If you were a stick of Blackpool rock, what word (or words) would run through your core? Determined? Imaginative? Fun-loving? Values can be hard to pin down because they’re so deeply embedded in our personality and psyche and they can get covered over by behaviours or lifestyle we’ve fallen into. Sometimes, though, it’s helpful to take stock of the things that make us tick and make sure we’re working and living in line with the things that mean most to us.
The values you have didn’t form overnight. Like pieces of sandstone, they have taken shape over many years: some have stood the test of time, whereas others may have worn away with the ebb and flow of life’s experiences.
Most of the time, our values live within our subconscious mind: you know you have them, but it’d be hard to explain what they are or where they have come from. Without really realising it we can start living according to popular values around us as conveyed by the media, society, family, a particular culture or sub-culture. Often, feelings of irritation, frustration, sadness or ambivalence can be signs that we are acting out of alignment with our true values. We can also feel irritation when someone else ‘crosses’ our deep values. Such frustration can be a useful indicator of what’s true to you.
It’s easy to get into the habit of straying from or setting aside your values in the pursuit of a seemingly easier life – or simply to fit in with the culture around you, this can happen unconsciously. But once in a while, it’s good to take a step back and reflect. Are you living your true values? And if not, how might life be better by doing so?
To support you in getting in tune with your values: as much as possible give yourself some space in your life; allow yourself to be still and quiet; do things which make you feel alive; or perhaps spend some time alone away from your normal environment.
A few ideas to identify your core values:
- Think about a few life events that were particularly important to you – times when you felt particularly ‘you’, at ease, alive, proud of yourself, fulfilled– for example a move to a new city or a big, positive decision you made. What did these events mean to you? Dig deep and you’ll find that they often emanate from your values: the fundamental characteristics that define you. Note down key values related to these events.
- Think back to a time you were highly motivated. What were you doing, what fired you up and why? What personal values does that point you to?
- Another useful technique is to consider what you like about yourself and others. These could be friends, family or people you admire. What key traits make you warm to them? Chances are, those traits link back to your own deeply held values.
- Establish the main values in your ‘list’ and put them roughly in order of importance. Values can be anything from ‘adventure’, ‘caring’ and ‘making a difference’ to ‘passion’, ‘open-mindedness’, ‘loyalty’, ‘justice’ and ‘creativity’. Don’t limit yourself: this list can be as long or short as you need it to be.
Now, an ‘integrity check-in’ – are you living and working in ways that express those values? Are there any new behaviours of decisions that you can make that would align you more with your values?
Reflecting on your own personal ‘list’ of values can be an empowering and enlightening process – both personally and professionally. It enables you to reconnect with your true, unique nature. This in turn enables you to express yourself in a way that feels authentic. This authenticity not only feels great, but it radiates out and impacts the impression you make on others.
If you’d like to chat about coaching or training for you or your business, fill out the quick contact form or give me a call me on 07876 495 968. I can help you get in touch with your authenticity, so you can really bring your true offerings to the world.