Have you ever wondered what it is that influences the decisions you make? Where your gut feelings come from and why certain things others do cause you such confusion?
I recently attended a conference where one of the speakers asked the audience who could name their top 10 values. Only a very small handful of women held up their hands. As a coach and wellness facilitator I wasn’t too surprised by this small number and again wondered to myself “how do people manage their lives effectively without knowing these?”
If someone asked you this question - would you be able to list your TOP 10?
I often facilitate my four wellness workshops to corporate groups and groups of friends and have noticed a lot of confusion about what values actually are. Many individuals struggle to differentiate between values, morals and ethics. Some individuals will take a guess at what their values are, saying things like ‘family or money’.
So my goal is to educate individuals on the importance of knowing their values, what values are and how to uncover their top 10. Generally this would take at least an hour long coaching session, however I will try and cover these off in this short article.
If you haven’t thought much about values before, you are probably asking the question – how will knowing my values better my life?
The easiest way to reach true happiness is to align your life with your values.
Your values are your foundation, they are your inner compass of life. They are also the filter through which you see the world. You may see someone doing something that really annoys you, generally this anger will be related to a conflict with your values. In this situation, knowing your values can help you recognise your triggers and understand and appreciate differences.
In my life I visit my values a lot. Recently a good friend had three job offers all at the same time. We sat down and aligned each opportunity to their TOP 10 values. One of which was ‘freedom’ – and one role allowed flexibility to work from home, so that got a tick. We continued through each value and each opportunity. By the end it was easy for my friend to make the final decision on which role to accept just through seeing which one was most aligned to what is important in their life.
Note how I mention ‘what is important intheir life’. This is where values are different to morals and ethics. Morals and ethics tend to be society based, such as ‘you should be/do/act like x’.
Values are much more personal. They are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They are influenced by your environment but they are unique to you.
As we navigate our way through life, it’s our values that are driving our navigation system. Many of us don’t even realise that at our core is a set of values that govern every aspect of our life.
Basically life feels good when the things we do and the way we behave is consistent with our values. You feel satisfied, at peace and content.
Life is DIFFICULT when the things we do and the way we behave doesn’t align with our values, that's when things feel... wrong. This can be a real source of unhappiness.
Let me give you can example; one of my key values is respect and I feel really uncomfortable and stressed out when I am running late for an appointment with someone else.
Another one of mine is trust – if I lose trust in someone close I find it very hard to overcome this loss of trust.In a work sense:
If you value balance but you have to work a 70-hour week in your job, you will feel internal stress and conflict.
If you don't value competition, and you work in a highly competitive environment, you are not likely to be satisfied with your job.
Values also play a huge part in goal setting. It’s unlikely you will achieve your goals if they are not aligned to your values.
So why isn’t ‘family’ a value when it’s really important to you? Basically, if you can put it in a wheelbarrow, it’s not a value. Values are abstract.
Many coaches/website will still accept these as values however I prefer to ask a better question:
What is it about your family that you value? The answer could be love, respect or support and one of those will be your value.
How to uncover your values in 5 easy steps?
Step 1: Find a website online that lists a range of different values. Here is one to get you started: https://peak-ict.wikispaces.com/file/view/Defining+your+core+values+-+personal.pdf
Step 2: Find a quiet place and sit down and highlight the values that jumps out to you. What really means something to you? What is really important to you? What you would like people to say about you one day at your eurlogy.
Step 3: Now it’s time to condense these values into your TOP 10.
A great way of doing this is to imagine you are writing a work document. There is a heading followed with various subheadings and bullet points. See if you can group values together and then determine what the heading for the page would be.
For instance, if you value community, and generosity, you might say that service to others is one of your top values.
Step 4: Once you have chosen your TOP 10, see if you can rate them from 1 – the most important to 10, the 10th most important.
Step 5: Think about where you can put your values so you can check in with them regularly. I have mine next to my computer in my office.
Once you have listed these, they act as a great starting point for a coaching session. The coach can help you identify if your life is currently aligned to these and highlight any changes you could make that might make your life easier and happier.
If you have any questions about uncovering your values, please feel free to get in touch