Recovery Tactic #2- Know Your Internal Drivers!
In my line of work I focus a lot on values. In fact, in my training to become a professional coach, I had to do A LOT of work around values clarity and discovering whether or not I was living in accordance with my true values. What I realized during the process was what I thought were my values were really ‘shoulds’ I inherited or took on because of societal norms, peer pressure, etc. You know, ‘they say’….you should do this, be this, know this. Before you know it, all those shoulds become important to you and you are designing your life accordingly. I could not figure out why things weren’t working for me and why I felt my life was out of balance-even though I was following the shoulds! Well, simply said-I was not following the true ME. Do you find yourself sharing this experience?
So the next question I had to face was; What would happen if I removed all those shoulds in my life? How and where would I discover my own true values? This is where many of us in ‘midlife’ find ourselves-asking the questions that provoke a more conscious awareness of what we are really about. To dive into values clarity, first let me share with you what I learned about values in my coaching school.
A few guidelines on values:
- Values are not morals. There is no sense of morally right or wrong behavior here. Your value of receiving recognition is neither positive nor negative. It is either being honored in your life or not.
- Values are not principles, either, like self-government or a code of moral standards. Values are who we are. When we honor our values, there’s a sense of internal rightness that has nothing to do with morality. It’s as if each value produced its own special tone. When we live our values, the various tones create a unique and blended harmony. When we are not living out our values, there is dissonance. The discord can get so out of tune, so jarring, that it can literally become unhealthy.
- Values are intangible. They are not something we do or have. Money, for example is not a value, although the things you might do with money could be considered values: fun, creativity, peace of mind, service to others.
- Values do not differentiate between your roles or environment-in fact, they tend to be consistent and show up as a pattern both in your tangible and intangible worlds. For example: I value space. I don’t like a cluttered home/office and I don’t like a cluttered mind!
- Values clarification is a process you can visit over and over.
How do you begin the process of values clarification and determining whether it is coming from a ‘should’ in your head or from your authentic self? There are all sorts of creative ways to do this. Here are just a few:
- Our values come out in our stories. Listen to your own stories and stop to ask yourself what is important in this to me?
- Our values show up in our peak moments in life. Become more aware of what made it a peak moment for you. What made it exciting? What was happening around you, with you and to you?
- Our values show up in our frustrations. What are we expecting? What is important in that expectation? What value is there?
- Our values show up in our obsessiveness. As I mentioned, I am an obsessive-compulsive organizer combined with being a person who does not hold onto things. Why is that? What drives me to de-clutterize everything around me? Because I value Space! I don’t need to obsess like I use to because now I give myself plenty of space-I honor the value.
- Our values are wherever we are. When you are feeling great energy, get clear on what is creating that for you. When you feeling low energy, get clear on what is causing that for you and then flip it to find the value.
The key is to identify the value as your true value. Once you start seeing consistency and patterns, you know you are hitting on a core value. Then ask yourself ‘how much are you honoring this core value in your life right now?’ If one of your core values is belonging and you spend ¾ of your day alone-you are probably not very happy! If you shift that by joining some groups, you are honoring your value and bringing balance back into your life.
The more clarity you have on your values, the more opportunity you have to make empowered choices to live in accordance with your values. So, go on a treasure hunt and see what you discover. Whatever it is, remember that these are your true values. They may or may not match the values of people in your life. When you share a common value with someone-then connect! When you don’t share a common value with someone-then grow through the difference. Either way, it is a win-win and brings balance.