First Steps to Bringing the Real You to Work
You may be familiar with Values and how important they are, and you may feel like you know your values already… but have you written them down?
There are three main components in my Values process: Purpose, Values and Goals. They all work together and they each have an important part to play. Goals are time limited and result orientated, and are like the rudder on a sail boat. Goals allow you to choose a direction and set a time to get there.
The reason you need to know your Values and your Purpose is because Goals can take you in any direction, just like the wind blows a sail boat. Many people work hard to achieve a goal, only to feel disappointed and empty on completion.
When you are clear on your true Values, and you know your Purpose, you can set Goals that are meaningful that move you forward in your life and your business.
Values are often unconscious but can be brought to consciousness, and having worked with thousands of people over the years, I discovered a concrete connection between knowing your values and the quality of your life and work.
Many people assume that they know their Values, but they don’t understand the significance of being congruent with them.
Even though the concept of knowing your values is quite common, I have found that many people either pay lip service to the process or gloss over it to get to the next “more important” piece.
My client David was working with a company but wasn’t enjoying it. He stayed because it provided a moderate income, security and health benefits. But he hated going to work every day. He was eventually lured away to another company only to discover that the Values of this company didn’t fit with his. As a result he lost confidence in his own ability to do business.
When I took him through my Values Process he realised that it was not in fact business sense that he lacked, but it was that he committed himself to work with people who’s Values were completely different from his. And now, years later he owns his own company which embodies all of his important values. He has an International company which allows him to travel and spend time with his family.
I am writing about Values because I believe that knowing what they are is essential to having the life you dream of. And even though this is a massive topic – I hope that some things will resonate with you.
What are Values?
Values are what’s important to you in your life. Values are what motivate you. All of your motivation and drive is based on the things in life that you value, that are important to you.
Some examples of Values are: Fun – Choice – Wealth – Peace – Honesty – Trust – Growth – Loyalty – Family – Respect – Health – Love – Making a Difference – Safety and Balance.
I believe that knowing what your Values are is essential to you. Values are based on your life experience, and they evolve as you grow. They also change contextually.
When I was a performance coach in the corporate sector, the standard practice for the client was to rattle out a list of values that they thought they “should” have.
I was the only coach on the team who took the time and effort to uncover my client’s true values – which were always different from their regurgitated list.
By way of example My client Stuart was a senior manager with a well known insurance company in London. His highest values were Honesty (telling the truth to others),Integrity(being true to oneself)and Family.
The company were advertising on television that their customer service calls would always be answered by someone in the UK. However, Stuart was charged with setting up their first call centre in India, which meant he was often away from his pregnant wife for weeks at a time.
He had to compromise his integrity for the sake of his family (another top value) which made him ill. And three weeks before his wife gave birth he suffered an angina attack at 40 years of age.
Even if not being true to your values isn’t affecting your health, it can affect your performance at work.
This is how essential it is to live your values, and Stuart was stuck – he couldn’t leave with a baby on the way, but his Values were in conflict with his employer’s.
People who don’t know their values are even more vulnerable to having to sacrifice in order to achieve success. And this is often a hollow victory because it can lead to feeling like something vital is missing no matter how successful they are.
Since your values evolve as you learn and grow, I believe it’s essential to revisit what’s important to you. When you know your values you can derive your purpose from them.
A purpose is different from a goal because a purpose is ongoing and can be used to measure the value of goals to ensure they are relevant and actually moving you forward. Your values are like the building blocks and your purpose is the design of how they fit together. Goals are then steps forward in your purpose.
So even though you may have considered your Values before… here is a simple, bare bones exercise that you can do to get you started.
Make a list of what’s important to you, list as many Values as you can think of.
Write down things that are already present, as well as important things that you feel are missing.
Now prioritise your values, starting with the Value that seems most essential and measure the next one against it. If the next one is even a tiny bit more important it goes above the first one, and you work though all of the Values on your list.
The exercise to this point is often enough to stimulate some new thinking, however, there is much more… Sometimes when the list is complete and in order of importance, you may discover some surprises such as conflicting values.
For example, success is often a high value in business, and freedom is also near the top of most people’s lists. As business becomes more successful it demands more time, (often a high Value), which can feel like a loss of freedom.
Success can take freedom away with the burden of responsibility. The more successful something is, the more effort it requires.
I’ve had clients who were afraid to be successful because they’d lose control of their lives. This can create an “Either/Or” situation, but once resolved they can have it all!
This is where a good coach comes in handy to debrief with in order to explain why your values are in the order that they are. I use this time to help my clients dig deeper so that they eliminate conflicts and gain clarity on what they really want. This can often lead to insights and many “aha’s” that you might not uncover without expert help.
In business, when you know what your values are, you can clarify your brand’s purpose – which is ongoing and allows you to set goals that are relevant, powerful and congruent, advancing your business in the right direction.
When your values match your purpose they are congruent rather than conflicting. When your Brand is congruent with your Values you will experience passion and flow. And your whole life gets easier and more satisfying.