03 Aug Happiness and core values
By Douglas Woods
Each of us has our own set of personal values; these are the things which we believe are important, which motivate us and to which we give priority. If I asked you what your personal values are, the chances are that you would struggle to find the answer. You would not be alone; in fact the majority of people would find it hard to answer this question satisfactorily.
The reality is that most of us are not fully aware of our own personal values. This is the same as saying that most people are not aware of what is important to them.
The problem is made worse by the fact that not only ourselves but also other people and other institutions have their own set of core values. People such as friends, partners and employers, each have values that have an effect upon us and our lives.
Consequently, we may find ourselves living our lives according to the values of other people instead of following our own values. For example, in the work place, you may find yourself following the values of your employer;- good timekeeping, increased production, profits, sales targets etc.. Yet how many of these values would you feel fitted with your own core values? Furthermore, if you spend your life meeting only the values of your employer, do you feel that would be a happy life?
Do you feel that meeting only the values of your employer would lead to a successful life? Well, that would be possible if you measured your success in terms of achieving targets set by your employer and gaining more pay or promotion as a consequence. But just look at how many people go through life with the feeling that true success is much more than earning money or promotion. People increasing measure success by other criteria. For most people, success is measured by something more than or other than financial gain. So for most of us, following an employer’s values would not lead to what we feel to be a successful life.
This is not to say that the values of others are not important. They are important and it is important for us to recognise these values especially when they impinge or affect our own lives. However, it is more important for us to recognise our own personal core values.
It is by our own core values that we measure our success and happiness. It is they that tell us what is important in our lives.
As a Life Coach and counsellor, I encounter many people who are unaware of their own core personal values. I am able to undertake a values elicitation exercise with these people to help them discover their core values. The outcome of this exercise is often very revealing for them, it gives them an insight into what they really value and what motivates them. It can often indicate to them where their lives are not in accordance with their values and how they are striving to fulfil someone else’s values. Usually, this is also a source of stress or frustration in their lives.
So I would recommend anyone who is looking to discover their own personal values in life to consider the services of a life coach. Your values really are your key to success and happiness.