So what does that mean, 'being yourself'? We are biologically programmed to fit in and connect with others and this can sometimes lead us to mould ourselves so much that we actually forget who we are. We are so busy pleasing and trying to be liked, or get ahead in work or life that we can lose sight of what is most important to us. What our values in life are? What is gives us purpose and lights us up?
If you are not tapped into what is important to you, what truly makes you tick and thrive very slowly over time without you often even noticing you realise you are less happy, directionless. This feeling has crept up on you and it doesn’t feel so good. I believe most of us want to feel happy, to thrive often, have energy and passion.
So where do you go when you feel stuck, baffled as to what will make you feel more like you? What can you do to get back to that thriving you, or even to find it if you have never had it before?
The fabulous news is that nothing lasts forever, and you can create change at any point in your life. It is never too late. I write this as I sit here as a Life & Confidence Coach after decades of working in the travel industry and with a new vigour for my approach to life and my work.
The first place to start is to work out what your values are in life, what is paramount for you to have in your life.
Checking in on your values
Here is a quick way to check in on a value:
If the value is not present in your life you feel pretty rubbish and out of sorts. When the value shows up in your life, whether in work or in your personal life you feel great and more connected to the real you. You thrive and flourish.
So first of all grab a values list( you can find one online) or reach out to me for one, which I will happily send over. Here is a valid point though, you decide your values so one of your values might not be on the list. Simply add it to your own bespoke list.
Sit in a quiet space and ask yourself what is important to you in life? What core behaviours or attributes when present in your life make you feel good?
So, here is an example: Today a woman shouted across the park and asked me if I had a couple of spare poo bags (I know my life is so glamourous!). The woman had forgotten hers. I gave her two and walked away feeling great for helping another. This is because kindness is one of my fundamental values. If I am not surrounded by kind people in my life and do not have an opportunity to give kindness I don’t function so well. When I am kind or someone is to me I light up, I get a buzz, and I feel so unbelievably grateful.
Hopefully, now you are getting a bit of a picture to illustrate what a value is. There is no right or wrong value, simply what is important to you. Once you have written yours down, whittle it down to four to six that is absolutely crucial to have in your day-to-day existence. So, for me, I know that when I have connection, kindness, respect, affection, love, and activity in my day to day life I am at my best.
Once you have created this condensed list you can go to stage two of working out how to be not only yourself but the best version of yourself...
With your core values look at all of the main parts of your life(friendships, work, family, free time, etc) and ask yourself how present they are? Rate each one out of 10 in the core areas of your life.
There have been times when you can maybe reflect on when you haven’t been happy at work or in a relationship and now realise that one of your core values was absent. This has happened to me and when you realise this a curtain is drawn and a deeper understanding of who you are is discovered. The super news is that you can change things to allow yourself to be the real you where you can enjoy life in a way that works for you.
Is there something you need to have in place or change in your work to thrive? Do you need to communicate what is important to you in a relationship to feel happier, or change a relationship? Are there parts of your life you could change to be more in line with your values? What do you need to step away or create more distance from in your life that is in conflict with your values?
At the start of this article, I touched on fitting in and the need to connect with others. So where does that fit in with your values if you start making changes, letting go of relationships, or setting boundaries that could be a bit scary, especially in terms of losing that sense of fitting in and connection that we all crave?
Let me be honest here, it might well be a bit scary yet it will also give you an opportunity to open up and to connect with other like-minded people or individuals who respect and embrace your values. You will know what work choices suit you best for you to thrive. You will be able to let go of what is holding back your happiness and step more into what makes you blossom and truly smile. You know that smile where your face aches and your heart sores, it is the best feeling in the world! That feeling you can now create by simply being more connected to your true self!
Values work is one of my favourite topics to work on in my partnerships with others so feel free to reach out if you would like to work on this together.