Psychologists will tell you, according to Darren Hardy in his best seller, The Compound Effect, “Nothing creates more stress than when our actions and behaviors aren’t congruent with our values.” I think I disagree.
I lead a business book group and we just read this book because it had dramatically altered the life of a member’s husband. Our group creates the questions for the discussion by each writing two questions for the bowl and we pull the questions out for discussion. It’s a great way to uncover broad aspects of a book that a single leader might miss. This was one of those situations.
Page 66. I missed it. I mean, I read it, sure. It didn’t settle into my bones though until someone asked a question about it. I struggled with it so much that someone asked me why I was struggling with it so strongly. Great question.
Changing the Definition of Stress
A member who agreed with the premise (and most did), said, “I want to hear the situation that proves this wrong,” (or something close to that). Well, I said, Catherine’s life causes us a lot of stress and I don’t think that has anything to do with my values. “For example, if a nurse doesn’t show up, that creates stress for us,” I said. “That doesn’t have anything to do with my values,” I added. I didn’t want to go too deep about it, but I was also thinking that when Catherine has a seizure, that causes me tremendous stress and I don’t think that reflects on my values either. The members quickly reframed the point and said that perhaps the thing that causes the stress is a misalignment with expectations. I could certainly agree with that!
I kept wrestling with the written premise, though – and more importantly the very good question of why this troubled me so much. Perhaps it’s because I know how much stress I feel and the possibility that meant my life isn’t congruent with my values really disturbed me. In fact, I am very intentional about living my life to reflect my values.
One of the things I’m trying to learn – consistent with my values – is to be true to who I am, rather than some notion of who I’m supposed to be. And in being true to who I am, I am learning to keep, file and delete some ideas that come across my plate. I researched the premise a bit and can’t find an original source to “the psychologists.” I could find several google pages of Darren Hardy attributions and people accepting it as fact. Maybe I could look a little harder. I think in this instance, this is going to be one of those ideas I’m simply going to choose to delete – with apologies to Darren Hardy!