Talking to people about what is important is always an interesting and dynamic discussion. Recently I took a group through a values assessment. We discussed how values impact our decisions, relationships, spirituality, business and work. This is always a powerful and insightful experience for the participants. If you understand someone’s values you can predict their behavior. When we do the values assessment for the first time, there are always some surprises. Looking at your values is not something that you do every day. Growing in this area can be challenging but it is really worth it. It requires asking the right questions and time for personal and spiritual reflection. If you are on this path, don’t quit!
During an assessment, people typically select values that they think are important, but have not internalized. Many will pick values they aspire to, or ones that they think will bring them success or acceptance. We call these idealized values. Or they may choose ones that people imposed on them which they have internalized but are not congruent to their true selves.
The best way to get clarity about your values is to go through the list of values a second time and provide evidence that supports them. This is key because you can determine a person’s value system by their behaviors and where they spend their money.
This gap between the ideal and the realized is very important to understand. If there is a difference between your first selection and the second, then a reconciliation of the gap is needed. When one understands the gap, people usually have an “aha” moment and the lights go on. It can often provide insights to relationship dynamics and life decisions.
Imposed values are called interject values. These have been forced into your thinking at some point in your life. For some, the American dream may have become an introjected value system: go to school, work hard, get an education, get a good job, buy a house, have a family and live happily ever after. I have worked with many clients who have taken this path and when they hit about 30 or so, they are asking themselves what’s next because they have not found their sweet spot and they are not connected to their core values and purpose. They have gone through the motions without understanding their “why”.
Here is a picture of an oyster with a pearl inside. During my talk the other day, I shared how if you embrace the personal irritations that may come from life, it can tutor you in evaluating the values gap you may be experiencing. If you don’t run away from the irritation, and treat it like a golden nugget, it can serve you well. It may lead you to what you really value and in turn be very valuable. Perhaps it is a dormant or buried value that is connected to your life purpose? So I would encourage you to embrace the irritations that come your way. Ask some simply “why” questions to find the cause of the irritation. It may connect you to something that is really important. On the other hand, it may not. But don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t. You will eventually find the pearls of great price in your life.
Here are seven key things about values that we talk about in our workshops about Values and What is Important in your Life.
1. We inherit most of our values
2. Values guide our destiny
3. Values are idealized and real
• Idealized are not actualized but something you aspire too
• Real values are authenticated by choices
• Introject values are imposed and adopted by you
4. Many of us lack values awareness and clarity
5. If you don’t know your values, prepare for pain
6. Every time we have difficulty making a decision it can be traced to a values clarification issue7. Incongruity in values = dissonance, dissatisfaction, and pain
7. Incongruity in values = dissonance, dissatisfaction, and pain
• Source of frustration
• Energy drain
• Negative attitudes
Take the time reflect on what is important to you and work towards making those connections. When you are living a life where you have values clarification and congruency, you will find that life is much more satisfying and filled with less inner turmoil.
This is my son’s on going perspective on parenting, but before you read his part, I would like share some of my perspective.
My wife and I never disciplined our children out of heated emotion or anger. We always made clear what the consequences were for inappropriate behavior and often gave options for consequences. After the consequences were applied, we always made sure we were restored in our relationship. We made sure the love and affection connection was made. The goal of our discipline was to bring transformation at the heart level, and not just change the external behaviors.
There are no perfect parents or kids. The important thing was we tried to be consistent and tried to be clear on communicating our love and reason for the discipline. When we made mistakes, we apologized and asked for forgiveness. If we required this of our children, then we needed to demonstrate the same. It was never fun, but eventually we began to see the results and it became worth it.
After we established a consistent baseline, over time, we rarely had to discipline in action. We could use words to state the consequences and that worked. This was great for us because the discipline process became easier and not as hard for both parties. We were glad about this outcome that we fell into.
Here is my 16 year’s Part 2 – Thoughts on Parenting Blog