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Heart-led goal setting: self compassion

heart-led goal setting, compassion, love, connection, wants, desires, feelings, emotions, self-care, self-love, love of self, love of others, creativity, thoughts, analysis, rational, critical, analytical, courageous, motivated, motivation, movement

And suddenly, in a flash, 2018 is ending & 2019 is upon us. I spent the first 15 days of December on Facebook talking about how to take your heart’s desires & convert them into heart-led goals. And the reason that I took 15 days to talk about this – not one hour – is that I think the topic is simply profound.  Yes, it’s profoundly simple. But it’s simply profound.  I don’t believe we are served by being ruled by our emotions.

However, if you want to live without regrets, then you need to live the best version of yourself.

NOW.

You can’t live a lie. You have to follow your heart.
– Paul Weller

Not some pipe-dream in the future of who you will become. But rather the person that you are – here and now. And the best version of you is the one that practices self-compassion. The person that lives connected, deeply & truly, with him/herself and others.  The person that consistently shows compassion to him/herself and others.

“Don’t think too much, you’ll think your whole life away. Just stop, close your eyes, and follow your heart. I guarantee you, it knows the way.” AnonymousSo often, we think that there is a battle between the heart and the mind. There is no need for any battle.  You have everything you need within you. If you are truly heart-led, there is no need for battle, because you completely understand the need to use your logical & rational mind in your decision-making to reach the best possible decision for yourself.

When you stop confusing passion and purpose with attainment – being with having – you stop seeking purpose in the outside world.  Then, you allow yourself to be guided deeply by inner purpose.  Just remember, that inner purpose may show up as being a multipotentialite – a hummingbird – not simply a singular purpose & passion.

The challenges of heart-led goals

Many of us, as I said already, confuse heart-led with “ruled by your emotions”. This is not what heart-led refers to.


Being lead by your heart is not about jumping from one project to the next, succumbing to emotion after emotion, or failing to include thought in the process of setting your goals.

Heart-led goals will consider the obstacles & challenges that need to be faced – understanding that there will be moments it will be hard.  There will be sacrifices to be made.  You may have to choose between better and best – and sometimes that choice will not be clear.

Heart-led does not mean to throw caution to the wind – because that’s not how you tap into the wisdom of your multiple brains.

Better than just head-based decision-making

 

Most of us have learnt to decide with our head brain – “the mind”. We look at our goals – envisioning, planning – breaking it all down into bite-sized pieces to execute. Then, we meticulously organise our time & energy.  We set priorities regularly.

But many times, these goals leave us feeling empty – as we are consistently and constantly living in the future, not actually in the present moment.

Because of the emptiness, we start to push ourselves hard – becoming more determined.

“Don’t let the mind tell your heart what to do. Your mind gives up much too easily.” AnonymousBut all this living in our heads – leaves us feeling unhappy & unfulfilled.  When we stop to ask ourselves “What really matters?” we feel that we have let ourselves down.

Your head is full of judgement. Over-thinking.

Your heart, on the other hand, can feel compassion & love.  For yourself. For others.   And that compassion allows us to feel, to forgive and cut ourselves a little slack.

Nevertheless, there is a challenge of aligning your over-all purpose with the actions that you take.  With consistently acting in a way that reflects those priorities.  When your actions are not aligned with that purpose, despair and stress set it.  Then we start to overthink and prioritise the wrong goals.  We feel stuck.  And we lack the courage to move forward. Many times, it feels like we cannot tap deep within to reach that courage.

But what about my needs?

One of your concerns about allowing heart-led goal setting may be that your mind thinks it needs to override your heart in order to take care of your needs.  And yes, your needs should be taken into account.  But, if you are truly lead by your heart – acting with self-compassion, not just ruled by your emotions – you will truly consider your needs.

And while you may have a need for security, when you listen to your heart (and even your mind), you realise that you are not truly comfortable in your comfort zone.  You have simply gotten used to the discomfort.

Better the devil you know.

Your heart knows when you are stuck in a comfort zone – uncomfortably comfortable, so to speak. You may feel repulsion or rejection in your gut. Or perhaps you’ve lost the fire in your belly.  Sometimes, you simply are feeling anxiety or a constriction in your throat.  In any case, you get used to living with this discomfort, of things being slightly off – because you have learned to feel secure in this place.  You know what to expect – even if it’s not really all that great.

The fear of the unknown is much greater than the fear of staying.

But is this who I really am?

“Following all the rules leaves a completed checklist, following your heart achieves a completed you.” Ray Davis

As you sit in that fear of the unknown – acknowledging the discomfort of the comfort zone you have created – as yourself this:

What matters the most to me?

Does the safety offered by your comfort zone truly outweigh the value of your heart-led dreams?

Ask yourself: “Are my actions aligned with my inner values?  Do I outwardly reflect – through what I am doing – who I am?”

When you outwardly reflect your inner values – respect grows.  Each time you fail to act in alignment with your values, you lose a little piece of self-respect. You feel disheartened. Life no longer inspires.

“When you follow the dream in your heart, you’re energized, inspired, and motivated.”
Dr. John F. Demartini

Are you feeling defrauded? Are you left with a completed checklist, rather than a completed you?

So, how do you set heart-led goals that are rational?

Create with the heart,
Build with the mind.
–Criss Jami–

Know that you possess, within yourself, an intelligence greater than simply your mind!

heart-led, goal setting, dreams, goals, coach, coaching, life-coach, life of my dreams, follow my heart, lead by the heart, heart led, visualization, visualisation, imagine, imagination, problem-solving, decision-making, happiness, satisfied, fulfilledYour inner wisdom – that which appears when you listen to your heart and then build upon that with all the resources of your mind – is a beautiful thing to explore! It appears when you follow your heart, and then ask your mind to put at this dreams & desires disposal the following amazing abilities & possibilities:

  • creating solutions
  • creating possibilities & opportunities
  • listening to the voice of the inner critic – tempering with self-compassion
  • identifying the obstacles
  • clearing the fears
  • listing your resources & abilities and
  • analysing methods & plans.

You have all of that within you.

Even more than this, you have the still small voice within that guarantees your safety & security, if you would simply tap into your deep identity of self.  Then – you will find that perfect balance between a human being and a human becoming.  A place of satisfaction that you are on the way to becoming who you dream of, while you are being the best version of yourself today.

The only person that holds the perfect solution for you – is YOU.

It already lies within you  – simply waiting to be discovered.

 

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SMART Goals: transforming dreams

smart goals, SMART, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound, trackable, dreams, intentions, planning, obstacles, resources

Many of us wait until the scramble of December 31st or the ease of the day on January 1st to work on our plans for the new Year.  Is that really smart?

Don’t settle just for a New Year’s resolution heading into 2019.  Your intentions should be so much more than simply

“Out of sight – out of mind.”

Play it smart!

As part of my December inspiration – 12 days designing 2019 Facebook Live Series – I talked about smart goals – those that you establish using the simple acronym S.M.A.R.T. Most people understand this to mean:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

And that’s all fine and good. But I would like to suggest that if that’s ALL that your goals are, then you haven’t dreamed big enough! Dare to make it difficult – to dream big!

If your dream or intention was easy – you would already have achieved it! If you already knew everything you needed to know – you would be there.

SMART goals, smart, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound, significant, stretching, synergy, meaningful, motivation, action-oriented, relevant, rewarding, results-oriented, tangible, trackableBHAG

When you are truly in touch with your heart, and you’ve given ear to your heart’s desires – when you’ve asked yourself “What do I want?” – you discover that this is a BHAG.

  • Big
  • Hairy
  • Audacious
  • Goal

So, I invite you to understand smart goals as being much more significant, meaningful, action-packed, relevant & tangible than a simple SMART goal. Achievable & realistic should not diminish your intentions. Don’t take outstanding and make it into mediocre, just because you asked yourself if it was “realistic”.

What does it take to turn a dream into a goal? In order to turn a dream into a goal, you need to dive into the details of what & how.  You need to establish mile-markers – how will I know that I am achieving this?  What are the markers that I will notice on the way?

If your aim is to get fit, you might establish a goal of running a 10km race on May 15th.  Your mile-markers might well be running two 5km races in March & April, as you prepare yourself physically and mentally for this new challenge.

If your S.M.A.R.T. goal is to have a better relationship with your kids, perhaps ask yourself:

  • how many times will you have one-on-one time with each child each week or month?
  • Where will you go?
  • What activities does each kid like to do?
  • What family outings might they enjoy doing together?
  • How will you know that you are effectively building a better relationship with your children? What will you feel? What will they demonstrate?

Write it up!

Take the time to write them down.

Clearly define “why”.  Find your “why” in your heart – what you truly desire. How do you want to feel in 2019?  How would you like to connect with yourself, your dreams, and others?  This why should clearly satisfy your deepest hungering and your needs.

The purpose of writing down your goals should also answer – which of these are achievable in the short term, mid-term & long term?  Long-term goals are not achieved in a month: so break it down into actionable steps. What achievements (mile-markers) are you aiming for each month along the way?

Plan it out – all the steps – otherwise, if you fail to plan, you will undoubtedly fail. Not just the ultimate goal – the process of getting there.  You might find yourself following a completely different plan – once you actually start taking steps along the way.  The plan the change. Circumstances will, no doubt, change.  But your ultimate goal – the “why” – will not vary.

But at the very beginning – it’s a very healthy exercise to write up – the goal, the strategy and the process of getting there.  You will learn so much about yourself, your fears & limiting beliefs, the potential obstacles you will encounter, and the resources you will need along the way.  This ensures greater success!

Buddy up!

All of that is not enough without taking appropriate action and following through.  Who will hold you accountable for completing your goals? Do you have a buddy or someone to talk to in case you lose focus or start to fail to follow through?

Situations & events will arise.  You will inevitably start to focus on putting our fires or dealing with day-to-day issues – getting lost in the trees and failing to see the big-picture of the forest.  Who is the person that will pull you out and remind you of the bigger picture?  Who will ask you the pertinent questions that will enable you to see that what you are working on today is leading you to achieve the year-long goal?  You need that person.  The one that ensures your consistent follow-through.

I am sure that your goal for 2019 is not “I want to be busy“.  So why don’t you get busy deciding what you will give importance to in 2019!

Be thoughtful.

Ensure there is clarity.

Make sure those intentions matter.

 

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Uncomfortably comfortable?

How long before comfortable becomes uncomfortable, uncomfortably comfortable, resourceful, unresourceful, emotions, feelings, positive, negative, good, bad, labels, process, processing, feeling, emotion, energy in motion

Imagine yourself with this beautiful view of the ocean, and like the girl in the picture, you’ve found yourself a comfortable place to sit on the rocks to admire the view.  And so, for a moment, you sit. In silence. Enjoying the moment.

But at what moment does this comfortable spot on the rocks begin to get uncomfortable?

Are you ready to thrive beyond your comfort zone? Has your comfort zone gotten sufficiently uncomfortable? Have you been sitting there fore long enough that you need to move? Do you start to notice your legs first, or perhaps your back where you are leaning against the rocks? Maybe it’s simply the back of your heel, where your foot rubs a sharp piece of rock or roots.

When do you decide that this perfect view and comfortable spot is now uncomfortable, and that it’s time to stand up and move on?

You know that you cannot stay sitting here, admiring the view -however wonderful- forever.  Some days it might rain.  The sun might become scorching hot. The nights might be bitterly cold.

As beautiful and comfortable as this spot is for a moment to enjoy the view, that moment is fleeting and gone, and it’s time to move on.

So it is with your comfort zone – that place you sit after a victory and achievement.  When you have reached a level of mastery.

Your comfort zone

Don’t get me wrong – I think that a comfort zone is a great thing to have! It’s a place of security and rest – a place where you are not exhausted or on edge.  There is a level of mastery that comes from performing within your comfort zone.

The problems arise when you are constantly within your comfort zone, and you are not working on expanding that arena!

If you live long enough, you'll see that every victory turns into a defeat. Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir expressed this as:

If you live long enough, you’ll see that every victory turns into a defeat.

We need only look at history to see how empires rise & fall.

How great athletes either keep training and improving, or how another comes along and breaks their record!

Temptation

There is a temptation to rest on our laurels.

I finally made it – I’m here!

But if we stay too long in the same position, our muscles will start to atrophy.  And then we need to ask ourselves – am I still on the top of my game?

Am I innovating in my business – moving with the changing climate & conditions?

At any time, there is the temptation to think we’ve done enough.  But is the reading, growth and studies that you are doing keeping you ahead of the changes & innovations of your field of expertise?

Do these “upgrades” allow you to create something new? Are you continuing to expand your horizons and the size of your comfort zone?

Or have you allowed yourself to get stuck in a rut?

It’s possible to get stuck in a rut and not even notice it – you are busy checking off your to-do list, but not really getting ahead.  You are stuck in “busy”, with days just blurring into each other!

Free time? What for? I totally don’t want to do anything.  What is there to look forward to?  And so you become a person that is stressed, tired and unfulfilled.

Are you going to stay uncomfortably comfortable in your rut? Or will you make the effort to get out?  Are you stuck in your daily routine – that was helpful, but is now a rut? What changes do you need to make in your routine, so that you return to growth and progress?

I am a work in progress

Every one of us is a continual work in progress – it doesn’t matter if we are 8 or 80.  If we are not living & developing, we are withering.   It doesn’t matter how big or how old the sequoia is in the forest – if it stops growing, it is dying!

Like a lobster, we need to be continually shedding our skin so that we can continue to grow!  Are you continually uncluttering your life and letting go of your old view of yourself?

Perhaps you’ve put off your own well-being – “I’m too busy”.  Resigned to this fate – the current situation.  Have you pushed your goals & dreams away, because you just need to take care of the day-to-day?

Or perhaps you grew fearful of taking risks?  You’ve made mistakes in the past and paid for them dearly, and now you would rather just stay in your comfort zone.  With fear obscuring the clarity of view – you no longer know what you really want, so there’s nothing to strive for.

Fear can be compass

Like any other emotion – fear can be resourceful or unresourceful.  How will I choose to use my fear?  Will I allow it to be a compass that shows me what I hold dear? What is important to me?

Fear allows us to identify what we need to work on in our lives – it tells us “walk through here”. Even though we want to avoid it.  Fear tells us “this is important to me”. So yes, it is uncomfortable!

But the only way through, is through it!  You will have to move – face the fear.  That’s the moment to stop sabotaging yourself, and seek to confront fear.

We all know that it takes time and effort to effect change – do it anyways.  Expand that comfort zone – so that it includes something new.  So that your reach is wider than it was before.

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

How many times will you face regret? I could have. I should have. I would have…

Stop shoulding yourself!

Should sounds like obligation – as if you had no choice.  But you do have choices – a choice to stay there, uncomfortably comfortable, or a choice to move beyond your comfort zone into the unknown.

Is it time to take control and stop allowing should to drive your life?

Every day is ChooseDay - how uncomfortable will you choose to get before you move?  When the time comes for you to make a change or to grow, the universe will make you so uncomfortable you will eventually have no choice.
–Iyanla Vanzant–

Maybe it’s time to envision –

What do I want?

It’s time to focus – what do I want to do?

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
                                                                                               — Marcus Aurelius

And then with that clarity – plan and organise, then take action.  In order to overcome what is holding you back, it only takes one small step at a time in a new direction.

Time spent focusing on things that you cannot change comes at the expense of the things that you can actually change and control.  Focusing our energy — emotional, spiritual, mental — on the things that we cannot control is ultimately a waste of resources and a losing battle.

Uncomfortably Comfortable

position, choose, move, comfortable, uncomfortable, seated, victoryIf your leg went to sleep while you were sitting down, you would simply get up and move around and shake it until it was completely awake and all the blood had come back to all nerves and movement was fluid once more.

Why would you not do this with your life?

Just because you were once comfortable in the place you are now, if it has become uncomfortable, it’s time to get moving! Start shaking things up!

Support moving forward

Start by looking at who is supporting you? Have you got the right network of people that will ask you the questions to get you focused on your next move?

Have you got clarity on what you want? How to plan & organise this move? What actions will be most effective in moving forward?

Which members of your family or friends can provide you with support and help as you move through this? Do you have a mentor or coach that will ask you the right questions?  Do you have a professional adviser to turn to when you lack information?

What is the next level you need to move up to in your life – personally, professionally, emotionally, or physically?

Don’t accept that just because you are uncomfortably comfortable that you have to stay where you are.  If the sun is setting and it’s starting to get cold, maybe it’s time to stand up and find a new place to rest.

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What’s missing? mBraining Integration

What's missing? mBraining integration, lead from the heart, create options & solutions, listen to your needs & instinct

I started off last week thinking about “what’s missing in my life?” – in the sense of what’s missing when I feel unmotivated? When I am “stuck” and failing to move forward – what have I overlooked?

Or what might be missing if I feel unable to make a “good” choice?  When I am not taking care of my well-being – why do I forget to put on my oxygen mask first?  Or when I am struggling with gratitude, what do I need to do?

How can I do a better job at following through?

What should I focus on when I want to have fun? And where should I look when I want to connect with my soul?  what's missing, mbraining, integration, alignment, motivation, choose, wellness, gratitude, follow through, fun, spiritual, grounded

And, in every case, I can come back to the lack of integration or alignment between my multiple brains!

Multiple Brains

What do I mean by multiple brains?

I mean the neural networks that exist within your body. Intelligence centers.  They are “complex, adaptive neurons and interconnections between the neurons, with support (glial) cells”.  A “brain” has its own memory and can adapt from within (neuroplasticity). It is much more complex than simply a group of neurons (nerve cells).  In this sense, both the heart and gut have their own brains – independent in some respects from the head brain.

The “gut brain”

Some scientists refer to our gut (enteric neural network) as the “second brain”.  It comprises some 100 million neurons – more than the spinal cord. This is not a thinking brain—it does not reason, balance your checkbook, compose a love note or solve multi-linear regressions. Conscious thoughts or decision-making are unnoticeable. But it responds and reacts to situations – “a gut feeling”, focusing on “self-preservation” as well as your security (immune system).  Without a doubt, this “enteric brain” in your belly goes far beyond just processing the food you eat, creating hormones and controlling your immune responses!

Your gut brain – this neural network in your innards – in connection with the big one in your skull – determines mental states.  It also plays a key role regarding certain diseases throughout the body.  Did you know – for example – that about 90 percent of the fibers in your vagus nerve (largest & longest nerve that runs between the brain and the gut) carries information to the brain?  Only 10% of the fibers in the vagus nerve bring instructions back from the brain to the gut!

The “heart brain”

Similarly, the heart brain (cardiac neural network) is a network of several types of neurons, neurotransmitters, proteins and support cells. It acts independently of the cranial brain – to learn, remember and even feel and sense.  As it interacts with our thoughts and actions, changes in emotions are accompanied by predictable changes in the heart rate, blood pressure & respiration.

So, while there is general acceptance that there are these three brains: head, heart & gut – there are also complex neural networks throughout the body that may influence us in ways that science is still understanding.  We are in no way saying that these brains stand alone.  The body is a complex, integrated whole. Nonetheless, the level of autonomy of these specified brains is much greater than previously thought.

These “brains”

Your three primary “brains” each have their own specific functions and purposes:

HEART BRAIN PRIME FUNCTIONS

  • EMOTING – emotional processing (e.g. anger, grief, hatred, joy, happiness etc.)
  • VALUES – processing what’s important to you and your priorities (and its relationship to the emotional strength of your aspirations, dreams, desires, etc.)
  • RELATIONAL AFFECT – your felt connection with others (e.g. feelings of love/hate/indifference, compassion/uncaring, like/dislike, etc.)

GUT BRAIN PRIME FUNCTIONS

  • CORE IDENTITY – a deep and visceral sense of core self, and determining at the deepest levels what is ‘self’ versus ‘not-self
  • SELF-PRESERVATION – protection of self, safety, boundaries, hungers and aversions
  • MOBILIZATION – motility, impulse for action, gutsy courage and the will to act

HEAD BRAIN PRIME FUNCTIONS

  • COGNITIVE PERCEPTION – cognition, perception, pattern recognition, etc.
  • THINKING – reasoning, abstraction, analysis, synthesis, meta-cognition etc.
  • MAKING MEANING – semantic processing, languaging, narrative, metaphor, etc.

How we speak about our brain functions

Think, for a moment, about the way our language reflects this “ancient wisdom”:

Language of the Head Brain (the home of cognitive perception, making meaning and thinking things through)

‘I have got to think this through’
‘I don’t understand’
‘How I see it is’
‘I can’t get it out of my head’

The language of the Heart Brain (the home of emotions, values and relating to others)
‘My heart is not in this’
‘She wears her heart on her sleeve’
‘I was heart broken’

The language of the Gut Brain (the home of self preservation, identity and motivation)
‘Trust your gut’
‘I have got butterflies in my stomach’
‘I haven’t got the guts to do it’

lead from the heart, life is sweeter, leading from the heart, heeding, logic, analysis, gut instinct, lead with compassion, create solutions, options, visualize, identify with, move forward, alignmentSo what’s missing?

So, when we are lacking motivation – what’s missing? Typically, what’s missing is “movement”, which lies within our gut.  You lack “the guts” to move forward consistently.  Many times, we are driven by our passion and our desires, but our heart can be frivolous and when the going gets tough, the heart gives up easily.  The gut, on the other hand, holds our “long game”.

But, your gut also has to be convinced that this option offers the most safety and security.  It will accept a short-term risk for a long-term gain – but part of your gut’s role is “self-preservation”.  So, when your heart gets all excited about doing something new and is passionate about making a change in your life – taking you outside of your comfort zone – your gut is probably the one that’s saying “I need safety”.

We will not be moving forward on this project until I am convinced that this is safe.

When was the last time you had a conversation with your gut? Specifically took a moment to sit in silence and listen to your gut?  To digest the deep knowing and wisdom that is held there?

Does your head brain take the time (because the gut takes time to digest as well as to communicate) to actually listen to what the gut has to say? Can you calm the monkey mind for long enough to give your gut a voice?

Leading from the heart

For us to feel fulfilled and satisfied, however, our heart needs to be completely involved – it’s no good to just not listen to our feelings & simply wait on our gut! Because our gut will always choose safety over fun or passion!  Your gut may not trust your heart – because your heart never takes the time to listen to caution.

At the same time, if we are all logical and analytical – others may ask “where’s your heart?”.  In the same way, we can make ourselves miserable if we only pay attention to our thoughts, ignoring our feelings because we don’t want to be seen as soft or wearing our hearts on our sleeves!  Are your thoughts simply running wild on you? Or perhaps your inner critic just won’t even take a breath and be quiet for long enough for you to sit in the quiet silence to listen.

When we lead from the heart, life is sweeter!
The difficulty lies in leading from the heart,
while listening to the logic and analysis from your head
and following your gut instinct.

Communication between our brains

Most of us suffer from the overwhelm of thoughts and/or feelings. Our head floods us with thoughts, fears & criticism.  Our heart floods our thinking with emotions.  And our gut stubbornly digs its heels in and refuses to budge!

How do you move past this impasse?

When you begin to understand how each brain works – the language it uses, the time & space that it works best in, the trust it requires in order to speak up and be heard by the other intelligence centers… THEN you can start to make experience the highest expression of each intelligence center.

There’s no point in asking your heart to be rational.  That’s not it’s job!

Don’t ask your gut to analyse a problem and brain-storm solutions – that’s the head’s role!

But if you would just take a moment, daily, to listen to the collective wisdom… of establishing a space where each intelligence center got to have its say… and asked each other intelligence center to listen… you might be amazed with the new solutions – better solutions – highest expressions of wisdom, that you might come up with.

It takes patience and practice to achieve this – a change of habits and way of “thinking”.  You have to “rethink” your entire decision-making process – but the long-term benefits? Immeasurable.

How different would your life be if you  were sure with each decision you took that you had considered all factors that for YOU were important – compassion & connection with others (your self-care as well as caring for others), your most creative options & solutions, and that this was really the best choice for YOU?

Wouldn’t this be worth learning to do things differently?

 

 

 

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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 which 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 can have moving 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 a cognitive dissonance in our life.  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 to 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.

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.

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?

 

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