Back when I did my coach "education" about three years back, there was an exercise about determining your values, so that you could gain clarity about them, and possibly make some adjustments.

The key point was that you were to look operationally at how your values had been. In other words, not what you say your values are, but what the values driving your actual decisions have in fact been.

It's a evry revealing exercise (and a simple one at that).

And it creates insight, because the values you actually use to guide your decisions very often are different from what you think they are.

It came back to me today.

Frequent readers of this blog will know that for my entire life, I have struggled with the question of "success". Now I know I'm not alone in being preoccupied with success, but I've probably struggled with this more than most.

And what I finally realized this Sunday night in conversation with my mom was that, even though I'll say and even believe that being successful is very important to me, operationally it just hasn't been. Being authentic, having a strong connection, even being recognized and accepted and loved have been much higher on my list. And with conflicting values, you get conflicting results.

Now, the truth of the matter is that I'm just not all that concerned with success. Success itself is hollow to me. I care about self-expression, I care about being genuine, I care about feeling the energy of life. I don't always succeed. Usually I'm too scared, and another value is being safe, being comfortable, so there's another source of conflict.

But success and even money just isn't very motivating to me, when you look at it operationally. I tend to think they are, but they're really not.

So ... if you want to play along, pull out a piece of paper and a pen, and just jot down your top ten values in terms of actual decisions made in the past 3-6 months, and see what you find.

The exact order isn't so important. If you want to get detailed with it, you can check each pair against each other and ask yourself, "has A been more important to me than B, operationally, over the past 3-6 months?" for each pair to get to a more "exact" order. But you don't have to, in order to get value from this exercise.

PS. Do post a comment, even if just to say "hi". I like to hear from you.



Mette H

Hi! I like this post. It suits you. And the rest of us.
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Lars Pind

Thanks, Mette :)
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Mark Aufflick

Well, this should save some angst ;)
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