Knowing your Core Values
Many people first contact a Life Coach because they feel that something is missing in their lives. They might have a decent job, a lovely home and good friends and family but still they do not feel completely fulfilled or truly happy. They are not depressed. They don’t need to see a doctor or a psychotherapist. They don’t want to be prescribed drugs. But somehow they sense that there should be more to life. And they may even feel a little bit guilty for not being more content.
The first thing a Life Coach will do is to reassure the client that there is nothing to feel guilty about. To a coach, everyone deserves to lead the fullest and most enriched life possible. And if you feel that something is missing in your life, the reason is almost certainly because that is true.
In every case, what is missing can be attributed to one simple cause: One or more of your core values is not being met. So the first step in most coaching relationships is to establish what your core values are, before you can begin the exciting process of re-shaping your life to meet your values more fully.
Given the importance to you of meeting your values, it is remarkable how few people know their own core values. But actually it can be quite difficult to do this on your own. We all tend to claim some things are important to us which aren’t our values at all. They were given to us by our parents and partners, our teachers, managers and friendship groups and we pretend to them and to ourselves that they are our values too because we don’t want to hurt them or let them down. But deep down we know that we can never be truly happy by trying to live out someone else’s idea of what our lives should be.
So what is a core value? Well, broadly they fall into four categories:
- Relationship Values: Like love, friendship, caring, kindness, joy, harmony or belonging
- Reward Values: Like recognition, perfection, praise, accomplishment or making a difference
- Personal Values: Like trust, justice, spirituality, knowledge, faith, intuition or respect
- Action Values: Like creativity, power, health, fitness, courage, discovery or adventure
Most people have between 6 and 10 core values that must be met in order for them to lead a full, happy and stress-free life. But no two people have exactly the same values. In fact, everyone is as unique as a snowflake. Even close friends who appear to have many things in common will in reality almost certainly have completely different values.
And although there are four broad categories, some people might have most (or even all) their core values from a single category.
Think about the difference knowing someone’s core values could make to you. For example, imagine that two new colleagues come to work in your organisation and both are the same age as you. Superficially, the two people even look alike. But then you are informed that one person’s most important values are love, caring, making a difference and creativity; whilst the other person’s are praise, knowledge, health and adventure. Immediately you would know how differently you would need to treat those two people in order for them to be happy around you.
Now think about how difficult it would be to keep them happy if you treated them both the same or (as many people do) assume that they have the same core values as you do.
Finally think about yourself: How can you know how to be happy and fulfilled in your own life if you don’t know your own core values?
It only takes around an hour with a good life coach to reveal your core values. But the benefits can be felt for a lifetime.
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