Do you know what your primary VALUES are?
Do you REALLY know? (beyond the 23 second guess you might be inclined to do)
You might also be reflecting back to me, “Why is this an important question to commit my precious time and brain power to?”
Let me answer you question about why it is vitally important to understand what our primary and most important values are.
It’s actually simple.
When you do things, or say things, that are out of alignment with your core values you are going to be UNHAPPY. You are going to be out of harmony, out of integrity, and unlikely to be feeling any happy chemicals coursing through your body.
So today’s tips are dedicated to Brene Brown and her great book called ‘Dare to Lead‘. If you have not read or followed her work, you are missing out on some amazing insights and extensive research into how to live life in a more wholehearted and fulfilling way.
The activity I am going to encourage you to do was selected from the book Dare to Lead. If you are a leader or manager, or aspire to be, I would suggest that reading this book will help you become a more effective and impactful leader.
Now it is time for us to roll up the sleeves and do an activity which will help us stay in alignment with out values, and therefore increase our sense of happiness, connectedness and fulfillment.
STEP 1: What are your values?
When we are asked to list our values we can generally come up with a pretty extensive shopping list of values like:
Kindness, integrity, courage, gratitude, compassion, authenticity, peace, humility, family, ad
venture, fairness, humility, etc. etc. etc.
But here is the thing, and the very sound advice from Brene. If we have too many values on our list, we are less likely to do something specifically with them.
Brene suggests we work on our list until we have it down to just TWO values. This is not easy, but it is extremely effective in actually knowing what values we need to be most in alignment with.
So…what are your TWO primary (most important) VALUES?
(There is a link at the end of this post where you can download a worksheet that lists the most common values Brene has seen in her years of research plus all of the listed questions)
STEP 2: Now we get practical
Once you have identified your TWO primary values, Brene suggests that now you actually identify BEHAVIOURS that will support the value.
What is a physical, behavioural expression of you doing something that is aligned with your value. For instance, if your value is COURAGE, what are THREE practical and specific ways you can express courage in your life.
Examples Brene cites (if the value is courage):
- I lean into difficult conversations, meetings and decisions.
- I set clear boundaries with others.
By writing down three things, it primes your brain and brings your awareness to the things that are in alignment with your values. It makes you more aware of how you need to lean into life, so you are in integrity with your values. It sets guidelines for moving forward.
Brene suggests answering these three questions when it comes to working with each of your two values:
- What are three behaviours that support your values?
- What are three slippery behaviours that are outside your value?
- What’s an example of a time when you were fully living into this value?
The second question is to get clear of what not to do.
The third question gets you to connect to the feeling of what it feels like to be in alignment with your values (so you realise the value in this exercise).
STEP 3: Putting it into action
Once you have done the thought exercise, then it is time to bring it into your life.I would suggest that you ‘set the theme for 2019‘ by committing to those two values to be your guiding light for the year. Keep them front and centre in your mind when you are going about your day.Check in at the end of the day to see how you have measured up. Then commit to doing even better the next day. Check in once a week, when you do your weekly review.
Write them down in a prominent place.
Share them with those people in your life that you most respect and who will hold you accountable, or call you out (in a caring way).
Modify or add to the behaviours that you are committed to doing or not doing.
And pay attention to the impact this is having. Does being aligned with your values make you feel more proud of yourself? Does it allow you to feel more fulfilled? Does it make you feel more grounded, centred and at peace?
When I wrote The Guidebook to Happiness I wrote a bonus chapter called ‘Values-Based Decision Making’ because I realised it is hard to be happy if we make choices that are out of alignment with our values. Regardless of how good an ‘opportunity’ looks on paper, if it compromises our primary values, it will take us two steps forward and three steps back.
Here is a link to download a simple PDF document I created to do Brene’s values exercise.
Brene Brown also has a Daring Leadership Assessment tool for you to check in on your leadership skills. Click the link here if you are game.
And do yourself a favour and read her book. I am very grateful to her for the research she has done and the insights she is making available.
Have a super fabulous start to 2019 and hopefully I will cross paths with you at some point at The Practice, at a workshop, on a call, or while I gallivant around the planet.
Take care and much love.