When working with my coaching clients one of the first things we do is to look at their values. When we’re finished with the process they’re often surprised by what their list ends up being.
I work with people who are pretty self-aware. It’s not like they haven’t thought about what’s important to them. They have. But few of them have peered so closely at their values. Those top values end up being the yardstick they use to make decisions as they move closer to their goals.
Values in Action: 59 Shades of Gray
I recently received a friend request from someone on Facebook who then proceeded to try and sell me cosmetics for reversing aging. At 59 I probably looked like a good candidate.
But I wasn’t a good match. I may have gray hair, but my values weren’t aligned with the company she represented. I do want to look healthy and vital. But I’m not willing to use a bunch of potentially harmful chemicals on my skin or hair in order to try and appear younger.
For me optimal health has a high value. I’m willing to sacrifice other things to live that value. I’m willing to not dye my hair and am willing to potentially look older than my peers who do dye theirs. I’m willing to forgo the latest skin care regime because the products contain mineral oil (or PEG 4 Laurate, Propylparaben, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate…) I’m not perfect in my quest for a high level of wellness, but it is a daily part of my life.
Are We Having Fun Yet?
One of my client’s “yardsticks” has fun at the top of her list. Any time she starts to resist something she asks herself if that something is fun. If it doesn’t sound fun to her we look at how she can shift it.
For example, going to the gym didn’t sound like fun to her. In fact it sounded like torture. But dancing on the deck gives her a thrill. Now her exercise includes deck dancing, something that she’s willing to do on a regular basis.
Another client values learning. Her job, a “good job” with benefits and stability feels like torture to her. A truly “good job” for her is one where learning is integrated, even rewarded.
What Do You Value?
How would your choices (and therefore your life) be different if you used a values “yardstick?” Your first step is to know what your values are. You can make a list on your own, but having a guide or coach enhances the process. That’s because we swim in our own sea. Having someone swim alongside you pointing out that you are, after all, swimming in water gives you a different (and more complete) perspective.
I’d love to know your top value or values. Would you be willing to post them here?
And if you’d like a “values guide” maybe it’s time for coaching. You can schedule a free consultation here.