Values are what define you, at the core of your being. Your values make you who you are, and are always present even when you are not aware of them. Your values continually inform the vision you have of yourself, and how you show up in the world.
“Someone else’s vision will never be as good as your own vision of yourself. Live and die with it, ’cause in the end it is all you have. Lose it, and you lose yourself and everything else.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
Georgia O’Keeffe, now referred to as the “mother of American modernism,” is famous for her bold paintings of flowers, simplistic landscapes, and skulls against dark desert skies. She was an artist who put her own unique spin on everything she did, taking the feeling of the American southwest and depicting it as her own. She created a synergy between person and place by focusing on nature and the natural world around her, always informed by her personal experience.
When we live by our values, they are the compass that guides everything we do. They ground our decision-making and root our actions in a purpose greater than ourselves. In short, they give our lives both direction and meaning — which is why having a very clear understanding of what your values are is so important.
Values are the experiences you fight for. But all too often, needs related to the things we value most deeply are thwarted. For example, someone may gossip about a coworker’s poor job performance because she doesn’t feel secure in her own job. Someone else could micromanage other people at work because he feels powerless.
Changing our behavior requires self-awareness, honesty, and effort, but these are all necessary for resolving conflicts between our values and our needs.
Even after she became almost blind in the 1980s from macular degeneration, O’Keeffe continued to paint with the help of her assistants. Her legacy continues to inspire us today because, despite this and many other setbacks in life, O’Keeffe persistently stuck with what mattered to her. She could have chosen to give up art forever, but she refused to allow the hand life dealt her to defeat her. She was persistent with her art, creating timeless pieces that reflected the beauty she continued to see in the world around her.
Identifying your values, shining a light on them, and figuring out ways to live them, will help you make positive decisions and choices in your life, too. When you are honoring your values, your life will suddenly light up and feel more satisfying and full.
The DC Life Coach’s Self-Coaching Exercises to Identify Your Core Values
- Look at a peak experience of your life, a time when everything was “flowing,” you felt good, you were on a roll, or you felt fulfilled. Ask yourself, what was important about this experience? Why did it hold your interest? What core value were you honoring? Who was with you, where were you, and when else have you felt that way? Did you build on that experience? How did it define you? Why did you pick this as a “peak experience” in your life?
- Ask someone to help you identify your invisible values. What is so totally who you are, that you take it for granted? How would others describe you? What are some of the characteristics and behaviors that represent what you are all about? Ask a close friend what they see as your strongest, most important trait that makes you who you are. How does that perception of you land? Are you really “known” by your friends, or are you hiding behind a mask?
Let’s get really clear on your values, so you can live a richer life, more satisfying life. As your coach I will:
- help you discover what success (fulfillment, accomplishment, adventure, challenge, community, giving, family etc.) and other values mean to you,
- help you explore the values that your friends see in you and how you are connecting to them now,
- develop some steps to bring back some of the ways you lived up to your most deeply cherished values in the past, and find ways to do that again no matter what life has brought you in the meantime,
- explore areas in which you might be unfulfilled, stuck, not successful, or not purposeful,
- notice what are you hungry for, what could be the risk/reward of connecting to your values, and help you explore what you are afraid of.
Contact me today for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to explore the possibilities. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.