When you talk to coaches, all would point that getting to know your values is a great way to start working on yourself. I personally, named my values when I started my coaching journey. My biggest surprise in naming them, was how effortless the decision process became. When in doubt the question that would guide me was: what values am I honoring taking this path or the other? And it made it easy and clear to stand by what I believed to be true to me.
Like when faced with the decision of staying at a non-fulfilling job to jumping out and having my own business, my core values of courage and connection to myself and people around me, made it easy to stand for what was important to me.
So, why are values so important? And how does knowing them affect our behavior and choices?
Values are our way of behaving or believing that we hold most important. They are our compass in life. Values are formed subconsciously as a result of many factors: family, culture, society, educational upbringing etc. They tend to remain unchanged throughout our lives and are personal, but their prioritizing varies according to what stage of life we are in.
Naming and clarifying one’s values, gives so much awareness and freedom in choosing. That is having a choice to make the right decision for us, as you choose based on what is important to you and what you are prioritizing in life.
For example, if you become aware that freedom is your number one value, you would make a different decision than if security was in first place. Or if you value adventure, this will make you follow a different path than someone who values routine.
Knowing your values affects your behavior as you are acting in full integrity with who you are, and you do walk your talk. You take decisions and actions honoring these values. It does take courage to live up to the values. I am not insinuating that just knowing your values, would make a difference in your life. It is LIVING them that does. As that is integrity and authenticity. Being and owning your full self and what you stand for. It is doing the hard things that you stand for rather than what is easy – that means staying true to your values.
When you are not in alignment with your values, you feel off and there is dissonance internally. I feel for example the dissonance if I would deliver a workshop and there is no connection with the audience. Since I know that, I do my best to have the connection even if it means greeting and shaking hands with all the participants – I take my time as it is important to me.
When in dissonance with values, you can feel that something is not as it should be and your whole body reacts to it. That is what we usually call a value clash. There are these two or more conflicting values that compete. Like for example: You got this job that pays well, but there is no connection with the people in the office. If connection is one of your core values, it would be difficult for you to survive in that environment and you would probably look immediately for something else as you are not fulfilled.
Values need to be honored and practiced and lived by every minute. The moment you notice a discrepancy in yourself – ask: what is it that I am doing and being that does not align with my values?
Values are a great tool of awareness about yourself and people around you. If you do know the values of the people around you than you would understand well why they are behaving the way they are behaving. There would be greater connection and empathy.
Lastly, living up to your values would inspire other people to do the same. You are giving yourself and others full permission to be who they are and stand by themselves. Therefore, seize the day to get clear on what your values are. If you cannot do it on your own, a coach would help!
PS. If you are in Copenhagen, come join to this workshop on values on May 22nd, 2019.