WELLBEING MONTH: The Values That Matter To Me
Continuing with Wellbeing Month, Lynne from Wandering To Wonder Coaching shares her tips for understanding your core values, and why it’s important…
You are one in 7 billion, yet you are one in 7 billion.
This was the quote that changed things for me.
This may sound a bit big, I class it as an epiphany, it was the moment in my adult life that reminded me that I’m here for a reason. I matter, I take up space and I am worth taking care of. Yes my family and friends cared for me, but they have to right? The realisation of a reason for my existence beyond pure coincidence meant I needed to invest in myself, rather than just blundering through life hoping, knee jerk reacting and on autopilot.
That way of life became impossible for me, I needed to understand what was truly important to me, what made me happy, what didn’t, and how I can live in a way which was led by this.
An activity to explore my values was the first step in this journey. And I call it a journey because our values, the principles we hold dear, can alter as we grow, our circumstances change and we learn about ourselves more. I have completed a few activities around values over the years and reassuringly they have stayed the same for the most part. The process is one where our gut responses, our initial feelings and thoughts when we see or hear words, are what we need to act on. It’s those gut feelings that show us these values truly are the ones for us.
It can be tempting to think certain values “should” be important to us, for instance for me I’ve had doubts when I’ve seen other people putting love and trust up there as their values. It doesn’t mean these things aren’t important for me, but they may form part of my values, or show up in different ways. For instance authenticity is one of my values, it means being true to myself, situations and other people, and therefore it holds an important element of trust for me. Values are an important set of ‘things’ by which we hold ourselves and other people too.
Understanding my values has meant that I now choose how to spend my time based on whether it brings me joy or not. My joy will be very different to your joy – thank goodness else the world would be a boring place! When I think about how to spend my spare time I know the things that will light me up and bring me energy, for instance walking in the woods with my dog and camera. Taking in the shifts in seasons, slowing down and noticing the tiny elements of the natural world we so often under appreciate or even ignore. Or spending time with like minded friends, talking and getting all fired by sharing new ideas or things I’ve just learnt (plus that helps me retain all that new info!).
My values have also meant I turned down a job opportunity that I knew wasn’t right for me, although on paper and to others it may have seemed like my dream job. When I went to the interview I just got a feeling I was betraying myself, I was talking about my skills and interests, but deep down I knew what I wanted to do was to create my coaching practice. Because I had done work around my values, understood my worth, and what making the wrong choices for me has meant, I was able to be quite firm and sure in my decision to turn it down, even if others around me might not have seen it that way.
My need for peace has been another key driver in my life recently. From practicing meditation and being more mindful in some of my daily activities, I have felt peace more and more in my daily life. It doesn’t mean I’m sat in a room in silence on my own. But rather I seek out moments where I can reconnect into my body rather than my head. It’s a sanctuary against the incessant chatter that often goes on up there! It helps in moments of stress and overwhelm to bring me back to my body, the here and now, rather than all the potential possibilities my brain is making up!
Coaching itself has lead me to understand another value I hold dear, that’s wrapped up in my coaching practice, and possibly why I feel this is what I’m meant to do. Presence, truly being with someone is so incredibly powerful. I felt it through my nursing and my work in charities, but unfortunately these moments were more brief than I wanted them to be. Presence is at the heart of empathy for me. We are all unique and even though we may have experienced similar things, a single parent upbringing or having to readdress our career trajectory, you will have a completely different viewpoint and feelings about these based on your experiences. Then again I might not have any similar experiences, but by being truly with you in the space, deeply listening I can be along side you and gently explore with you.
I used to think I had a pretty good understanding of myself, what my traits were or characteristics, but things really began to shift when I took a deeper dive into my values. Once you understand your values, decisions start to feel right, rather than umming and ahhing over things. We can be more realistic in creating new habits that actually help our days run more smoothly, and we finally have the courage to be you exactly as you are.
There is no magic wand to life, no final answer that will fix all your problems, but I do know bringing your attention to your values and holding them as a rudder will help you steer through the waters of life, with all the ups and downs it brings.