On being valuable to others

To wrap up our June imagining on bringing our values to work, we chatted with Jara Dean-Coffey, Director of the Equitable Evaluation Initiative. Around the 13 minute mark in this video, Tiffany asks Jara about her recent blog post, Playing the long game and how it relates to our values. Jara noted that our values often serve to make us feel better about ourselves, but she said the next step is to ask yourself, “Who are your values in service to and for what?” Take a moment to watch the video and then imagine this with us:

What does it mean to you to be in service to others?

We also want to nudge you a little (we discuss this early in the video), think radically as you respond to this prompt. Imagine the world as you hope it would be.

Leave us a comment. 300 words or less. Speak from your heart.

And this month we will start tweeting some quotes from your responses, so help us out and include your Twitter handle if you have one!

3 thoughts on “On being valuable to others

  1. Imagine the world as I hope it would be… I am not sure it is as helpful to go there as it is for me to consider what changes I want to fight for in a world that will always be flawed, chaotic, and multi-faceted. I recently completed an online app that asked several open ended self-reflective questions, and I found myself being disappointed about the hopes and dreams people provided to the questions. Most of them were focused on inane things like “travel more” or vague responses about being a better person. Mine were about pushing for big possibilities and bigger changes beyond myself and my life. I prefer the opportunity to think big, rather than having questions that vaguely reference personal definitions of things like “hope.”

    So if I were to answer this question simply (not something I tend to do), I would say I would hope the world adapted toward more self-enlightenment, more self-reflection, and more self-consciousness. I can only change myself directly, and hope one of my bigger accomplishments in life could be in nudging/influencing change in others as I go through my own journey.

    For reference: https://programs.clearerthinking.org/lcq.html#.Xvy0NecpDDc

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  2. When I feel it – service – I am both exhilarated and exhausted. It sits deep in my heart, in my core really. It means that what I do or how I am has meaning and value as determined and expressed by others. And in this service I strive to be in as in as true alignment for how I want to be in the world as possible. At this moment in my life my service is to shift how we conceptualize knowledge and evidence to one that values and validates the intersectional identities of all peoples and our collective humanity. By maximizing my social capital I hope to make space, create wedges, name tensions which others can leverage. I assume folks will tell me when I have done enough if I am too caught up to notice that what I believe to be of service has shifted to feeding my ego as opposed to the long game.

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  3. Being in service to others…this phrase carries positive feelings for me. It makes me think of helping others, but on their terms. They determine their needs and if/how I can be of service. Service to others implies power that the others hold. Other terms like “client” or “project sponsor” also imply power in others, but it kind of diminishes when saying “MY client”. It’s harder to lose that when talking about “the people I serve”.
    So, to me, a world where work is done in service to others means that when social problems come to light, those being adversely impacted by the social problems are the ones who determine the who, what, how, etc. of getting there. Anyone else that wants to help works in service of that vision. Maybe this isn’t so radical – there are already approaches to social problems that centre around the people most affected, like empowerment evaluation. But it would be more radical if approaches like this were the norm, to the point that we no longer need a term like empowerment evaluation; that just becomes the standard.

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