For those of you who have been present in my leadership and management classes you know I believe that Self Awareness is the be all and end all! I absolutely believe you cannot be a good manager or leader unless you are self aware.
However this also extends to life outside work.
It has been proven time and again that those who have the highest levels of self awareness – tend to do better in life than those who do not – as self aware people tend to be great decision makers and be more confident. Self aware people know what makes them tick. They know what brings out the best in them and the worst in them – and therefore tend to make better life decisions based on this knowledge.
To be self aware means many things – and to understand and know your “values” is an essential piece of the puzzle.
Most people think they know what their values are – however like many you would probably very surprised by carrying out the following exercise.
In his book “The Values Factor” Dr John Demartini says:
“If you’re like most people, (when reciting your values) you might find yourself listing abstract qualities such as honesty, integrity, trust. Or perhaps you would refer to a set of religious beliefs, a patriotic ideal or a code of morality.
These are probably not really your own personal values. Rather, they are what I call social idealisms: Socially acceptable ways for thinking and behaving. Social idealisms sound nice. But they don’t necessarily reflect the true driving force that shapes your perceptions, decisions, actions and feelings. You might genuinely believe that you are inspired by these ideals. But they are more likely to reflect your ideas of how you should, ought to, or have to behave – not what your truly value most.”
He goes on to say that “your highest values may change throughout your life – most people’s do – but they are the essence of you, what you are drawn to, what you inevitably seek out, what you live for”
So here are the first set of questions for you to consider. Grab a coffee and a quiet space – this will challenge you – not because they are hard questions – but because you will need to think deeply!
Remember – the reason why you are doing this – is because there is no doubt if you are living your life in accordance with your higher values you are more likely to reach your full potential, choose careers and pathways that are more aligned to who you are, be more resilient and less stressed – and that is just for starters!
Also remember if your current job is not fulfilling these values – that is fine – for now! Think of your job as a means to get to the point where you can make a decision to put you on your right pathway.
So here goes:
Answer the following 6 questions. Choose the three examples that are most important to you. (Don’t cheat must be 3!)
- How do you fill your personal and professional space? (You usually keep the things that are important to you where you can see or touch them either at home or at work-not in the attic or hidden away.) 3 examples
- How do you actually spend your time? (people make time for things that are really important to them and run out of time for things that aren’t..) 3 examples.
- How do you spend your energy? (You have energy for things that inspire you – the things you value most – while you run out of energy for things that do not inspire you.Things that are low on your value list – drain you – whereas things high on your value list energises you..) 3 examples.
- How do you spend your money? (Again you find money for things that are valuable to you, you don’t want to part with money for things that are not. Your choices about spending money tell you a great deal about what you value most.) 3 examples.
- Where do you have the most order and organisation? (We bring order and organisation to things that are important to us and allow chaos and disorder with things that are low on your values list.) 3 examples.
- Where are you most reliable, disciplined and focussed? (You don’t have to be prodded from the outside to do the things that you value most. Look at the activities, relationships and goals for which you are disciplined, reliable and focussed – the things that nobody has to get you to do.)
You are half way there – I will post the remaining questions next week!
Word of warning – don’t judge yourself and be concerned that your values are not perhaps “noble” enough or seem a bit ordinary …just go with the absolute truth – this is your life no one elses. Its what you do with them that counts – not what they are!
Talk again soon!