Managing your life values
This week, JOE's life coach John McNamara shows us how to discover, rank and live by our life values.
What do you value most?
This week I am going to talk to you about one of my favourite areas of personal growth. Your life values. Working on this area with clients is usually the one that invokes the greatest immediate shifts in awareness and behaviour. I will take you through the process of discovering, ranking and living by them. This process is pretty epic when it comes to making change and increasing congruency in your life. Knowing what your value set is and living by it will undeniably increase your happiness, focus and clarity in life.
So, what are my life values?
Do you know what your values are? If not, fear not, as very few do and the ones that do know are making waves in the world. This will be you!
By definition our values are:
Our own private, personal beliefs about what are more/less important in life.
They represent who we are and what we stand for at the very deepest level. Unknowingly they guide us through every decision we make. They help us choose between the people we like or dislike and they act as a compass to guide us through life and determine what’s more or less important. Now that I have highlighted their importance, would you like to know how to uncover your value set and make them work for you every single day for success and happiness? I can guarantee you that by carrying out these exercises and working on your own growth, your life, business, career, sport and relationships will catapult as a result.
Uncover your values
There are several key questions to ask when looking to uncover your values.
Grab a pen and a piece of paper and ask yourself the following questions:
1. What in life is most important to me?
2. What virtues do I aspire to and really like when I see them demonstrated by others?
3. What am I really willing to take a stand for?
4. Who am I at my very essence?
5. What are the organising principles of my life?
This will provide you with a very large list of values, qualities and characteristics you have or aspire to have. Some common examples include: committed, adventurous, successful, giving, generous, passionate, dedicated, sincere, courageous, creative etc. You will come up with many, many more yourself once you get started, as this is a personal exercise.
Rank your values
Now that you have uncovered a large number of values that you aspire to, we must rank these in a hierarchy of importance to you. You should ideally select seven with your top value at number one, as it’s the one that is most important to you. These can be values you currently possess or else ones you wish to develop and bring them into your character to enable you to reach your full levels of fulfilment, happiness and success.
If you are having difficulty whittling it down ask yourself the following question over and over until you get down to a definitive hierarchy:
If I had to live my life without one of these values, which would I be willing to give up?
Place them somewhere prominent so that you can see them every day. The sun visor in your car is not a good place if you live in Ireland, as I only saw my value list twice last summer.
Live and make decisions by your values
Once you have a clearly defined list of values you must then begin living by this. Your actions and decisions on a daily basis should be in direct correlation with this. For example if somebody has family as their highest value and their boss offers them €100 to work back a few hours late, then their decision will be an easy one as they will value the time with their family more than the monetary rewards. Unconsciously we make hundreds of decisions every week based on our values, whether it be to support or own or challenge the values of others. Now that you know what your highest values are you will be able to make more conscious decisions about how your life plays out. Control and Direction!
“Anything that changes our values changes our behaviour.” - George Sheehan
You now have determined what you deem to be the characteristics and traits you desire to live by. Your behaviours and actions then must be congruent with these. Having these out of sync is one of the biggest causes of unhappiness and poor performance in modern life. Continually measure yourself against these and see if you are making progress in the direction of where you want to be. If they are not aligned, fix them.
A common example of this is when people working with me set goals around their health and fitness yet their behaviours don’t support this and they continuously smoke, drink and eat pizza.
Success and happiness also feature prominently, whereby people will behave in a manner that makes living in accordance with their values and reaching their goals impossible. It is like killing the Golden Goose and then coming crying because suddenly the supply of Golden eggs has dried up.
So to finally recap on this. There are 4 key steps:
1. Uncover your Values
2. Rank them in a Hierarchy
3. Make decisions in accordance with them
4. Live Them
This is a brief insight into this hugely fascinating area. If you would like to learn more on this or to book a consultation call or mail TODAY…
Until next week…
John McNamara's column will appear here every Monday.