Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

What is really important to you?

Posted on 01-4-2019 by Fiona Cosgrove

I often read articles that express ideas in a unique and impactful way, even though the subject matter might not be novel or original. I particularly enjoy work by a (self-professed) dude who goes by the name of Mark Manson and has a best selling book – the title of which I will refrain from naming due to some readers possible sensitivity around the use of profane language. The title of a recent piece by MM might also prevent some people from reading further but, I am going to pass on some of his ideas as I feel this guy knows a fair bit about life!

The article is subtitled, “The Ultimate Guide to Personal Values” and that’s what drew my attention as it seems right now this topic is very top of mind.  In our coaching model, the need to determine a client’s values is essential. In my current research it keeps popping up in interviews and this blog is going to summarise some key points around discovering and living our values!


Key point Number 1: Who do you want to be?

If you want to be a “better person” you must first define what that is. In which direction do you wish to grow?  Many people think they want to be “happier” yet if their values are, let’s say, questionable, feeling better may not be the way to improve their life.

Key point Number 2:  Every minute of the day we choose a value

Every moment of every day we choose what we do, what we focus on, where we spend our energy according to our values.  At the moment we do anything at all, we are placing a value on something.  Whether you read this article, take a cigarette break, go for a run or have sleep, that action is value driven! 

TIME OUT:
I am going to suggest an exercise (which I have personally dream't up) and ask you to spend a whole day reflecting on what you do when, and whether that is living a value that is important to you.  Right down to the detail of the conversations you are having, the comments you make, the way you are spending your time.  This is an interesting stock take of how aligned our life is with the things we deem important.  Because…

Key point Number 3: Our values are constantly reflected in the way we choose to behave.

Often we think and say what we value but never back it up with action.  In other words, our values are ones we wish we had, but actually don’t.  At times our beliefs and ideas get disconnected from our actions and choices.  And to bridge that gap, we have to become delusional about ourselves and the world at large.

Key point Number 4: Values define us.  

When people go off to “find themselves” they are really trying to work out what their values are, or how they might have changed

Key point Number 5:  We need to value something bigger than ourselves 

to give life meaning.  (But on that note, I personally do not life it when someone tries to push their value around something bigger on to me.  I would prefer to define my own “bigger”.)

Key point Number 6: Values are based on experience

We can only create our values based on what we experience.  No one else can tell us what is important.

Key point Number 7: Values can be good or bad – healthy or harmful

As coaches it is not our place to judge whether a client’s values are good or bad, but it heps to understand that health values have three elements:

Healthy values are:
  • Evidenced-based
  • Constructive
  • Controllable

Unhealthy values are:
  • Emotion-based
  • Destructive
  • Uncontrollable

Let’s give an example of the last element. A value that is outside our total control is money.  To a certain extent we can control how much we earn and how we spend it, but there are many events that may occur that may take that money away.  If you lose money and everything you value is about money, you may lose your perceived purpose for living!  And money can have its dark side.  Paying taxes, not knowing who to trust, losing the drive to work can all reveal this value as one that does not bring happiness.

Key point Number 8:  Values can be replaced with new ones

Let’s take money.  Instead of money, perhaps consider the things that money can buy, but that can also be achieved by other means.  Money can buy freedom, but money can lock us into a prison.  What other value could do a better job?  Working at something we find meaningful, helping others, honesty are all things that you can control. They are “abstract” but can be lived.

So let’s all do that exercise I described.   It can be very revealing as to who we are, what we value and how we are living.  

Reference: www. markmanson.net



About the Author - Fiona Cosgrove

Fiona Cosgrove’s 25 years experience as a business owner, a trainer, lecturer, coach and presenter, positions her well to identify and employ the strengths of your staff making your business a pleasure to work in and deal with. 

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