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 reassure you 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 begin the exciting process of re-shaping your life to meet your values more fully.

Given the importance 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.

These are things we have learnt from our parents, partners, 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.

What are your real core values?

Core values 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 six 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 what impact knowing someone else’s core values could have on 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.

A life coach can help you understand what fulfils you and makes you happy. Contact a coach today to find out more about how they can support you.

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Paul Hemphill, Horizons Life Coaching

Paul Hemphill is a leadership and well-being coach who specialises in bringing a positive psychology approach to his coaching. Over the last five years, he has helped literally hundreds of clients to restart their lives, develop new levels of confidence, change careers, improve their work/life balance, or become better leaders and managers.… Read more

Written by Paul Hemphill, Horizons Life Coaching

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