Last week, a former client shared how instrumental the values work we did was in gaining clarity about her circumstances and in fostering our coaching relationship, which ultimately motivated her to start her own consulting business.
Perhaps you hear the word values and you roll your eyes. I wouldn’t blame you. For many of us, it brings back memories of posters on portable walls that make lofty promises that are violated day after day. We’d be better off with a picture of a puppy, at least that would make us smile.
Still, there is something about values… I’ve been curious about them and what they can make possible for quite some time. And so, I’ve studied and researched values, values-driven organizations, and values-based organizations. What I can say for sure is that true values, the ones that are the result of a genuine effort to understand and define what drives the organization, have incredible power and translate into phenomenal performance.
But here’s what’s really cool — the same applies to individuals.
So why do values matter so much and how does it all work?
I think many of us have created a life through responding to external influences. We have made decisions based on what others think we are expected to do and how they expect us to behave, rather than listening to our intuition. I call it our shoulds, and sometimes they don’t serve us well.
Think about how you grew up, the communities you’ve been a part of, your family, where you practiced faith. These influences often create a sense of obligation for us that can lead us to lose sight of who we really are.
This fuels our misalignment, and we end up in a place where our life is supposedly “good”: we are successful, we have a good job, we have a lovely family, everything is going well, and still we feel this gap—something is just not right. It is a feeling of dis-ease that leaves us wondering what is going on.
This is where the power of values lies! By looking back and inward, really taking a deep dive, getting clear about your personal values, you can rediscover who you truly are and what fuels your agency. By relying on your values, you tap into the possibility of flipping the construct of your life around, opening the door to living from the inside out. And that’s a game-changer.
Typically, when I start working with clients, when we dig into values together, and I guide them through the process. The client’s initial reaction is, “No problem. That’s easy. I’ll have that to you next week.”
But it actually takes quite a bit of time.
When you really dig in, you become very introspective, and at first, it can be hard to discern the difference between your core values and the values you may have been embracing somewhat unconsciously.
When you dig, when you really go through the process of being clear, you flip things around. Instead of living from the outside in, you live from the inside out. And that’s incredibly powerful!
Let’s get back to my client (now colleague) who was really successful in her corporate role. She left that role and established a successful consultancy practice, one where she embraces a mission in line with her values, one in which she thrives.
Was it a walk in the park? No, it was a lot of work. But, she has a bounce in her step back, and she’s happy with what she does every day. She shared with me, “I now have dinner every night with the person I love, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
You can view the work of clarifying your values as rekindling who you are at your core. How do you show up in the world? How can you celebrate who you are and live with alignment in everything that you do?
My client shared how she now uses the values that she has unearthed through our work together. It is a go-to map for all the difficult decisions that she has to make. If she’s going through a tough time or has a tough decision to make, she goes back to her values to figure out, and that leads to her next best step.
It is a powerful process. A transformative one.
If you would like to know more about how I go about guiding clients through a values clarification process and what it can unleash, book time here, and you and I can chat.
Talk to you soon, have a great day!