Navigating a change of course using your values
Every now and then, life throws us a curve ball. There are many factors determining how well (or not) we respond in the first instant that we realise what is happening.
Depending on how financially and emotionally stable we are, how well we slept the night before, and how our kids (or boss, or friends) are behaving – we might take the news of this change well, or maybe not.
But after the news of a big change ahead has sunk in… what next?
I wanted to share a less-obvious tip for negotiating life’s surprise changes of course, as it’s one that works at the core level.
Deep down inside each of us sits our own personal collection of core values. These are the things that drive us, that inform who we are and what we care about.
Have you ever paused and thought about what your own values are? If you are unsure, there are plenty of lists and guides to be found on the internet. So rather than give you a big list of possible values here, instead, I’m going to give you a handy way to use them in a real world situation.
Taking a look at one of those curve balls that life can throw us through the lens of our values is a clever way to plan your next steps.
Let’s take the example of a surprise redundancy and look at how this might work. If your job was suddenly ending, after the initial shock has worn off – what might you do next?
If you were planning to look for a new job, perhaps the knee-jerk response would be to find something very similar. “Better the devil you know” is a typical approach, and a very human response.
But just suppose this surprising turn of events brings up previously repressed feelings of unhappiness for your working role. Maybe you notice that you also feel a little relieved by the news that you don’t have to keep going back to that job. So what next?
A natural, human response would be to not know what you would rather do instead. A potential change of role can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to focus on the ‘why nots’ rather than the ‘whys’. Typically, we would think ourselves around in circles, before falling back into the old, familiar role, in the next job that came up.
Now I’m not saying that’s wrong, but I would be remiss in my role as a life coach if I didn’t offer up a different lens for you to look through. This is where reminding yourself of your values comes in. And you know, your values may confirm that taking another job in the same role would be your best move, if your core values were security, consistency, or others of a similar nature.
But if you had been unhappy in that role for a while, then I might suggest that you have a values clash somewhere. Perhaps your highest core values are service and charity-related, but you found yourself in a money-focused sales role that made you feel conflicted, for example.
Looking at your life choices through the lens of your values can give you a deeper understanding of why something works or doesn’t work well for you. This can help to guide your decision on your next move.
At the end of the day, when life surprises us with a decision to make by throwing us a curveball, it’s not all bad news. This can be an opportunity to re-evaluate our situation, and if you like, to make a course correction to our path.
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