With the announcement that there will be a referendum held on June 23rd to decide whether we will remain in the European Community or not, will come an extensive period of campaigning and debate aimed at persuading us to vote one way or the other that will divide families and communities in different ways to traditional political lines.  As political parties have agreed to give their politicians a ‘free vote’ on this important issue so we already see a division in opinion that hayachts anchored off the island of st maartens economists concerned enough to see our currency fall significantly in the last couple of days.

So how will we make our minds up through what will now become an onslaught of arguments for and against that will bombard our media over the course of the next few months?

A helpful model that we use in coaching employees to take responsibility for the decisions that they make concerning their role and career development is to look at the alignment of their personal values with the values of their organisation.

Values are the anchors that secure our beliefs to our ocean floor and stop us from being battered against the rocks of popular opinion in stormy times like these.  The chains that attach our anchors to our ‘sea-craft’s are our good intentions that are closely linked to our values and that help us to make decisions true to our values in turbulent times.

Our ‘sea-crafts’ meanwhile are our behaviours that are tossed on the ocean of differing opinions and that may be influenced one way and another according to the direction of the opposing perspectives that will influence our decisions at times like these.

As we approach an important decision like the one we will each have the opportunity to influence on June 23rd it is important for each of us therefore to step back from the intensity of the campaigning and evaluate what our personal values are and how they will be impacted by a ‘stay’ or ‘leave’ vote.

Either decision will have a significant impact on ourselves and for generations to come and this decision should not be taken lightly.  We cannot afford to dissociate ourselves from a decision that will have such a profound impact on our future.  As we saw in the Scottish referendum in Sept 2014, a whole nation became engaged in the decision making process, much more so than had been previously seen experienced in general elections.

So what are our values and how do we go about identifying what lies at the core of who we are and what we believe to be most important to us?  A quick google search on personal,values will reveal several tools, both free and paid for, that can help guide you in your self assessment.  Armed with clarity around our personal values, we are then better prepared to evaluate the arguments that will fill the airwaves in the coming months and help us to make a choice that is well informed and in alignment with what is truly most important to us.

Alistair Aitchison

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