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.
You will never grow greater than your worldview. What does this really mean?
There is a German word for worldview called Weltanschauung. It is defined as an overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world: a collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.
Your worldview includes everything you believe and determines the way you relate to everything in the world. It encompasses your past, present and future. Besides incorporating a purpose, it also provides an outlook or expectation for the world as it exists or is perceived to exist.
This is a big deal. Most of us don’t even know we have a world view. Spend some time with people from around the world and you will find that different cultures and nations have different world views about society, religion, government, politics, and the meaning of life.
Your worldview can be likened to the railroad tracks that your future runs on. Your beliefs influence your values and those values will influence your behavior. If one understands your world view, you could essentially predict your future. Those rail road tracks can either derail you or lead you to great success and fulfillment.
For example, you can view your world as a victim, or view it as a world of opportunity where you can find challenges and solutions to the problems you face. It all depends on how you view yourself, your role in the world, and what you believe you can accomplish.
Your world view is something that continually evolves. You can spend the rest of your life testing and refining it, based on feedback and results you get. Every so often, we need to step back and ask some questions about your beliefs, values, and mental framework.
In summary, a worldview is a conceptual framework and a set of beliefs used to make sense out of a complex, seemingly chaotic world. It can become the source of your goals, desires, purpose and it shapes your behavior and values.
With this in mind, try to identify your worldview. It is the starting point for achieving greatness in life. It will impact your success in life. If understood and mastered, it can change the way you think about your relationships, your business, work, family, and more.