why knowing what matters to you, matters
Hello dear reader,
I had a great conversation during a recent coaching call that I thought I would share with you as food for thought.
In a nutshell, for those short on time and want me to get to the point, here’s the question I’m asking you to ponder today: Is how you are currently living (and indeed working) aligning with your values?
A client was beginning to realise that the reason they were unhappy at work, wasn’t actually because they didn’t enjoy their work, or even because they were working long hours, it wasn’t that they didn’t get to use (some) of their Strengths™️, it was because their values did not align with the values of their organisation.
What are values?
I like Brene Brown’s definition: A value is a way of being or believing that we hold most important… We walk our talk—we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviours align with those beliefs.
What are your values?
We could come up with a long list of words for values, for example, James Clear has a list of 50 to refer to. But what are yours? You might like the idea of all those values, but really, which are non-negotiable for you? It’s so important that you get to the heart of what really matters to you. Many values are honourable and they all have their place, but only you know what is of top-most importance to you. Society cannot dictate all your values, neither can your family, your loved ones or your organisation. All of these things influence and shape us, but you must listen to your own mind and heart when defining the most important values to you. I think realistically our values need to be condensed down to a list of five or so.
Are you living aligned with your values?
Tough. What is your gut telling you? Perhaps take a look at your shortlisted collection of values and take stock of how you feel. What are you doing that aligns? What are you experiencing that doesn’t align? For example, if integrity is topmost on your list, but you work with a team that you know cut corners, tell lies to keep clients happy, and encourage you to do the same, I hate to be the one to tell you, but you are compromising your values. If your value is family, but you are rarely present, rarely have energy left for those you loved the most, then, I hate to say this, but your value is being crossed by the way you are having to live.
What can you do about it?
So, as a someone who works in career coaching, I would encourage you to be honest with yourself, with what you feel you can do, what you have both capacity for, and courage for. Small steps are still small steps. Pick one of your values and focus on it for the next month, looking for ways to build that value into your life, addressing areas of your life where that value isn’t represented, and challenging those around you that are encouraging you to cross your value boundaries. They are important, they are there for a reason. You need to live by them in order to feel fulfilled and living with purpose. When you get to contribute in a way that aligns with your core values, your unique purpose is amplified.
What to do about it isn’t an easy question to answer in one blog post (it’s one of the reasons I created The Purpose Pursuit), and now might not be the moment to reflect upon it. Perhaps you had a strong visceral reaction to this question, either for the positive or the negative. Listen to this. Start with taking stock of where you are.
Find some time over this week to take a walk or have a cuppa with your thoughts and think about your values and how they are being expressed in your life.
Here’s a couple of questions to use in your reflections to get you going.
When were your values most alive?
When were they missing?
Who in the world demonstrates values that inspire you?
Your values are your compass. When you feel you’ve lost your way, your values will lead you back to your purpose.
P.S. Final thought for you: A lot of the conflict you have in your life exists simply because you’re not living in alignment; you’re not being true to yourself.” ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You
P.P.S. The gif didn’t work in last week’s blog. Something else I just need to let go.