How can I deepen my spiritual practice? That was the question I asked right before I stumbled across a YouTube video that featured the Virtues Reflection Cards. I was intrigued and immediately went to The Virtues Project website to learn more. From the website, I learned that “The Virtues Project™ empowers individuals to live more authentic meaningful lives, families to raise children of compassion and integrity, educators to create safe, caring, and high performing learning communities, and leaders to encourage excellence and ethics in the work place.”
I ordered the Virtues Reflection Cards in Oct. 2013 and downloaded the app because they were “written for adults to use in daily reflection.” These are the perfect cards to deepen my spiritual practice! I started by picking a card each morning and writing my thoughts in my journal. I soon realized that the virtues were the perfect tool to use as a strategy to maintain my 35 lb weight loss. Self-discipline, moderation, integrity and perseverance became foundational virtues for weight maintenance. Then, I noticed that the virtues laid the foundation for Being Unstoppable, so this became the theme for Unstoppable Women of Silicon Valley in 2014.
During this time, my enthusiasm for The Virtues Project grew exponentially and I felt compelled to share this with family and friends. I asked myself, “How can I share The Virtues Project in an authentic way?” This inspired me to identify 5 virtues that serve as a frame of reference for sharing the Virtues Project:
- Purity - Have purity of intent. This means that it is important to be clear on WHY you are sharing The Virtues Project. Are you sharing because you genuinely want to share your insights or are you secretly hoping that by sharing this work you can change someone? For example, I shared The Virtues Project with my hubby and I told him how the virtue of integrity helped me track my food intake everyday. On the other hand, if I shared The Virtues Project with him because I secretly thought it would inspire him to wash his dishes instead of leaving them on the counter or soaking them, that wouldn’t jive with purity of intent.
- Respect - Ask for permission before you share. Ask the person if now is a good time for you to share. You want the person to be open and ready to listen, so have respect for the person by making sure that now is a good time. If not, ask to share with them later. Bottom line, it’s about timing. I have a lot of enthusiasm about The Virtues Project, but I knew better than to talk to my hubby as soon as he got home from work. I waited until we were enjoying dinner together and said, “Honey, I’m so excited, can I share something with you?” The key here is to use your own language when sharing this work. You want to be authentic; otherwise, you may get the response, “Why are you acting funny?” or “What’s going on?”
- Sincerity - Share from your heart. This means to share about The Virtues Project in your own words. In my own words, The Virtues Project is a program to help me show up as my best self. If you don’t share from your heart and with sincerity, it may come across that you’re selling something or reciting a book report. Also, share how this work is impacting your life. Consider sharing a specific example. Tell me, what is more compelling, “The Virtues Project makes a difference in my life” or “The Virtues Project helps me experience more joy in my job because I’ve learned to appreciate what’s good about my job instead of complaining about it all the time. As a result, I feel better about going to work every day.”
- Assertiveness - Make your request, if you have one. Oftentimes, when we share something, we want to open the door to continue the conversation. For example, I shared The Virtues Project with my mom and my request was to be able to share my daily virtues pick with her. She was intrigued and decided to get the Virtues Reflection Cards app so she could do a virtues pick too. It became a great conversation starter, “What virtue did you pick today?” Keep in mind, there’s always the chance that the person may say no to your request - that’s okay. It’s not for everyone. Also, some people may be interested in what you’re doing but they may not want to participate at the level in which you choose to participate. My hubby is open to The Virtues Project, but he doesn't do a daily virtues pick like I do.
- Gratitude - Express thanks to the person you shared with. It’s always a blessing when you can have a heartwarming conversation with someone about something you care about.
I’ve shared The Virtues Project with lots of people since I was introduced to it back in 2013. Even though I use the 5 virtues I’ve discussed above, I’ve noticed that what I share and how I share it changes as I deepen my own study of the virtues. Have fun as you deepen you own study of the virtues and use the 5 steps to help you share The Virtues Project with others. Let me know how this works for you!
- Shannon D. Silva
Virtues Project Facilitator
CEO Unstoppable Women of Silicon Valley