Living a life based on your values, values that guide and support your decisions on a conscious and unconscious level is something that as a coach I aim to inspire my clients towards. Just stopping to explore the golden thread that determines your behaviours and influences your attitudes, is a powerful exercise. But imagine, that once you’ve uncovered the words, images or metaphors that guide you, how powerful that can be.
As a Co-Active Coach, I often talk about how values have a not-so-nice side-kick called gremlins, those inner critical voices that nip at our minds when we are often on the verge of doing something important or difficult or at times just new. The relationship between values and gremlins is at times complicated as our gremlins, or our doubts, are founded on an age-old value that somehow over time has lost it’s positive, powerful meaning. With some clients identifying their gremlins is the first step to releasing their hidden values. With others, just spotting when gremlins show up and developing personal strategies for dealing with them, is the solution.
I colleague recently shared with me an amazing values resource called my31practices.com where it asked: “do you want a life with a clear purpose, do you want to be the best you can be and do you want to be happy and less stressed?” It made me realise that I’d gotten caught up with ‘doing’ that I’d forgotten how to ‘be’. Just the simple act of writing down my business and personal values was a wonderful reminder and then having to design the behaviours I wanted to demonstrate made me realise that my golden thread had become a bit rusty.
So, I’m on day 13 of my 31 day values practice, and what has been interesting is how easy my business values and the behaviours I want to practice have been to do. It made me realise how embedded my work values are and actually what a clear reflection of who I am, and how I wish to be seen. My listening value of what is being said and not said, my connection value seeking out authentic relationships or moments of magic, my intuition value seeking deeper understanding, my silver lining value guiding me towards the positive every time and my creativity value, playing with new ideas and concepts.
The surprise so far is how difficult living my personal values of family, food and high-heels can be, especially high-heels. This value arrived 10 years ago when I realised how rushed I was and how obsessed in being busy for the sake of business. High-heels for me is a gentle reminder to slow down and savour the moment. After all, have you ever tried to run in high-heels? Struggling with this value is a subtle reminder of my need still to do rather than to be. Being self-employed it is easy to be focused on growing and maintain the business, often to the cost of self or those around you.
I’m not quite at the half way mark of my 31 day practice, so I have time to remind myself to just be, to just enjoy and to just savour. Balancing my work and personal life may well be a life-long aspiration for me and what this time has allowed me to do, is to take stock and to re-calibrate. Taking an active measure of my values has been a wonderful and timely exercise in going back to what brought me to coaching; that we wonderful, incredible human beings with so much hidden potential that we only need to stop and explore.
If this has inspired you to do your own 31 day practice go to www.my31practices.com and sign up for free.