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Do You Know Your Values?

Values are a funny thing: they literally inform our choices, decisions, actions, our relationships, our behaviors. Often, subconsciously.

The more shared values you have with a person, the stronger your relationship will be. Often, subconsciously.

When I speak with my clients about values... guessed it: they're often subconscious.

The problem with that is: if you don't know what your values are, if they are unconscious, they are unconsciously running you.

This means that, more often than not, you're making decisions on autopilot. If you've never spent time to reflect on your values, you've been making unconscious decisions. You're making decisions based on circumstance rather than alignment...which only makes things complicated.

This gets even more complicated when you have conflicting values. (More on that later.)

There's an activity I like to do with clients - values homework.

I have then list their top 10 values. (I give them a sheet with over 200 values - they can add any if some of theirs aren't listed. And yes, that does happen often.)

This activity alone is a challenge.

Because most people have a list of about 50-70 values.

And have to narrow it to 10.

The thing is: When you value everything, you value nothing.

Your attention is going in 800 directions.

(Sound and feel familiar?)

Then, I take it a step further and we literally put them in order: 1-10.

Because, yes, values have a hierarchy.

Let's say that you have a high value of employment.

You value your job and what it allows you to have: a roof over your head, food on the table, etc.

...and then your child's school calls and says there's been an injury...

If you're like most parents I know, you're out of the office and straight to the school, because family/child is a higher value than the employment.

Makes sense, right?

But this is also where it becomes tricky...

Remember how earlier I spoke about conflicting values?

Conflicting Values

You have a high value of employment and high value of family.

What happens when you want to take the next step in your career (whether that is a promotion or new job or starting your own business), but you worry how that will impact your family?

Or perhaps you feel like you have to choose between job and family: Growing at work means less time with family. (For the record, this is not true. It's not a fact - it's a belief - but it definitely feels like an either/or scenario.)

When our values are unconscious, we often don't see how we may use our values as a way of staying safe. (I would never put work over family - so I won't pursue this because I fear it will take away from my family.)

For me, conflicting values played out like this:

Top values - Freedom & Business Growth.

If I say I'm going to do something in my business, I am going to do it, and do it at 110%.

...but if I grow my business it may take away from my freedom...

...but I want to grow my business...

So having these conflicting values stops me from growing...because it was unconscious.

Now that I'm aware of it, I can see how the stories about what growing my business would 'mean' were holding me back and allowing me to play it safe...and keeping me right were I was.

Values Don't Always Present The Same

Another example of how conflicting values can present (and this is common!): Both spouses have high value of family. One shows it as time with family - the other shows it as working to create financial security for family.

Same value - expressed in different ways.

Not only do values have a hierarchy, but they can be expressed in many different ways.

...this is something we often forget.

Just because someone doesn't express a value in the same way you do, or how you expect it to be expressed, does not mean they don't share the same value.

And, p.s., people don't have to share the same values as you.

My values are for me. Your values are for you.

What do YOU value?

Is there something in your life you've wanted to do, but simply haven't?

Perhaps there are values at play.

Want to quit your job but you haven't? Maybe you value security over freedom.

Sometimes you have to look at what values are at play.

Other times you have to look at prioritizing a value.

I can't tell you the number of clients who have come to me for Health Coaching and do not have Health as a value. Or someone who comes to me for Business Coaching but does not have Business, Entrepreneurship, or Wealth/Abundance as a value.

There's nothing wrong with, for example, not starting the workout routine you say you want to start, but you get your power back when you can see which values you are prioritizing.

Because then you get to make new choices.

One more thing on values...

Your values will change.

What you value at 24 will differ from what you value at 42.

What you value when you're single, fresh out of college, differs from when you're married, and differs again when you're a parent, and differs again when you retire.

What you value when you're an employee differs from when you're running a company.

My values this year aren't what I valued last year. They're close! But they're not exactly the same. And they may very well be different next year.

But knowing what I value, in this moment, helps me to take empowered action and make empowered decisions.

And it makes everything easier: does this align with me values? Does thing bring me more of what I value or less?

Aligns and brings me closer?

Then YES! Go that way!

P.S.: Need help gaining clarity on your values?

I'm happy to help. Simply send me a message.

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