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Values & priorities: why identify them?

values, values elicitation, priorities, heart, connection, connected, thriving, compassion, courage, creativity, divine, alignment, connection

Yesterday I supervised a coaching session where the trainee coach was working with a “client” to identify their values. And I realised that for myself, it was really important to re-examine this area of my life, which I took time doing this afternoon!  I recognised that as life changes, so had my priorities!!

I wanted to share two things with you:

  1. The purpose of core values elicitation.  Why do coaches spend time eliciting their clients’ values?  What’s the purpose and “value” in doing this?
  2. My core values and how I define them: what do they mean to me?

The purpose of this exercise:

Values are words that embody what is important to us, answering the question “What do I value most in my life?”. My favourite definition is:

Values are the qualities of a life lived fully from the inside out. 

They are my personal rules & standards – even if they are complex and intangible higher-level functions.  Often they reflect my beliefs about what is good and bad, right and wrong.  In the same way, they guide our every decision and the satisfaction or violation of them can produce strong emotional reactions.

Tony Robbins says values “are like a compass that directs your life”. They motivate and demotivate – and they justify behaviour. Often, they refer to emotional states:

  • happy
  • satisfied
  • successful
  • compassionate
  • loving
  • fulfilled

What do you want to feel or see reflected in the results in your life?  Our core values apply to all of life – not simply just one aspect (career, professional, family or fun).  We move towards values which, when satisfied, bring us pleasure and moving away from values which attempt to keep us from feeling pain. For example – we move away from illness, but it’s possible that “healthy & whole” is not a core value.  We don’t want to feel sick, but we fail to prioritize well-being.  We may want to avoid “feeling trapped”, yet we fail to prioritize freedom of choice.


Why identify our values?

These are our “must-haves” in life – because when we live according to what we most value, we can see that this is the supporting framework for our beliefs. When our choices are aligned, we feel there is congruence – “life is good” – and we are fulfilled. If we fail to live up to this standard, we may feel angry, fearful or sad.

When we are not living up to our values, we experience feelings of conflict.  We get uncomfortable – because there is cognitive dissonance in our lives.  We say that we value X, but our decisions and actions are failing to prioritize that.  The big question we have to ask is:

Is what I am doing – the decisions I am taking – in alignment with who I really am?

When we have alignment, we take congruent actions towards our values, we are motivated into action.  Then decisions are easier to make.

Similarly, once we know what we want, we can compare our reasons and excuses against them – is this really how I want to define myself and my life?

Conflict & priorities

Similarly, it is often useful to prioritize our values – to know which is the most important for us? If I have to choose between A or B – which do I hold to be the highest?  How will I choose to be “true to myself”?

It is also important to be clear on the definition and meaning that I give to a particular value, and understand any changes that this may suffer over time.  Life happens – our values and priorities change. For example, it may not be important for us to spend a lot of time with our family until someone gets ill.  Suddenly we recognise the importance of that aspect of our lives.

how do I want to spend my time, how important is family and friends

When we are clear on our values, we can more easily prioritize – how will I choose to invest my time?  What are the results that I am looking to achieve in deciding this way?

Of course, all of this requires that we stop, pause and consider – not simply rushing in to make a decision without great contemplation.

My core values

As I mentioned above, I also wanted to share my core values and how I define them – what do they mean to me?  As an mBIT coach, I believe it’s important to start from the heart, and yet align my head and gut in the exercise, and I want to use my values to demonstrate this to you.

  • Heart – what do I hold most important? What do I value in my life? How do I want to feel?
  • Head – how do I define these values? What do they mean to me? How do I visualize them playing out in my life?
  • Gut – Do I identify with these values? Are they me? Do they motivate me to take action? Do I feel secure within them?

So, I started off just with a brain-storming of values and ideas, which I took in part from the passion test that I did earlier this year. This passion test starts with – my life is ideal when I am… and identifies five things that I want to ensure that are in my life and that I am consistently working towards!  Values are very similar to this – because when I am living according to these ways of being – I am satisfied and happy!

In spite of being quite messy – this is what it looked like at the end of a first draft:  values, brainstorming, brain dump, I am

What I ended up with is:

I am thriving when I am divine, aligned, creative, courageous & connected.

I am more than I appear to be. I am compassionate, creative and courageous - building the life of my dreams!What does this mean to me?

Well – thriving means that

  • I am reaching my full potential, complete, secure & abundant
  • worthy, recognised, accomplished, able
  • blissful, ecstatic, happy, exhilarated, fabulous
  • growing, healthy, radiant, self-aware, ageless
  • grateful, generous, and charitable.

Divine, for me, includes the following ideas:

  • truth speaker & soothsayer
  • dignified, pure, beautiful, enchanting, elegant, & radiant
  • kind & adorable
  • unpredictable, free, spontaneous
  • light-hearted, carefree, playful & funny
  • weightless, independent & adventurous
  • independent

My spiritual life and identity is a major part of who I am – and it is only when I acknowledge that I am a spiritual person that I feel complete.  This is tied, very closely with being aligned, grounded & rooted.

I am aligned when I am

  • grounded, spiritual, & rooted – which means that I am trusting, energized & loved
  • empowered, connected & of service to others
  • authentic, honest & acting with integrity
  • motivated, passionate, orderly & disciplined
  • clear, committed, & persevering
  • generating achievement, results, success & excellence

When I am aligned, I am working fully with my connectedness, creativity & courage.

When I am connected, I show up in life:

  • supported, friendship & tribally-connected – with a sisterhood
  • accountable
  • accepting, tolerant, open, nurturing
  • influential
  • loved & open to intimacy.

I am creative when I recognise that I am

  • wise
  • a master of my craft, well-studied, brilliant, sharp & smart
  • curious, learning, open-minded & self-expressive
  • rational & logical

And I am courageous when I am

  • leader & adventurous
  • strong, fearless & brave
  • athletic, powerful & heroic
  • unstoppable.

Do I identify with these values?

When I look at these definitions and their importance, I recognise how I identify with these values.  They motivate me to move forward – to be more creative, compassionate & courageous in life.  Most important – if when I died I was described as a woman that was thriving – who was spiritually connected with Divine source, and aligned spiritually with creativity, courage and great relationships – what else could I ask for in life?

These values cover my learning & development, my spiritual practices, and life as a parent, daughter & friend. They are reflected on my vision board and in the results of my passion test. They show up in my quarterly goals & my monthly intentions.

Equally important, when I look at my values as a coach: new life, growth, strength & peace – I can see perfectly how these 4 values – representative of the Koru design in my logo – still reflect exactly who I am and the impact that I want to make on clients that I coach!

How do your values impact the way you are living your life today?

a picture-perfect life, enviable, successful, anxious, burnt out, struggling, keeping up appearances, living up to expectations

If you are interested in more information, have a look at the coaching packages that I offer.

9 thoughts on “Values & priorities: why identify them?

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