The next stage of finding balance in our lives, both at work and at home is to find out what makes us do the things we do.
Who do you think you are?
Now be honest. If you were walking past a room and over heard colleagues discussing you, what would you do?
- 1. Walk on by, you’re not interested in what anyone has to say about you as you are totally confident that none of your words or deeds could be seen in any other way except positively.
- 2. Enter the room to see if you can help.
- 3. Stand very still at the side of the door, heart beating in anticipation of what you are about to hear.
If you are anything like me you would like to answer number one but you could not resist the temptation of three. Two might be an option, if you were feeling really, really brave but that sort of scene only ever happens in EastEnders culminating in a loud rendition of the signature tune.
We all need to be understood and to understand others. The reason so many relationships breakdown whether in families, couples or the workplace is very often to do with lack of communication.
But, isn’t there always a but? Before we can understand others, we have to understand ourselves. I’m not necessarily talking about deep therapy or counselling, though that can be very beneficial for some. I’m talking about what makes you who you are. What are the good and bad bits of your act, what makes you unique? What are the things which, try as you might, you can’t stop. Call them personality traits, call them behaviour patterns, I call them values.
A value is a word which sums up the part of you which you consider instrumental to you, being you. Our values determine what action we take. When we live to our core values, life is good, when we are asked to do something that contradicts our core values we are stressed.
I would hazard a guess that you have an idea what a couple of your values are but the real benefit is of knowing what your core eight are, how they are weighted in terms of importance to you at the moment and what relationship they have with each other, are they a smooth fit? Or do you have some polar opposites like security and freedom? Perhaps you have two which are not necessarily opposing but which could be challenging, dynamic, like family and success which could offer potential, pushy-parent moments.
How do you find out what your values are?
Start with a blank piece of paper and ask yourself, what is important to me? What is the first thing that springs to mind, love, family, money, success? Then ask yourself why? Is it security, connectedness, respect? The important thing here is to understand what each of those words mean to you. Love, for example has a very unique meaning to all and this core understanding of the eight values is the key to your own understanding.
Here are a few questions which may make it easier to find your personal values.
- What would your best friend/partner/child/parent/boss say about you if a stranger asked them?
- Imagine your own funeral (also a great dinner party conversation if you are brave enough!) what would your eulogy be about?
- Imagine you were the star of: “This is your life” (apologies for anyone under 30 who has no idea what this is) what would people have said about you?
- If there is one thing you would like to be remembered for what is it?
- What is the worst thing anyone could ever say you were? (Reverse it.)
- If you could spend your last day doing anything what would you do?
- What unique quality do you bring to/your family/your work/to the world/to the community?
- I will always do … I would never do …