Know Thy Values

In my travels I get the chance to meet many people—some of whom I engage with in some deep conversations.  One such encounter back in July with a guy I met in Boston had turned into a few emails back and forth about life and such.  Well, this week I was back in Boston and bumped into this guy again.  We had a nice dinner together and again picked up where we left off in our conversation.  He’d read the copy of Back From Heaven’s Front Porch that I’d given him and is intrigued by the jckrbbt principles.

As we talked, our focus settled on one area of the jckrbbt principle, know thyself, our values.  We had a great discussion about how we are not happy, fulfilled, smiling easy, and peaceful when our life and its actions are not in line with our values.   So we began to share with one another the values that are important to us at this time in our lives.  I drew them on a piece of paper and included it in the photo in this blog—take a look.  As you might be thinking, many of our values are established early in our life and don’t change.  Often they are values like TRUTH, HONESTY, FAMILY, and FAITH/SPIRITUALITY.  This is not to say that we sometimes operate in such a way that is in opposition to these.  Then it’s often time to course correct…or deal with some nasty consequences.

Other values like FINANCIAL SECURITY, FUN, and CAREER may be stronger or weaker at different stages of our lives.  What might be a good exercise is for you to write down the values that are important to you at this stage of your life.  Then I’d encourage you to rate them 1-10 in terms of how your life and actions are in line with each value.  A 10 means you are very much in line with the value, while a score lower score suggests you may have an opportunity to shift some beliefs you have so as to take different actions to come into line with that value, and likely increase your level of happiness.

Another good friend and I had a recent talk about this same topic.  What we talked about is the dilemma that comes up for many of us when a choice they make positively impacts one value, while negatively impacting another.   This is not easy work to do here, friends.  As I reflect on many of my coaching clients I recall a few examples:

  • A young mother has a great job with tremendous income, potential and demands. This is good for her values of SECURITY, CAREER, and ACHIEVEMENT.  However, she is way from her husband and two young sons a great deal…having a negative impact on her values of FAMILY and COMMITMENT.  We had some great discussions and she decided to leave the company and create a life that lined up more to the values of FAMILY and COMMITMENT, as she deemed them stronger and more vital for her at this time in her life.
  • Many have shared with me how they were in their relationship and honoring their values of COMMITMENT, FAMILY and CAREER, but felt as though their value of PASSION/INTIMACY was low on the 1-10 scale.  Their work was to consider which values were more important to them at this point in their life, and to consider the consequences of moving away from some values into others.  Remember, we always have a choice; it’s just that they come with consequences.

So, consider you values…which ones are you living into?  Where might you evolve in your beliefs and behaviors to strengthen some others?  It’s always good to put some energy into this when we feel a bit “off”.

Be well