Values: Your Secret Weapon to Finding Fulfilment.
Values are your secret weapon to finding fulfilment
I trained as a coach in 2009, and from that moment on I felt like I was walking around with a secret weapon.
This weapon has the power to destroy boredom, frustration, self doubt, overwhelm, confusion and many other negative emotions that quite simply got in my way.
It’s not really even that secret because we all know about it, but it hides in plain sight.
What is it?
Our mind. The single biggest influencer over the life we want to have.
It’s not the work we do, or the people around us, it’s our mind.
Yes, you might have a terrible line manager or have been born into a family that don’t deserve you, but when you can master your mindset, you can start to create the experience of life that you want. You get to take back control (not a Brexit reference I promise!)
I’m not going to make wild claims here that coaching is a ‘fix all’ (to start with, no-one is broken, therefore no fixing required), but I am saying that coaching introduces us to greater awareness. This awareness gives us choice, and it’s through choice that we get control.
One of the simplest yet most impactful pieces of work I do in coaching is in helping clients to understand their values.
Knowing our values helps us to appreciate why we react the way we do and helps us to interrupt unconscious patterns of behaviour. When we are able to stop ourselves before we react we have the chance to make different choices. It’s through these different choices that we get different results.
When we know our values we can proactively seek happiness, fulfilment, satisfaction, joy, passion – it’s not a search in the dark, it’s a proactive, targeted, conscious decision making process that brings the life we want. And it’s so simple, it’s almost criminal that so many people walk around not even knowing that they have values.
Client before I they know their values:
(The value at play here is freedom.)
Client – I’m going to send Sarah in my place to that meeting on Thursday. She’s fully capable of covering for me.
Manager – Actually I really think you should go
Client – (silent, internal dialogue, passive aggressive, monster) – Oh here we go again, overriding any decision I make. Typical, basically you don’t trust me and completely underestimate the judgement I have about my team. How dare you, can’t you see how hard I’m working! I just need an hour back to get on with other stuff. …..blah blah blah.
It’s easy to go from calm to raging in the blink of an eye.
The ability to think rationally or logically goes out of the window.
When a value gets triggered you often behave like a child, wasting energy on something that means very little and blowing things completely out of proportion. Your perspective can get blinded easily.
Here’s a client after they know their values
Client – I’m going to send Sarah in my place to that meeting on Thursday. She’s fully capable of covering for me
Manager – Actually I really think you should go
Client – (recognise the flurry of anger swelling inside, know that one of their values has been triggered and now have more choices available) “oh right, can you explain why?
Manager – It’s likely that the VP of Talent is going to be there and I really want her to meet you.
Me – Ok, I’m a bit stretched for time but I can see this is important. I’ll ask Sarah to cover another meeting later that day
Manager – Perfect, see you later
Recognising your reactions enables you to move quickly to options and finish in a place where your needs are being met.
You can bypass feeling unappreciated, dodge a potential conflict and avoid negative emotion
This is all possible when you have awareness.
Our most important, highest ranking values will be influencing our relationships and decisions every day.
They affect the quality of the relationships we have with people AND they influence how people experience us.
When we live a life knowing what our values are, it’s easy to have our needs met and to consciously influence what we want, so we feel fulfilled. You can proactively manage your needs. It’s impossible to expect people to do this for you
If we have no idea what our values are, then we will regularly find ourselves in situations where we feel negative emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, hurt, guilt and shame or we make decisions that take us away from our values.
Our values help us to nurture what is positive about our personality and make decisions with confidence.
So what are your values?
Do you know?
How might you find out?
Well, I have a £99 online course to help you discover your values and “Unlock Your Career Clarity” so you can learn what you need in your career to feel fulfilled, motivated and engaged. Check out the details here!
If you’d rather have a go yourself, here are 3 quick tips for discovering your values and understanding how they influence you on a day to day basis.
1. What’s important to you?
Quite simply, what’s important to you? What do you need in order to feel fulfilled? Here’s some examples: Recognition, belonging, connection, learning, achievement, progression, security, safety, power, love, freedom, fun.
Write down everything that you can think of that’s important to you.
2. What’s happening when you experience negative emotion?
When you experience boredom, frustration, anger, hurt etc, it’s often because one or many of your values are unfulfilled and the size of the emotion you feel can give a clue as to the importance of the value.
Do you get angry every time your hard work goes unrecognised?
Perhaps you feel hurt when your partner spends 3 hours on the phone to their friend/sibling when it’s your only night off?
Do you feel unappreciated by your colleagues at work when you’re working through your lunch break to hit a deadline and they’re bouncing out the door at 12.30 for lunch?
These scenarios above might point to values such as recognition, appreciation, connection, belonging not being met.
What ‘sets you off’? There’s almost certainly a value at play.
3. What’s happening when you are at you most engaged/ motivated?
We’ve all had those times when we’ve been happy, engaged, motivated and full of life. I think many people call it ‘flow’. A time when everything just seems to be going your way.
It’s not by luck or accident, it’s because your values are being met. So, think back to a time when you’ve been really motivated and engaged. What was happening that gave you that sense of motivation/engagement?
Answer these 3 questions and you’ll be on your way to clarifying your values. If you want to fast track your awareness of your values, remember you can do that here