Discover Your Values

What do you truly value? What is of upmost importance in your life? If we took a look at how you spend your life right now what would we discover about what is important to you? Getting clarity around the answers to these questions, discovering your values and then living in alignment with your highest values is absolutely at the heart of creating a deeply, fulfilling life.

 

What are Values?

 

Values embody what is most important to you, they define what really, truly matters to you at the deepest possible level. Like a compass that tells us what direction to go in, values provide us with a life direction that when honoured can help bring us to happiness and fulfilment. The problem for nearly all of us however is that

 

  • so few of us are aware of what our values are
  • we haven’t assessed whether the values we have and the priorities we assign to them are bringing us the quality of life we desire
  • we aren’t aware of the self-imposed rules around our values
  • we have unprocessed fears that sabotage us from living in alignment with our values

 

Another useful way to think about values is to regard each value as representing the essence of the things that mean the most to you and bring you the greatest fulfilment. For example if your children bring you great satisfaction, the value is not children, but the underlying essence, for example love or connection. Money is not a value, but what is the essence it brings for you? For example it might bring security or feelings of abundance.

So to clarify further values are not actions, not things, not possessions, not tangible, not doings, but the essence of things that can be observed and experienced. For example happiness, vitality, freedom, security, love, adventure, success, fun, humour, connection, creativity, adventure and health

 

The Value of Values

 

So why is working with your values important? In a nutshell they are important when they are honoured they will bring your fulfilment. What’s more values heavily influence the life choices and decisions we make, so if you sense that your life isn’t working for you, choosing new values or re-prioritising existing values can help you change your life direction considerably.

 

What’s more updating and living in alignment with your values:

 

  • Lets you know when you are off track with what is important to you. The bodymind communicates this through dissatisfaction, discontentment, depression, anxiety, tension, low energy and aches and pain.
  • Lets you know when you are living your values because you will sense a rightness and harmony about what you are doing
  • Enables you to genuinely live with free will and conscious choice
  • Increases your energy levels and levels of passion,  motivation, enthusiasm and commitment
  • Accelerates your emotional and spiritual growth
  • Supports you in living an authentic life, in which you are true to yourself
  • Helps you make clearer, healthier decisions and choices
  • Helps you avoid or limit people, places and situations that aren’t in alignment with your values
  • Helps to focus on goals that truly matter to you
  • Brings  a renewed sense of purpose, meaning and inner peace

 

How to discover your values

 

One of the traps that many people fall into when they attempt to discover what their values are, is that they say what they think they should be, rather than describe how they are. The easiest way to get around this and to identify what your values are is to take an honest look at life your life right now. Our life reflects backs to us our values, values are observable.

 

The following are a series of exercises that can be used to identify your existing values. Record your answers in a journal or on a piece of paper

 

  • If you had as much money as you needed and were living a comfortable lifestyle, what would the most fulfilling life possible look like for you? Spend some time reflecting on this and/or discussing this with a friend/partner. What values would you be honouring by living this life? Write these down
  • If you had the time or money, what would you most want to study, practice, master, or research deeply? What would you want to become an expert in? What values would you be honouring by living this life? Write these down
  • Make a list of things beyond food, shelter and clothing that you absolutely must have in order to fulfilled and happy. For each of those things, what values are being honoured? Write these down
  • What causes are you willing to dedicate your life to? What values would you be honouring by living this life? Write these down
  • Identify a series of events in which you felt particularly angry or upset. Choose one of those and think about it for a moment. Now identify what value was not being expressed in that moment. Write these down. For example a client of mine Rita shared that she gets angry when her husband lies or exaggerates (she has a sixth sense that tells her when he is doing this), and from this she was able to see that the value of honesty wasn’t being respected. Honesty was therefore one of her values
  • Identify a peak moment in time, in which you were completely at peace and in the moment. It could have been in a pace of great beauty or with someone, or whilst doing something. What values were being honoured in that moment? Write these down. Rita described the feeling of empowerment and peace that she experienced a few weeks previous when she was presenting to her business colleagues. The main value that was honoured in that moment was the feeling of connection.

 

Once you have a list of your values, the next step is to identify your top ten and to prioritise them, in terms of how important that are to you and then to score out of ten the degree to which they are being honoured in your life right now. Often values can be put together, for example Honesty / Integrity or Health / Vitality. If you do this make sure that they are compatible, for example freedom/security are not really compatible, and lead with the one that is of greatest value to you. 1 = not being honoured at all, 10 = completely honoured. Because getting clarity around your values takes a lot of time and reflection, you might want to write them in pencil first so that you can re-arrange them as you wish. You might also want to consider working with a life coach who can help you get clear around your values.

 

Here are Rita’s top ten values and her score for each of them

 

                                                            Score

  1. Spirituality                                       7
  2. Happiness / Contentment                 4
  3. Honesty / Integrity                           3
  4. Creative self-expression                   3
  5. Authenticity                                    6
  6. Health                                            5
  7. Service                                           8
  8. Love / Connection                           3
  9. Fun / Laughter                                7
  10. Freedom / Independence                  5

 

It’s not hard to see why it was Rita wasn’t experiencing fulfilment in her life, so few of her values were being honoured. Anything less than 7 points to an area that needs to be addressed

 

You can record the following on your computer or journal

 

What are your values?                           Degree to which honoured now

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

One of the illuminating aspects of this exercise, as it was for Rita is that for most people it highlights the fact that most people aren’t experiencing their potential for fulfilment because they aren’t honouring their values. The next step looks at what you can do to change that.

 

Identify your barriers to values-based living



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