I love talking about values with my clients. Values become the outline to the map of their journey. It helps them see where they are, where they want to go, and what steps to consider along the way. Let’s not forget, similar to a map, there are many ways to get to the same place. Some are fast, some are slow, some are easy, some are hard. Some have nice views and some are behind a smelly garbage truck. We don’t always have the answers, but if we know which way is North, we know in which direction to take the first step.
What are values? They’re the standards of living we hold with the utmost importance. Simply put, when we honor our values (not the ones our families told us are important and not the ones society tells us are important but OURS), we experience happiness and calm. When we’re out of alignment with our values, we experience dissonance and tension in our lives. When our choices match our values, we experience clarity and satisfaction. Many people think their stressors are external to them and out of their control; however, it’s the parts of life that feel “off” that spotlight when we’re not living in alignment with what matters most to us.
My clients and I work through a powerful tool together that helps them become aware of their values – one of many steps to experiencing more success with less stress.
Let me give you an example of this realization in practice (minor details have been changed to protect their identity, and permission was received to share these parts of the session with my audience).
In one of my most recent sessions, a client who’s an executive director of a large company discussed his struggle around his next career move. He felt he’d reached the pinnacle of his career, but with at least 10 more years until his retirement, he wanted to decide what was next for him and he had three potential opportunities to consider.
We spent significant time discussing his values of family, achievement, financial wealth and recognition. Yet, when we dove a little deeper, the values of helping others and leaving a legacy floated to the top as being very important to him.
Then, he had a realization — that everything he’d accomplished professionally was actually a reflection of those values. Even his financial prowess – which he first thought was in pursuit of a financial wealth value – was actually a vehicle for broadening his exposure to impact others. Why? So he could help others and leave a legacy.
His excitement in sharing this with me was apparent. He started leaning forward and giddily explaining his passion for growing talent. We also discovered that he wanted his high-potential, less-tenured employees to experience the same freedom and agency that he’d experienced in his career so far, rather than feeling pushed into roles that didn’t fit their career goals.
And then came the AH HA!.
He wanted to experience those freedoms in the next opportunity he was about to pursue.
And so – he crossed the first option off of the list. It didn’t feel right. It didn’t align with his core values.
The second opportunity was interesting but he wasn’t jumping for joy over it, and now he had a better understanding of why.
The third, he said “gives me jitters”. We spent time discussing this and discovered that his “jitters” were actually excitement and nerves. This feeling made a lot of sense because it would be a BIG role with BIG responsibilities and a LOT of exposure – more than he’d ever had before. But, it aligned to his north star and his top values.
It would broaden his abilities to help others allowing him to impact and nurture MANY more people. It would help him leave a legacy.
He then told me, “I feel like I know which way is North, even though I’m nervous about what that road looks like”.
We agreed to spend our next session working through the fear of taking on this big role. I know he’ll be able to push through that barrier, too.
What is YOUR North Star? How can you empower it to guide each and every decision you make? How do you even know what your North Star really looks like?
Once you discover it (if you haven’t already) and you stay true to those values, your journey goes from slogging through fog to driving in a convertible on an open road with the wind at your back.
I LOVE being a passenger on these journeys with my clients. I call shotgun!
AND – if you’re interested in understanding your values in a digestible way, email me at email@example.com and let me know. I’d be happy to share with you an easy way to get started.
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