We all have a set of personal values – beliefs and ideas about what is important and desirable in our lives. You might have one or two core values, perhaps about honesty and hard work for example, or a whole raft of them. Either way our personal values are uniquely ours and they are important. So much so that not being able to express (or live) your values, or having to compromise them (perhaps in your work) is deeply uncomfortable, and in the long run, detrimental to your well-being and contentment.
So we know that our values are important, but do you know what your values are? Values may change over time and as your circumstances change so you may find that you are out of touch with yours. Many of my clients don’t know or are unsure of their values. Sometimes they haven’t given them much time and thought. Often we work together because of some kind of dissatisfaction in the job or life generally and discover that the problem revolves around values.
One client, Susannah, worked as a corporate lawyer in the particularly ‘cut and thrust’ world of mergers and acquisitions. She was very good at her job and achieved great results for herself and her firm and yet despite that she was deeply unfulfilled.She wasn’t clear what the source of the problem was until she started understanding her personal values. Among them was a deep sense of fairness and compassion, two values she felt she was unable to express in her job. Understanding this ‘disconnect’ and recognising these core values enabled her to use her skills and training and apply them differently. By moving to legal aid work Susannah regained a sense of purpose and found deep satisfaction with her work.
If you are clear about your values, how much time and space do they get in your life? For example, if your health and exercise is important to you, how much time in the week do you spend on them? Are there aspects of your life, for example in your work or relationships, where you feel that your values are compromised?
Assessing the extent to which you live your values is a hugely beneficial exercise and one that enables you to then identify any areas in which you need to make changes.
If you are interested in discovering what your values are and ensuring they get the time and space in your life that you need, you might be interested in my new values programme. In four online and Skype sessions you will discover your core values, assess how well you are currently expressing them, identify any problem areas, and develop an action plan to make the changes you need to make. To support you in sticking to your action plan I’ll also provide you with an ongoing assignment to help you succeed.
If they’re important to you, they should be getting your time and attention. Are they…?