The recent episode of the Quality Living Made Simple podcast talked about core values (episode #006). It was a great discussion, and Dave Stachowiak laid out their importance. We also talked about the simple process to find your core values. If you haven’t already listened to that episode, definitely take the time to do that.

I mentioned that I have 5 core values: Gratitude, Integrity, Faith, Education, and Relationships. These are values that I never want to sacrifice. But establishing core values doesn’t automatically mean that it’ll be easy to maintain them.

It takes dedication to be consistent to your core values. (Click to Tweet That!)

At my job, I was supposed to be off this Thursday and Friday (for the holiday). When I got off work on Wednesday morning (I work 5pm-5am, Monday-Thursday), I was anticipating that I would have one more night at work and then start my long weekend.

I don’t get as much time with my kids as I would like, so I told my kids that I would take them to the zoo on Thursday. I had also talked about it with my supervisor Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. My kids were so excited. They were telling everyone and their brother that they were going to be going to the zoo with their Daddy.

Then I went to work on Wednesday evening. Something happened and now we had to work on Thursday. If I still took my kids to the zoo (which meant they would be with me all day, too), then I wouldn’t be able to get sleep (not very safe when you’re working in a factory with dangerous machinery). It almost brought tears to my eyes to think about how crushed my kids would be if I told I had to cancel our trip to the zoo. I could have choose to be defeated and disappoint my kids, but sometimes staying true to your values means making difficult decisions.

I talked with my supervisor about it. He knew that there would be a problem and mentioned that to his boss. There was nothing that could be done – we were all still supposed to come in to work Thursday.

I told my supervisor that there was no way that I was going to disappoint my kids and break my promise. I’ve had to do that before, but I’m making extra efforts to make sure I don’t do it again.

I told him that I would either have to miss work on Thursday, or that I would go home early Wednesday so I could get some sleep. There was already someone that was on vacation for Thursday, so that would put the team in a bind if I wasn’t there. So I made the decision to go home early. My supervisor was understanding of the decision (I have a very good record with him – both in attendance and the quality of work I bring to the team).

There will still be a ding in my attendance record for leaving early, but the value of upholding a promise to my kids is more important. I’ll still have my job to go back to, and they will still value me as a great worker. And now, I’ll be able to strength the relationship with my kids by spending time with them. I’ll be adding to their trust by keeping my promise.

Question: Have you had to make difficult decisions to maintain your values?