Article – The Importance of Values
from March 2004 newsletter
What would a fulfilling life be like for you? Do you want a life that is rich, full and satisfying? Many people look for ways to have a fulfilling life.
I suggest that we need to look at what it would take to be fulfilled.
Fulfillment is very personal and constantly evolving.
One way toward a fulfilling life is to understand your own values. When you clarify your values you really know what is important and what is not. You know what is really essential in your life. You can make better choices based on what is fulfilling for you. Honouring your values is very fulfilling. When a value is not being honoured you will feel internal tension or dissonance, and a life of toleration rather than fulfillment.
Values are who we are. Not who we would like to be or who we think we should be. Values represent our unique and individual essence, our ultimate and most fulfilling form of expressing and relating.
An effective way to clarify your values is to extract them from your own life experiences. If you haven’t done any work on values previously, take 10 minutes now to just think and write about them. Think about special moments in your life that were especially rewarding and fulfilling. What was happening? What were the values that were being honoured in that moment? An example of a moment that was very fulfilling for me was trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal (over 150 miles/240 km) and crossing the pass at 16,050 feet/4,892 metres. The values being honoured in that moment were my values of adventure and achievement. Make a list of your possible values and keep playing with them. Be patient. It could take some time to really fine turn your list. You can go the opposite way and look at times when you were angry, frustrated or upset. This is likely to be a signal that a value was being suppressed. For example if you felt “trapped or cornered” the value could be “freedom”.
When you know your values you can then look at how you are honouring these values in your life. If you can see there are areas of your life where you are not honouring your values you could look at what price you pay for that, and what is stopping you? You can look for actions that you move you forward and closer to honouring your values. When there are decisions to make, ask yourself questions like “if I make that decision, what value will I have honoured”.
There are many tools to assist with clarifying values and making values-based decisions. If you want assistance in clarifying your values please email or call me on (612) 9527 9396.
As a coach my job is to help clients articulate their dreams, desires, and aspirations, help them clarify their mission, purpose, values and goals, and help them achieve that outcome.
(Acknowledgment: Co-Active Coaching, Whitworth, Kimsey-House, & Sandahl)
Written by Barbara Anderson.
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