I was reading a personal finance article about how to save money, when something surprised me; on the list was advice to reduce buying organic produce. The rationale was that organic produce often costs more and that produce with thick skins or that doesn’t require much pesticide to grow aren’t likely to have a lot of pesticides in the parts one eats. The reason it surprised me was one of the reasons I try to buy locally grown organic produce is to support the local economy (and thereby increase local food security), to promote sustainable agricultural practices, because it often tastes better, and to reduce how many toxins wind up in my body. By no means do I buy locally or buy organic all – or even most of – the time.
The author of the article assumed that the reason people buy organic produce is reduce their consumption of pesticides; which is true in some cases, but certainly not all. Two thoughts occurred to me as a read the article; 1) it’s important that I know why I do what I do so I can gauge the value and applicability of advice (and to identify the assumption, that my not be accurate that lead to the advice in the first place), and 2) it’s important to occasionally revisit how well my daily activities are in line with my values. Oddly enough, reading the article has led to me buying more locally grown organic produce (the opposite of the advice) and realizing that means not buying some things I want, but don’t need so I have more money to allocate to purchasing things I need and better reflect my values.
As a leader, how often do your day-to-day action reflect your long-term goals and your values? If you’re like me, they occasionally get out of whack – it is, after all, so easy when money is tight and the workload heavy to save an easy buck or give a quick answer.