is intentionally working to retain and attract companies that support and share the city values of health and wellness. Making it no surprise that life sciences, action sports, clean technology and health and leisure are some of the area’s top industries and employers.

This isn’t about cities needing to create new programs, it’s about people understanding (and choosing) a city for the programs they already offer, and then working together to maintain that which has been created. It’s also about people creating more awareness not only about why they work where they work, but also around why they live where they live.

A Pew Research Center study finds that most Americans will move to a new community at least once in their life. Make that move count. If you value social connection, pick a community that supports social events and business networking. If you value the outdoors — choose somewhere with open space and national parks. If you value knowledge and learning — pick a city near universities and research centers.

At the very least, consider how the community you live in right now supports your desired outcomes for the life you want to live. (And don’t be surprised to find me living in Carlsbad!)


For Loyalty’s Sake

By Chelsea Elkins, Simple Intentions Marketing Manager

millennialLet me start by saying that I am by no means the voice of the millennial generation.

Let me also say that the word “millennial” deeply irks me (understandably so). I believe that we, as a global community, often get into trouble when we classify every individual from a certain group or demographic as being a certain way. People are just people, after all.

However, my colleagues here at Simple Intentions have repeatedly expressed interest in a post from a “millennial viewpoint,” so I’ll do my best to oblige. Here’s the take of one millennial in this very vast world on the specific topic of loyalty in the workplace.

The “loyalty challenge” came up in the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey. Many employers are facing higher rates of attrition with their millennial employees, and some young workers were polled as having “one foot out the door.”

Though there are many factors unique to the millennial generation that could be contributing to a shorter job life span, I believe the loyalty challenge mostly stems from deeply embedded values that are either not being met or not being communicated.

A lot of “millennial values” in the workplace are things that people of any age typically value (livable income, company integrity, purpose, a place to utilize their skills). The key difference seems to be that (more) millennials are quicker to look for a job change if they feel they are having to sacrifice their values at work. Indeed, one of the biggest values that is continuously threatened for many is work-life balance, and as a result some feel they have to go to extremes to get it back.

This is one big reason why there is more lateral movement among millennials than in past generations. Instead of taking the traditional route of climbing the corporate ladder, millennials are more willing to laterally move or jump to a similar role at a new company, if they feel that culture better aligns with their values.

For the sizable chunk of millennials who have stayed at the same organization since undergrad, climbing to higher roles and becoming leaders in their companies, I would guess that many of them have found (or founded) an organization that is in synch with their core beliefs. They are therefore able to invest in their work each day without feeling that they are violating any part of their being.

In response to the question of loyalty, it seems that, for many millennials, honoring their values is simply the higher priority. Not to mention that loyalty for loyalty’s sake strips much of the integrity from the trait. Though this may be a frustrating explanation for the time and cost associated with employee turnover, I believe this scenario is actually a rare case of positive attrition. If an employee feels they are sacrificing their values day in and day out, it is, from my own experience, very difficult to be productive and successful in that role. Long-term, the company will operate better and be more lucrative when staffed with people who are in synch with the company’s priorities and values.

I’m sure many will continue to shake their heads at the millennial loyalty challenge. In these instances, it may be helpful to imagine a world where everyone works in a place that mirrors and even strengthens their unique set of beliefs and core values. May I be so bold as to say that we might be better off in a place like that.

Personally, I was taught from a young age to live my values and to never compromise that part of myself. And I have taken that to heart – and to the workplace.


Don’t Quit Your Job to Find Balance

By Jae Ellard, Simple Intentions Founder

[This post originally appeared on Huffington Post.]

quit my jobSome people leave their jobs to find better balance and end up right where they started, only sitting at a different desk. You don’t have to quit your job to find better balance. In fact, please don’t do that. Rather, find balance in the job you currently have. Quit only if you realize your career is not supporting you in living or expressing your values.

Finding balance has very little to do with your career. Balance also has very little to do with the company where you work, or the people with or for whom you work. Balance has everything to do with getting clear on what you need and effectively expressing those needs.

Creating balance starts with a choice, an intention to create balance however you define it. Balance is different for each of us. It is not something that any CEO, manager or executive coach can give you or define for you.

Define balance for yourself, then make the choice to create it through daily actions. Actions that may be small, simple and so subtle that others around you barely notice. Actions like eating lunch away from your desk, drinking more water, getting enough sleep, setting down your mobile device when someone is talking to you.

Or bigger actions like mapping out your career path, learning new skills, putting energy into a hobby, or volunteering. Importantly, creating balance requires actions like saying what you mean, communicating your boundaries and requesting what you need to create a life of balance.

If you feel so out of balance that you’re thinking about leaving your job, stay until you are clear what it is you really need. Ask yourself if what you need is something your company or manager can reasonably provide. It might be that you already have everything you need, and the path to balance is small simple actions each day. No company, manager or person can create balance for you. The choice is yours.


Portrait of a Perfectly Balanced Working Family

By Kim Lowe, Simple Intentions Managing Editor

balanceTo working parents across the country, the portrait that emerged from a Pew Research Center survey released earlier this month is no surprise. According to the survey, in nearly half of two-parent families today, both parents work full-time. And these families aren’t just busy; as Claire Cain Miller describes in a follow-up report, today’s modern family is stressed, tired and rushed.

According the survey, 56 percent of all working parents say balancing work and family is difficult. Nearly a third say parenting is stressful all or most of the time. And 40 percent of all moms who work full-time say they always feel rushed.

Given today’s highly-competitive, 24/7 work cultures, this data isn’t surprising. It fuels a long and active discussion on work-life balance, and looks to public policies and workplace structures for solutions.

But let’s view the data in a different way. Let’s see a portrait of those working parents among the survey’s 44 percent who say balancing work and family is “not too, or not at all difficult.” Building on our philosophy of personal choice and intention, our picture is one of working parents who:

  • Know and prioritize their values
  • Know and maintain their boundaries
  • Fearlessly share their values and boundaries with the important people in their lives

In reality, “balance” means something different to every working family. But at its core is a shared awareness and regard of personal values. “Balanced” working parents know their values and make intentional choices that support them. They value family, so purposefully prioritize time with their kids. They value work, but make choices around their work that don’t compromise their family time.

They also know that values change with life’s circumstances. While their kids are small, for example, they may set aside values around community or personal growth. And they’re OK with it because they know it’s not a forever choice. Creating balance around what we most value at the present moment gives space and acceptance to reserve other priorities for another day.

Closely linked to values is boundaries. Balanced families intentionally set and honor boundaries around their time and various roles. At work, they know when and where “office hours” begin and end, what meetings they can skip or delegate, how to say “no” to demands outside their scope. Increasingly, families are setting digital boundaries around their devices in an attempt to create more balance.

Finally, it’s not enough for working parents to know just for themselves their values and boundaries. Balance requires broader awareness among those with whom we work and live: the boss, clients, friends, and family. Communicating our values and boundaries appropriately sets others’ expectations and creates a layer of balance in the support we receive.

Of course there’s no such thing as a perfectly balanced working family. We are in and out of balance daily, weekly, yearly. But through our choices, we can gain an acceptable level of balance that minimizes the stress and exhaustion felt today by too many working families.