What do you Need?

Our self-belief is intimately connected with how well we live up to the values that are most important to us. As a result, it is impossible to make decisions with integrity unless we first get clear on what we value, and our intentions for making those values central to our business practices. Your values are what motivate you. Honouring them consistently brings you fulfilment. When we behave in a way that is incongruous with our values, we are more likely to find ourselves escaping into undesirable habits like binging, as a way of avoiding facing the gap between who we are and who we want to be. It can be difficult to think about values in the abstract, and even harder to separate what we personally value from what we have been led to believe we “should” value. It can be helpful to give ourselves a fresh start, discarding our preconceived notions and taking a curious approach to uncovering what our values are NOW, at this stage of life, without any expectations based on what we may have valued in the past. We begin by focusing on meaningful experiences and times of high emotion, exploring what made those situations stay with us, what was important about them. Then we consider what our non-negotiables are. What is so important to us that our life is not worth living without it? We can keep refining and clarifying this list to narrow down what really matters to us.

Once we have identified our core values, we need to think about how these values play out in our everyday life and business activities. Are they respected and honoured – by us and by those we come into contact with? Often, we are our own worst enemies when it comes to trampling on our values, simply because we have never taken the time to consider how they actually relate to our actions. For example, say you have honesty as a core value, but you continually say yes when you would say no, basing your decisions and behaviour on the perceived needs of others instead of caring for your own feelings and well-being. You might even have inherited the belief that putting your own needs first is selfish and inconsiderate. As a result, you are living in a constant state of tension, betraying your core value of honesty by lying about what you really want, while believing that truly standing by that value makes you a bad person. It is an impossible situation.

Part of the solution is recognising our need for space and finding ways to create a comfortable distance between ourselves and others that allows us to feel safe. Once we have identified where our boundaries are out of alignment with our values, and thought about what it would take for those values to be respected, we need to give ourselves space to experiment with slowly bringing ourselves back into alignment, adjusting our behaviour and our beliefs little bit by little until we are living out best life. This also requires us to step into who we are and take responsibility for what is ours, while simultaneously weeding out who we are not, and noticing when we are carrying stuff that is not ours to deal with.

  • Can you identify your core values? Forget what you think you “should” believe in and dig deep to find what matters to you now, as a business owner, in this stage of your life. What are your non-negotiables? What gives your life and your work meaning.
  • Looking at your list of core values, consider how they relate to your actions, and to how other people treat you. Are they respected and honoured? Where is your practice out of alignment?
  • How can you give yourself space to explore and practice gently adjusting your behaviour, beliefs and boundaries to bring yourself back into alignment with your core values?

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