Knowing your values and aligning your life, work and leadership to them is an absolute game changer. It’s how you can make the biggest and most positive shifts. You can go after your wants and needs with courage and confidence.
Values are our compass, they direct what we say, what we do and how we feel, whether we realise it or not. They are always present in our unconscious, running in the background, filtering our experiences and telling us how to respond.
Knowing our values help us to make decisions and take action that is right for us. We can better understand our emotions, navigate change and keep ourselves motivated.
When you feel emotions such as as anger, frustration, disappointment, it means a value that you hold dear has been compromised or betrayed in some way. If you aren’t clear on your values it can keep you stuck in that feeling, not knowing the best way forward.
Most of us are aware of at least a couple of our values and others are usually able to tell some based on what we say and how we behave.
Values run through us like a stick of rock, like our DNA they are unique to us. Even if we share a value with another person, for example, you and I may have a value of ‘belonging’ but what ‘belonging’ means to you and what it means to me will be different and so is what we need to get that value met.
We have different values for different aspects of our life too. In addition to our core life values we hold values for our career, our leadership, our relationships, and our health.
Values can change and evolve over time as we do, although I’d say two of my core values have been present throughout my life.
Sometimes we may find ourselves in situations where two of our values conflict. Integrity and kindness are strong values for me but I know I’ve been in situations where the right thing to do isn’t always the kindest thing to do. Not an easy or comfortable situation but knowing why I feel so conflicted helps me to navigate the dilemma and make the best decision for me. At times integrity will win and at other times kindness because in the right circumstances I’ve come to believe that being kind is better than being right.
It’s ok to have aspirational values too, setting an intention to want to be more (insert value) But it is important to acknowledge that it’s something you wish to become not something you are.
Have you ever worked for a company that’s professed a core value where you’ve thought the polar opposite? You join a company that states one of their core values is 'innovative' for example, but you find dated technology, hierarchical structure and command and control management styles! If you were drawn because of the promise of innovation, you probably won’t stay long!
Differentiate between core values and aspirational values - who you fundamentally are at the core vs what you wish to become.
The best and most authentic leaders lead from their values. They have a strong sense of identity, they know who they are and are clear on their leadership brand, which like fingerprints, they leave on everything they touch. They are the leaders we are most drawn to.
Values is a core pillar of coaching and helping clients to raise their awareness of their values, whether that’s life, career, leadership or relationships is key to helping them to navigate whatever challenge they are experiencing.
Coaches don’t give you the answers you are looking, they facilitate you to find them within and values is a big (although) not the only part of that.
What are your values?
What does each of those values mean to you?
How aligned are you to those values?
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Thanks for reading.
A passionate advocate for conscious leadership and the power of coaching.
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