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How to make better decisions: are you aligned with your values?

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The more I delve into great decision-making, the more I realise the importance of alignment and self-awareness. If you want to make better decisions: know thyself!

It’s easy to think that a great decision is a choice of the best option available to us: “what do I think this might be?” But great choices take into account so much more than just good ideas.

In the corporate setting: they don’t just get the best immediate result for the bottom line or take into account your financial interests or marketing plan.

To make better decisions, find your compass.

There are many challenges to making great decisions, but some of them can be avoided with the right tools.  Most of the tools I mention are ones you already know. Hopefully, you’ve already done this work. Better yet, you update and view this regularly.  These tools to knowing yourself are values, passions & vision.

If you don’t have some of this work done before you need it, making a great decision in a time of crisis is much harder, requires greater thought, and will need more effort.

to make better decisions, know thyselfWhen, on the other hand, you already know yourself, you bring more emotional intelligence to the decision-making process. Hopefully, before you start, you already have identified and regularly work with your personal (or corporate) values, your passions, your vision, and your goals and dreams.

Any decision should not only meet the criteria of being a great idea that is well thought through but should also fulfil your wants and desires, giving priority to what is truly important to you. Do your decisions reflect the importance of your relationships and connection to others? Finally, to make better decisions, you need to consider your needs, motivations, safety and security, and even your identity.

These tools ensure you are true to yourself in every decision you make. They allow you to live in authenticity and alignment.

There are three words that I want you to keep in mind as you look at your personal alignment and great decision-making:

  1. compassion
  2. creativity, and
  3. courage

compassion, creativity, courage, how to make better decisions with alignment

The challenges of decision-making:

Finding balance

There are many challenges in decision-making. One that we often overlook is that we focus exclusively on the decision before us, rather than recognising that it’s not just about this one issue. What might look like a potentially small decision will ripple through our life.

If you say “yes” to this – what are you saying no to?

Show me where you spend your time & money, and I’ll tell you what your priorities are!

Nonetheless, in a lack of awareness and mindfulness, you make on-the-spot decisions, failing to take into account all the impact this might have in your life.  Perhaps you say yes to overtime, thinking about the financial benefits and yet forgetting your promise to yourself to practice self-care.

When you truly know yourself, you consider the overall impact of even the small decisions.

Confusing problem-solving and decision-making

I’ve written on this challenge before, how we often try to solve the problems and challenges that will arise if we make a certain choice and therefore fail to decide.

If you get caught up trying to solve the “how”, you may fail to decide on the “what”. In that indecision and anxiety, you do not decide at all.  With this lack of commitment to an outcome, you fail to overcome the obstacles.

Living up to other people’s expectations

Many of us, especially women, are people-pleasers. When faced with a choice and decision to make, we give too much weight and credence to other people’s expectations of us and “I should”. Perhaps the path of least resistance is to give in, choosing in favour of their wants and desires, rather than your own.

This is particularly easy if you don’t actually know what you want.  If you haven’t got a clear idea of your vision and passions, you won’t take time to consider the long-term repercussions of a choice for yourself.

Today, the invitation is to do the work and start with what really matters.

To make better decisions: start with what really matters.

your compass, knowing what truly matters in your life, helping you make better decisions, values, vision, priorities, passions

If you truly know yourself, you will find your compass within. Your self-awareness and mindful consideration allow you to make great decisions.

Ask these three basic questions:

  1. What are your values?
  2. What are your passions?
  3. And what is your vision for your life?

A variation of these three questions works just as well in a corporate setting: what are the company’s values, what is the vision of the company and how does this translate into the goals and objectives?

Every decision that you make – no matter how big or how small, whether it’s to participate in the choir or it’s to change careers – should align with these three things.

If you don’t already have your values and your passions and your vision identified, how do you know that the decision you’re making is the best possible one for your life? How do you measure or categorize what is a good or a bad decision?

Values are the starting point of knowing what is important. For some people, this may be family, honesty, ambition and success. For others, it will be adventure, experience, authenticity and curiosity. They are personal and intrinsic to each one of us.

If you’re interested in identifying your values, complete your details and choose submit to get the worksheet and instructions.

Thank you for choosing to work on identifying your values - Identifying Values

First & Last Name

Your passions:

I have to thank Bonnie Muenz for helping me identify my passions, and then reminding me each year to check and update them! These are the aspects of my life that I want to pour my energy into and it takes many forms.

Simply put, my five passions are:

  1. building a legacy,
  2. financial freedom,
  3. travel & adventure,
  4. spiritually grounded, and
  5. health and fitness.

Each of these passions has multiple tiers and levels. This blog post, for example, is tied to building my legacy and impacting the lives of people around the world.

Likewise, I’ve learnt in the school of hard knocks that if I am not spiritually grounded, I am not the best version of myself. If I ignore my health and fitness, I don’t have the energy and stamina to lead the life I want to have.

Knowing your passions helps you choose your priorities.  

Your vision and direction

The final question of inner alignment is your vision. There are many different ways of approaching your vision:

  • your vision board
  • a vision statement
  • mission and vision
  • plans and goals.

In the end, it’s not about how you create it. What is important is that you have it, because it provides you with a compass pointing you in a particular direction that you want to grow.

With each decision that you are faced with, ask yourself whether it keeps you on course or takes you off course.

Does this decision help me build the road that I want to travel?

The specifics of decision-making

Only after you have the clarity of direction and a compass, can you get into the specifics of decision-making.

1. To make better decisions – always start with the heart:

No matter what the decision is, acknowledge your wants, dreams and desires. Forget, for a moment, about rational limitations and what “can” or “cannot” be done.


What is your ideal, desired outcome from the decision before you?

Allow your compassion – for yourself as well as for others – to guide your choices. Take into account your feelings, emotions, hopes and dreams. What would you choose to create an optimal outcome?

Consider your values, your passions and your vision. What guidance and wisdom can they provide you with?

2. Create opportunities, possibilities and imagine

Taking a blank page, allow yourself to brainstorm, mind-map or dump ideas. Taking into consideration the facts and considerations that you know, what options present themselves?

Allow yourself to think outside the box. Also consider who you might ask for guidance, support, mentoring or ideas. Do you know someone who has done this before or something similar? Who do you know that might have better ideas?

This is a moment to consider whether you need professional advice, such as a lawyer, accountant, financial adviser, doctor, career adviser, entrepreneur, scientist, architect, or another professional that has experience of the kind you are looking for.  Who might have more ideas to offer you alternatives?

3. Remember your needs

In any decision, remember to take care of your needs. It is not enough that you decide in favour of your wants and desires or that you choose a good idea. If you overlook your needs (professional, financial, emotional, security and safety, or even growth), you will not feel fully satisfied with the outcome.

Allow yourself time to consider all of your needs, not just the most obvious ones.

4. Replace expectations and “I should” with compassion

A source of great unhappiness and lack of fulfilment is living up to other people’s expectations, rather than living life authentically. A beautiful solution to this, taking into account the wants, desires and needs of those that you care about is to replace their expectations with compassion.

If you truly loved yourself and them: what would you choose?

What outcome provides the greatest joy and satisfaction to everyone involved?

Compassion allows you to choose tough love when it’s required. Rather than feeling railroaded and giving in, proactively choose to love yourself and others.  How do your choices reflect how much you care?

Compassion will allow you to be true to your values, passions and goals. To make better decisions, seek the option that aligns with who you are.

5. Choose to perform on your stage: priorities

Closely tied to expectations and pressure from others is getting roped into performing on other people’s stages. If you don’t have clarity about your passions and vision, you will accept working to fulfil another person’s vision.

Even professionally and in business, you need to be clear about what business you are willing to let go of to focus your attention and energies on growth in the direction that you have planned. Plans may change, but this should be intentional. Otherwise, you find yourself spread too thin.

It’s easy to get exhausted and find yourself with a short fuse because you are struggling to juggle too many responsibilities.

When you are invited to participate on someone else’s stage, look clearly at your values, passions and vision. Does this project, opportunity or request take you closer or further from your path?

For example, one of your values might be connection. Will your connections and relationships grow if you say “yes”? Are you performing on your stage while supporting and helping them, or are you putting your priorities on the back burner while you assist?

Quite often, being asked to participate with another person will allow you to stay on your path. But be clear whose stage you will be performing on.  Pour your time, compassion and energy into the right places.

6. Be authentic

The final question to ask yourself in any decision is “is this who I am?”. The best decision aligns with who you are and want to become.

Sometimes, we feel that a decision has us between a rock and a hard place. Sometimes, we have to choose the more painful option, because it aligns better, in the long term, with who we are and want to become. The easy way out is not always the right choice.

To make better decisions: exercise compassion, creativity and courage

Every decision you make gives you an opportunity to exercise your compassion, creativity and courage. To make better decisions, do the inner work that allows you to know yourself. Then, you can courageously choose your path of alignment.

Who knows where this adventure called life might lead you.

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Dreams: what is really holding you back?

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If you are anything like me, there’s a list of excuses holding you back from building your dreams:

  • when I have more time,
  • if I had more money,
  • as soon as I finish.

For those of us that said that we needed more time at home, 2020 has provided many of us with a lot more time at home. Now we get to find out that this wasn’t holding us back!

Perhaps you said you needed more time with your kids to build stronger relationships. I don’t know how it’s working out for you, but my experience is that I am finding out just how little patience I have for teaching a six-year-old how to write, do her social studies and mathematics lessons!

Today, I am avoiding her play area, because I cannot bear to see the mess it is in. I am restricting myself to cleaning Friday, Saturday and Sunday: otherwise, I will use cleaning as my excuse for not getting things done in my business. Things that make me uncomfortable.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”

What is holding you back from following your dreams?

Perhaps you are held back by your lack of curiosity. Many of us hold our dreams at bay, sticking with the status quo. But let’s be honest: the status quo has been majorly disrupted! I don’t ever see it coming back! Are you curious about what you could create in the void? How open are you to exploring new ideas and perspectives in the changing world?

Do you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve this year? I know – 2020 is disrupted! So, maybe you revisit your plans: keeping the end in mind, what do you need to do now to achieve it?

Are you willing to fail trying something new when everything is up in the air? What if you create a website while you are stuck at home and no one finds it because you haven’t learnt how to use SEO? Is that really failure? How much of your time and energy are you willing to invest in learning a new skill?

You procrastinate. We all do it. I procrastinate cleaning the house. What’s your favourite excuse? The reality is that we do something else (within our comfort zone), instead of creating and manifesting our goals and dreams.

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I use the word “manifesting” widely: not in the sense of sitting and holding an intention and visualization, but in the sense of seeing it, creating a plan, and then executing the plan! Manifestation requires action, however small. To use an example from gardening: it’s the sowing we do in order to reap the harvest. The whole process begins with seeing the crop, but then we go and we get the seeds, we prepare the soil and we plant.

Obviously, once we’ve sowed, we may have smaller tasks to complete: watering, weeding and making sure that there are no slugs eating our crops. Some crops require more effort and attention than others. Some dreams & plans do too.

Then, we wait. We trust that what we’ve planted will grow and that there will be a harvest.

Are you letting your doubts get the better of you?

Unfortunately, if you harbour doubts about whether your dreams are feasible, you are unlikely to succeed.

In fact, I’ll bet you don’t even start!

100% chance of failure when you fail to start! Your actions, and lack of action, impacts your results.

Suzy Kassem
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

Do you even believe you could be that person that achieves greatness?

Or do you spend your time catastrophizing and awfulizing?

At a time like this, I understand the urge to make mountains out of molehills! The world appears to be upside down. People are panicking. Are you buying into their fear and doubts? Do you allow that to feed your fears?

Our minds are brilliantly creative: designed to make up stories. That same creativity can get out of hand, with imaginations running wild.

When you invest your time and energy feeding your doubts and fears, you will convince yourself not to even bother. I have a friend that regularly wants to come over and tell me about their problems. They have an amazing capacity to create obstacles and challenges that don’t even exist yet! Unfortunately, when I ask them to turn that creativity into looking for solutions for the actual challenges before them, they shy away. They allow their doubts to create imaginary obstacles in the future, that they fail to face the smaller challenges they actually have before them in the moment.

It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: “This will never work out“.

When you doubt in your heart:

What do you want? Today, for this month and this year?

Can you trust your heart to listen to what it wants and desires? Are your dreams formed in your head “this would be a good idea” or does the seed begin in your heart: I dream of being happy, free, bold and fulfilled.

Vincent van Gogh
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”

Many of us second-guess our desires because we choose to “think it through”. Unfortunately, this often means that we tell ourselves “no” before we’ve even studied possibilities with curiosity.

Dreams: I shouldn’t want this, because it’s unrealistic

How many times have you abandoned a dream, without taking a single step? Perhaps you heard your mum or dad’s voice in your head “be reasonable” or “you can’t always have what you want”. Whose voice do you hear?  Does this person get to decide what you “should” or “shouldn’t” dream of doing or becoming?

Consider for a moment your inner dialogue and what it tells you about who you are and who you should be.

Sven Goran Eriksson
“To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.”

It’s easy to should yourself into oblivion.

Telling yourself “no” stops you from being curious and looking into it. Perhaps the first idea you have is a bad idea, but that doesn’t mean that the dream should be forgotten. Most of us want to start at “amazing” and “awesome”, forgetting that we are beginners when we start anything new.

Perhaps what you should do is expect to make mistakes at the beginning.

Doubts for your safety and security

I don’t know about you, but I regularly avoid failure. If I’m honest, I’ve sat on a draft of this blog post for over two and a half weeks! It was hitting too close to home.

When something takes me outside of my comfort zone, into a place where I might make a mistake, my natural instinct is to preserve the safety of the status quo. It doesn’t matter than I know (head knowledge) that endless procrastination inevitably leads to failure and defeat. I defeated myself because I didn’t put in the effort.

What safety and security are you craving at the moment that is keeping you paralysed? Stop looking down and start to look up, with a wider and bigger perspective. If you are physically safe at the moment, what more could you be doing if you invested your energy in your dreams instead of your doubts?

“The gap between what we do and what we’re capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.”

At the very first sign of any problem, we quit. Of course, perhaps that’s the moment to roll up our sleeves and show what we are truly capable of.

“No” rarely means “impossible”

When we drum up a little more courage, we realise that “no” simply means “harder”. There are obstacles and challenges. But tell me a time in your life when there were no obstacles and challenges. Can you think of a single period of your life when you weren’t forced to step up and into becoming something more?

At this moment, we are all being asked to step up and out of our comfort zones. The stakes are higher, the challenges are bigger. Your dreams are just as important now as they ever were!

The challenge I put to you today is what would change for your life, your family and loved ones if you dared to step past your doubts and into what you are capable of?


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Security and safety: change is a daring adventure

Helen Keller
“Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Is our need to stay in the security of our comfort zone overrated? We know that change is constant and inevitable, yet most of us resist change. We even resist the change that is for our good.

When things are bad, we are quick to accept that things are continually changing and will get better. Nonetheless, when things are going well, we try to convince ourselves that things will stay as they are. Even so, change happens, whether we like it or not.

It can be unrelenting: changes in the economy, life marches on, relationships in flux as people grow and move on.

“Change is the only constant in life.”

We can choose to approach it with mindfulness. How do I feel about these changes? What emotions am I experiencing about this situation or my future? This awareness needs to even extend to feelings that we may have about the past.

I want life to change, but I don’t want to change!

who wants change, who wants to change, who wants to lead the change

I recently heard Michael Beckwith say something along the lines of people always want life and their situation to change, but they are not willing to change! It reminds me of the comic that we have all seen:

Most of us want to see environmental changes, but how many of us are willing to make personal sacrifices and lifestyle changes that will have an impact? Many of us talk about political reforms and then choose policies that favour us, rather than voting in favour of the greater good.

Even in relationships, we want the relationship to improve. But are we willing to improve our communication, our listening and our empathy in the relationship? Are we willing to admit that we are 100% responsible for the current state of the relationship? The relationship that we have is simply a reflection of how we have expressed ourselves so far with this other person.

In very much the same way, we want our business and sales to improve in a company, and yet we look for “innovative ways” to continue doing what we have done for the past twenty years. We like the security of our comfort zone, rather than genuinely disrupting the way we’ve always done things.

Sometimes the changing times requires that we change our actions, responses and even thought processes.

The paradox that we face is this: we are always changing and yet never change. Think of how many times you have promised yourself that you will change. Then you didn’t. You started a new routine for two or three weeks and then fell back into your old routine and habits.

Nonetheless, if you look at who you are today and who you were ten years ago, without a doubt, you have changed!

What security do I lose if I dare to change?

One of the biggest challenges for change is our identity: “Who am I?” It is much easier to change what we do than it is to change our identity “who I am”.  When we mix in identity, it gets all complicated. We start to measure our worth and value by how we consider we are living up to that identity.

Nonetheless, we also start to complicate our identity with past versions of ourselves that we unknowingly protect. Our ego seeks to protect “this is who I’ve always been”. We fail to accept “this is who I am becoming”. It’s a scary world when we start to redefine identity, and we get scared and uncertain.

One of the things I love about mBraining and mBIT coaching is that it offers my clients a discovery process. Through the techniques used, we can explore who you are, in the present moment. We can differentiate past versions of identity and all the value and worth that they bring to who you’ve now become. We can even explore your “becoming” and how you envision your growth.

The invitation is to find your security in growing into yourself: think for yourself, listen to your heart and needs.

But understand that as you grow and change, there are risks of things around you changing as well.

Our relationships change and evolve:

Every relationship I have is in constant flux, even my relationship with my six-year-old daughter. If I’m honest, especially that relationship! As she grows and discovers her independence, I have to adapt and evolve my parenting style. The conversations that we have now are so different from a year ago!

So, while we accept that my six-year-old changes and grows, why is so hard to accept that in a year a thirty-year-old or a fifty-year-old will change and grow?

If you are focused on your personal or professional growth, you may outgrow some relationships. Are you holding them lightly or grasping them tightly? The same way that you cannot force a six-year-old to mature before their time, what makes you think that you can drag another person along your growth path with you?

Consider something simple: a decision to join a gym or a running club. How will this change in lifestyle impact your relationship with a sedentary family member or friend? If you were able to find time before to go to the movies twice a week, will this new active lifestyle take away time from the activities you previously pursued? And how will that change in priorities and time impact the relationship?

Every relationship is in flux: continually changing.

The question we have to ask ourselves in each relationship is simple: are our values and priorities still aligned? We grow apart when our values diverge, and we begin to spend our time differently.

Consider any relationship where you find you have grown apart: what values did you have in common that you no longer hold so dear? And how are you going to allow your relationships to define you?

Changes in our health and wellbeing

I have to admit it: until very recently, I struggled with the fact that I am ageing. I am no longer 29 going on 35!

One of the biggest challenges I faced was a failure to change my lifestyle, diet and exercise routine to accommodate my current reality. I no longer have the body of a 29-year-old.

At some stage, we have to accept that the time is now to adopt that healthy lifestyle that we thought we could choose later. I cannot stop the ageing process, but I can embrace it and enjoy excellent health, wellness and vitality at 47! When I finally accepted everything about my body (including Celiac Disease and SIBO), healing started to happen fantastically. I was finally working with the change, rather than resisting it.

Did I have a bit of a crisis before accepting this? Yes!

And I would encourage you to do the same: learn to love and accept your body, health and wellbeing where it is at today and work from there. Accept the changes that have taken place and embrace them.

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Changes in our career or finances

With swings and roundabouts of life, our jobs and funds can have highs and lows. You might be experiencing a career change that involves:

  • more responsibilities;
  • more significant interaction with other staff members;
  • leadership or supervision;
  • delegation of duties you used to take care of yourself;
  • longer hours;
  • more travel;
  • longer or shorter commutes or telecommuting;
  • new company;
  • more remuneration & benefits; or
  • networking opportunities.

Whatever the changes are, they will impact other areas of your life, perhaps even in ways you hadn’t envisioned. Having more money, for example, might change your priorities towards savings or a new home. If you are required to travel more, you might notice the impact it has on your relationships.

Every change you have ripples throughout your life. How mindful and conscious have you been of the effects on change: on yourself as well as on others in your life?  Do they continue to feel safe and secure in their relationship with you? What security do you feel in your finances and career as you change and grow?

May you live in interesting times

Our anxiety levels increase because we want to control not only what we do, but the outcomes and results of our efforts. Nonetheless, if we put our anxious energy to good use, we can focus it into problem-solving and creativity.

If you are struggling to accept change in a given area of your life: consider the cost of the status quo. Where will you be in five years if you make no changes and continue to resist? Does the status quo align with your values and desires?

Or would you prefer to adapt to the interesting times, finding new meaning and a level of security that you don’t currently have?

Finding inner peace in the face of change

The first step is an awareness of the change happening around us and how uncomfortable we are with the changes. What is currently taking place in your world that impacts your sense of security? Are you mindful of the fears that arise for you when you consider the change and growth that is asked of you?

I find it helpful with clients to focus on what they are afraid of: it’s not usually the change itself. Sit with your fear for a moment. What do you value that is threatened by the change? Most of the time, the way is through the fear: accepting all the implications and disruptions that change will cause.

I find it also helps to write two lists on a page:

  1. What I can control
  2. What is beyond my control

Then I have a look at how much time I am wasting worrying about all of the things which are beyond my control. Your point of power and fulcrum on which you can pivot lie only in the first list. When you turn your attention and energy to working only on things that are within your control: you suddenly realise that you can influence the outcome.

The daring adventure of a changing world

H.P. Lovecroft
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest fear is fear of the unknown.”

What if the change isn’t a tragedy that impacts your security, but rather a daring adventure of personal growth?

I invite you to explore these three steps in facing change:

#1 Connection & compassion:

Stay present, open-hearted even, in the face of change. Experience it, all the highs and lows, with compassion for yourself and others. Allow yourself, throughout the whole experience, to be present with your feelings and to notice how others around you are feeling.

For example, my six-year-old has been acting out lately as I have been working longer hours. I’m not only aware of it, but I am also making an effort to connect to her with compassion as she struggles with having less time with me and more time in after-school activities. Being stricter or cold is not the answer. Empathy and connection allow me to recognise her insecurity and respond to her needs.

As you do this, you allow yourself to create more safety and security in your relationships. As you notice your feelings and responses, you can practice higher emotional intelligence: how will I act with this person that feels threatened by the change?

#2 Creativity

A second challenge in the face of change is to tap into your creativity: think outside the box.

Our instinct, when faced with the unknown, is to play it safe. Most of the time, this means doing what we have always done. Unfortunately, this typically is the opposite of what the situation requires for us to navigate change successfully.

Allow yourself to get very present with the current circumstances: what response do these circumstances require of you?

#3 Courage to build a new comfort zone of security

Even if you have connection and creativity – without courage, you may be tempted to do nothing! To successfully navigate change requires courage to create a new comfort zone in which you have peace of mind and security.

Put your plan into play. Be courageous enough to talk to the people in your life that you value and love. Be bold – ask for help, build a new network of support, and create the connections you need to succeed in the changes you are facing in your life.

It’s easy to hope that the change will pass and things will go back to how they always were: but as much as things never change, they are in a constant state of flux, ever-changing.

Have the courage to allow yourself and others around you to grow and evolve with the times.

Are you struggling to navigate change?

Introductory Call

I am happy to jump on a call with you for thirty minutes to discuss how coaching could help you through the challenges you are facing.

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Sign up to receive my weekly newsletter, which will let you know about my latest blog posts, as well as including a weekly journal prompt and weekly affirmations!
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Authenticity: what is truly important to you?

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One of the reasons that we find ourselves unhappy is our lack of authenticity. This sadness usually happens because we are unaware of being out of alignment.

For example, one of our values might be family and relationships. Nonetheless, our definition of success might be solely focused on our career and professional development. To be successful, we sacrifice our family and relationships, living up to our goals and dreams. Nonetheless, we feel that we are living a meaningless life.

Of course, this only happens because we are unaware of the disconnect between our values and our goals or purpose. To live a truly authentic life means to have certainty that our plans and goals align with what we want and need, truly aligning with our values and priorities.

#1 – Authenticity: What are your values?

At the start of this year, I redid the exercise of examining my values. What is essential to demonstrate in my way of being this year? I wrote about this is “Secrets of the heart: revealing my values”.  In “Values & Priorities: why identify them?” I have a quick look at how to identify your values.

Of course, the values that you hold at this stage of your life are quite possibly not the values you were taught that you “should” have. Some of those might still be your values. Nonetheless, you could be surprised to discover they aren’t what others imposed on you.

Possible values

If you took a list of 50 or 100 possible values, and you whittled them down to 5 values on which you could align and base your life and every decision you made, what would those core values be?

Those might be something like: “helping others,” “being creative,” “living a healthy lifestyle”, “financial security,” keeps promises, thriving, fearless, vigorous, motivated, productive…

Want to dive in and identify your values?

Thank you for choosing to work on identifying your values - Identifying Values

First & Last Name

#2 – Your authenticity: how do you define success?

Only once you know what your values are, is it possible to define “success?” Values allow you to measure when you are in alignment. Are your goals significant and essential? Only then will you know what success could look and feel like for you.

Is the life that you are currently living on the path to your definition of success? Or are you on someone else’s path? Are you chasing someone else’s dream?

You might be feeling that the actions you are taking are merely “going through the motions”. You are acting grudgingly and half-heartedly.  Part of you thinks this is a royal waste of your time because it’s not really what you want to do!

When you know who you are, what you value, and what your definition of success is, it’s much easier to think about question #3.

#3 – What is the purpose of your life?

When you are living your authentic life, there is also alignment with your purpose.

Put another way: What is your vision or mission?  What are your passions? When is your life ideal?  For some people – it’s a vocation, not a purpose or passion.

Maybe it’s not a “life vision” – maybe it’s a shorter term than that. The next five years. The following three years.

What is your roadmap of reality?  Where are you headed over the next few years? When you are living according to your strength – when your best self is shining through – what are you doing? And Why?

Do you have a purpose or passions that guide you – an instant checkpoint for evaluating your choices and actions – if you will.

Are you daring to dream? Do you dare to have a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal? Does what I am doing align with my values? Does it serve my purpose or bring me closer to leading my ideal life?

As you look at your purpose, allow yourself to consider:

Do the relationships I have and the people that I am choosing to surround myself with help and support me on this path to living my purpose according to my strengths & weaknesses?

When we know our purpose or our passions, what our ideal life would look like – inner respect becomes easier to attain. Our actions become fruitful because they have clarity of purpose!

When you have clarity of purpose, it’s easier to let go of the things that you cannot control. Letting go allows you to focus your time and efforts on the things that will make a difference, within your control.

#4 – Authenticity:

Are you true to yourself?

When you look at the big picture:

  • who you are,
  • what your values are,
  • your definition of success for your life, and
  • your purpose or passions

Are you living with authenticity? Or have you become so focused on the external – chasing the achievements & appearances – that you lost touch with the inner you?

Bringing about change: living with authenticity

If you are not feeling good – don’t look to the past.

You can waste a lot of time studying past decisions and try to come up with a reason as to what is wrong. Nonetheless, you can’t fix or change the past. It only answers the question of why you are today where you are.

The past may have lessons on paths to be avoided – but it won’t hold the answer of where you want to go from here.

Your strength and power lie in today, the present.

  • Where, in your life, today, are you out of alignment with that greater, inner you?
  • In what areas are you failing to live authentically?
  • Where are you lying to yourself or others about who you are?

What is that self-image that you have hidden behind a mask?

A poet, an artist, a writer, a politician, an activist, a helper, a gardener, a runner.

  • When you have clarity of who you are;
  • And you have clarity of what your values are;
  • When you have identified your purpose and passions;
  • Then speaking up for yourself and living authentically – standing your ground courageously on what you hold dear;
  • That becomes easier:
  • Because you know what you stand for;
  • You know what you believe in;
  • You know what it means to you.

And as you find this voice, as you live authentically, you will start to love your life once more.

You can choose how you get your lessons – with a sledgehammer or a feather.  Ask yourself whether you are willing to learn.

Are you willing to face the choices?  Once you accept the alternatives, realise you also agree with the consequences and results of those choices. Then, you choose & commit to moving forward on that new path of authenticity.

“If you want to be respected by others, the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.”

Your power lies within your respect for yourself. When you are true to yourself – you will respect that.
Others are compelled to respect that as well.

Have you discovered what is truly important to you? If not, what are you waiting for? When will you start to live authentically?

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Finding your voice: loving your authentic life

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For me, the year 2018 was all about finding my voice and becoming me authentically. I discovered areas I focused on people-pleasing. I was busy living up to expectations, rather than speaking my truth.

It came on the heels of burnout. I recognised that recovery required a new set of standards and values by which to lead my life!

Have you stopped loving your life?

Maybe some of the following words or phrases resonate with you:

  • Disengaged
  • Unfulfilled
  • Unhappy
  • Stuck
  • Inauthentic
  • Going through the motions
  • Living up to old dreams
  • Yesteryear
  • Living up to other people’s expectations
  • I forgot what the question was while pursuing the answer
  • Life just got in the way and took over

And then, one day, you wake up, finding you lost all respect for yourself and others and you ceased loving.

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him or around him, and so loses respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

The Power of Authenticity

There is an extraordinary power that is held in YOU being You. When I suggest you need help finding your voice, I am not referring to a writer or a speaker. Instead, I want you to find the power of the small, still voice – somewhere deep inside – that dares to stand up for you.

It’s finding that voice that dares to think your thoughts.
That dares to speak your mind.
That dares to make decisions for that are right for you – because they are right for you.
The voice that truly represents who you are – or perhaps, at this moment in time, who you wish to be.

I invite you to search for the best, authentic, true version of you.

  • The you that keeps your word – especially to yourself – that wakes up when the alarm goes off the first time. When you know the value of starting the day early, you keep the smallest promises to yourself. “I will get up at this time.” When you finally recognise that if you lied to yourself about something this insignificant, you couldn’t trust yourself for the more essential things in life.
  • I want you to find YOU – the you that keeps your word about how much exercise you want to do and how you want to feel in your body – because you care about you.
  • You keep your word about what you will do and get finished today because what you say to yourself matters.

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Because how you do anything is how you do everything.

Finding your voice is discovering the You that has investigated, for yourself:

  • What you really think
  • What you truly desire
  • And who you most deeply are: the deep inner you.

You are, in your own, unique way, really creative, truly compassionate and fiercely courageous.

They say that we come into this world as living souls of infinite potentiality to be discovered and released – when we dare to live life from the inside out.

A story is told of a man who sits brooding at his desk in the evening.
Earlier that day, he received his dismissal notice from a company that he had served for more than 20 years.
He’s busy despairing on the difficulty of getting a new job – at his age – the impossibilities of living on his income – the shock of finding himself dispensable in the world!
Washed up.
A little spider was walking across his desk at that moment, and he unconsciously brushed it off.
Immediately he found himself watching, in awe, as this tiny creature took this disaster – of being swept into the air and off its path, and spun a tiny strand to bear its weight and gracefully swung down to the floor.

If that spider – a tiny creature – can get into the flow of using all its talents and natural resources and deal so creatively and gracefully with a crisis – why can we not do the same?

Your innate power lies within:

Could you invest a little of your time discovering your inherent ability?  This power comes from knowing who you are and what your strengths are and the resources that you have at your disposal.

The power of a person that owns what they say – that can compassionately, and yet clearly, say what they mean. Can you permit yourself to be you – warts & all?

– Jay Acunzo
“If you just stopped trying to be a better version of everyone else, you might find way more success using your creativity to be the only one who does what you do.”

Finding your inner voice: WHO AM I?

When you are alone, taking off the labels of relationships, religion, profession, nationality, and all the rest of the tags that society or even you have placed on yourself – WHO are you?

-Lao Tzu, Chinese Taoist Philosopher.
“Mastering others is strength; Mastering yourself is true power.”

Know Thyself.”

Know thyself now. It does you little good to know the person you were ten years ago. Even the person you were last year is not going to help you out today. Who are you now?

Are you in touch with your feelings and needs?

We are human beings: who are you now? And I would even go further. We are human becomings: who are you becoming?

Most importantly, who do you want to become?  Understand “this is me here and now” even as I grow and change.

‘A caterpillar who seeks to know himself would never become a butterfly.’

I started off asking if you were stuck, unhappy, disengaged. One of the issues with forgetting who you are – really, truly, deeply – is that you can’t express who you are because you don’t know any more. You’ve become trapped in the definition of self that you made up some time ago.  Or worse yet, you failed to define “who am I?” and so someone else told you!

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Finding your voice and identity: 

As you get to know yourself, you find happiness: I like this, but I don’t like that. Then you can say I want to do this and I don’t want to do that.

When you know yourself – you feel less conflicted.  Your actions will align with your inner feelings & values.

When you know the answer to “who am I?”, it’s easier to make better choices for yourself.

  • Do I like this sweater?
  • What would I like to eat?
  • What do I want to invest the rest of my life building?

Knowing who you are, and finding your inner voice, allows you to slow down. Do you feel that you are busy living your life with other peoples’ choices?  Or, are you choosing what you would like to eat? Do you love your body? How does this influence your wardrobe? Who decided your lifestyle?

Know Thyself

What are your limits & boundaries?

Here are some great questions to ask yourself:

  • How good am I at X?
  • How well do I do what I do?
  • What are my strengths & weaknesses? What are the limits of my strengths? Strengths might be your abilities, skills & talents – but don’t forget your character strengths –
      • Loyalty
      • Respect for others
      • Love learning
      • Emotional intelligence
      • Empathy
      • Encouraging others or a great listener

Do you know your “superpowers”- because knowing these strengths also gives you self-confidence!

Knowing and acknowledging your weaknesses allows you to hold back from accepting responsibilities or roles that you are not cut out for.

And one of the best things about knowing yourself, of really understanding your likes and dislikes – is having the power to say “no” when you mean “no”.  How many times do you say yes – to social obligations, to invitations, to responsibilities & commitments, when you wanted to say “no” because you weren’t standing in your power?

Do you need guidance in finding your voice?


Have you signed up for our weekly newsletter? Beth Gray Coach
Sign up to receive my weekly newsletter, which will let you know about my latest blog posts, as well as including a weekly journal prompt and weekly affirmations!