Decisions and Values


As I have been faced with some big decisions recently......I found myself at first finding lots of confusion and indecision.  My heart maybe saying one thing and my head something else, then I went through all the "what if" scenarios and created even more confusion  and "fullness" in my head, thus preventing me from having the space and clarity to make the decision that was right to me.  

So I stepped back and reminded myself of all of the values and beliefs work I did as part of my coaching training and the work I currently do with my clients and took myself back through a values exercise and and it feels as if so much more space has been created in my mind and therefore much easier to make a decision that is right for me.

So the very simple basic steps I have taken are as follows:  (Sometimes the obvious / simple steps are the more effective).

1) Sit down with a blank piece of paper.......create physical and mental space for yourself.  As yourself, what are your top 5 values.  What gives meaning to your life?  What is your why?  If for example you love swimming or you love travel....why is that?  What does it give you?  What excites you? When you see, experience, hear or read something and you feel excited and engaged and think YES, this is me!!  What is that about?  Why do you connect to it? 

Once you have this list of 5 - leave it.  Maybe go for a walk, maybe do some yoga, go to sleep, or go about your day and then come back to it.....

It maybe that other values come to mind, or you add or change your list.

2) Once you have your list of 5.....put them in order!!  Which one of the 5 is your number 1 value.  I find that it helps if I ask myself.  If I could only have 1 of these, which is more important?

A great way to think about this is this:  If we assume 2 of your values are:  Freedom and Connection.  If you imagine you were standing at the check in at the airport with a case in each hand - one holding Freedom and one holding Connection.  The check in person tells you that you can only take ONE of these suitcases with you through your life - which one do you take and which one do you leave behind? Is it Freedom or Connection.  Do this with all 5 until you have them in an order.

Once you have done this - check over it - does it FEEL right? I know I am a very kinaesthetic person - and some would say - check it and think about it; but I do believe even if you are not usually kinaesthetic, values are not "thoughts" and therefore if you think about it, your logical mind may put them in an order that you consider to be sensible rather than one that fits your values.

3) Come back to the issue you are considering / the question you are trying to answer.......Pause....don't consider the "hows" or even the consequences for now!  But looking through the lens of your top 5 qualities - what answer would best honour and support your personal values.  Another way of doing this.  You may want to consider you are sitting at a conference room table (or if that scenario switches you off - sitting in a circle on a beach or anywhere else) and around the table are 5 people that represent your top 5 values.......if they had a discussion what would their combined decision be?  Bearing in mind that No. 1 value is going to have more "voting rights" than No.5 value.

4) What to do with it.  I hope you are still with me.  Now that you have your values and an answer to your decision or dilemma; now is the time to consider how that decision fits in with the environment and family / relationship structures that you live in.  So if it doesn't, does that mean that it is time to change / leave / adapt that environment because you realise that it no longer (or never did) fit your true values.  This is a big one...and one we often shy away from addressing.  Remember even if you come to the conclusion that is the case, then you don't need to act immediately.  Allow it to settle in and then decide when and what your course of action is - staying in alignment with your values.

Sometimes we know what our decision is based on our true values; we then realise that it is in conflict with the environment or structure we have built up, but we are not willing to change that! This is also OK. If we acknowledge that and our decision to keep things as they are (for now), we are being honest with ourselves and have made a decision, rather than pretending to ourself that the current situation does fit in with our values or we have no choice.  If the latter is where you find yourself then add in some activities, connection, interest, self care into your routine so that even if the whole container is not meeting your values, you have something on a regular basis that is still nourishing you and your values.

Let me know how you get on with this.....

I'm working on some exciting new offerings combining yoga and depth coaching but if in the meantime you would be interested in exploring coaching with me, please get in touch.