Many times through my years in coaching, it has struck me how important values are; identifying ones own values can be a true ‘lightbulb moment’ of self awareness for most people.
Values are the things that are important to us, the core of who we are, the foundation of our lives, our reason for being, what makes us tick and indeed what makes us angry or upset if not honoured.
When I ask people what is important to them, often the responses are things like family, health or money, however these are not values. If we look a little deeper into ourselves and ask: what do these things give us? what do we get from them that is important to us? only then do we get closer to finding our core values e.g. from family we might get a sense of love, support or kindness. From having good health, we might get a sense of wellbeing or vitality. Money might give us security, choice or freedom.
We will find different values in different aspects of our lives, for example in terms of career we might value responsibility, recognition and sense of achievement, whereas in our home life, we might have values of stability, happiness and love. In our relationships with friends, we might value trust, honesty and loyalty. In interests or hobbies, things like fun, growth and contribution might be important to us. There may also be some cross-over, so values like fairness and respect may be important to us in all aspects of our lives and in all our relationships.
All these things may be important to us to a degree, the key is to find out which of them are our core values, the ‘top ten’ values that are individual and crucial to us that must be honoured in our lives for us to be happy and feel fulfilled.
When I have undertaken values exploration exercises with clients, they often say, ‘yes that’s me on a page!’ when they see the list of their top ten values, which represent their uniqueness and the core of who they are and what matters most to them. That new self-awareness and understanding allows them to focus and move forward in a positive way.
Once we understand our own true individual set of values, then we have a foundation that we can build on to construct a life that will bring us happiness and fulfilment.
If you would like to learn more about your own values go to www.careercoachlondon.com/values.html and complete the free values exercise to experience the power of values for yourself.