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The discomfort of working outside of your values

Do you wake up everyday and recount your personal values out loud? Probably not but you know deep down what those values are.

Our values, the things that we feel are important and hold weight to. They drive us from the inside out.

Some of them we are conscious of and some we haven't consciously connected with for a while, yet they are there driving the wheel in much of our life.

In coaching I often connect with people who are feeling a sense of stress, loss, fear even physical discomfort but can't quite put there finger on what it is.

I have experienced this myself in earlier roles where some thing shifted in my physiology like wearing an outfit that isn't yours.

Underneath the surface, when we explore a few more layers, it often comes to light that a value (conscious or unconsciously formed) is being compromised in someway in the task or directions we are leading.

An example might be that you value yourself as an inclusive and supportive leader at work, as this is something you have valued in leaders yourself. Unfortunately as the pace and responsibility of work has increased there has been a subtle shift in your behaviours and capacity to listen attentively and respectful to staff. You justify this to yourself by acknowledging your limited time, and the need to prioritise other tasks. Maybe you "self sooth" through plans for a team reflection or extended meeting that will give you space in the future to reclaim this key driver...... and yet underneath you continue to break your personal rules.

Perhaps you value honesty in a relationship and yet you are struggling with the rate that money is being spent in the household and you fear the discussion of "tightening the spending" because you also value others happiness... and so you hold back on that honest feedback and compromise your value of openness.

When values are suppressed we might experience symptoms such as fatigue ( it's tiring being something you are innately not setting out to be). We might find our moods fluctuate as we experience a perpetual cycle of breaking our rules and then convincing ourselves it is warranted for a bit of peace of mind. We perfect our story-telling by laying awake at night narrating conversations in which we speak out, or resolve parts of this inner conflict and set ourselves free. We might get tetchy or feel the need to use alcohol and drugs or flippant behaviours as the path we take leads us further away from the true connections and principles we desire.

So, if you are feeling unaligned do a quick check in:

1) What is important to me ( in Life) - what are my top ten values?

2) What is important to me in this specific situation?

3) Which of my values am I compromising?

4) What needs to change and what is my role in making it happen?

5) What impact will that have on me and my wider connections?

6) Do I need help & support to be brave with this change?

Value the importance of understanding and being open with yourself. How much time, effort and attention are you putting into the things you value most in life.

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