Case study: How re-evaluating your values can be life changing

I was musing over the weekend on what I would write about values this morning. I was thinking about how in re-evaluating my values I had made some life-changing decisions. So I decided to share my experience as a case study. Here goes….

My values

In 2009 when I was made redundant I attended some training on a topic I can’t remember. What I can remember is that as part of it we looked at values. My values were:

  1. Recognition
  2. Respect
  3. Creativity
  4. Knowledge
  5. Power (to make decisions)
  6. Responsibility

Fast forward 4 years…2013 and my first baby had just arrived and something changed in me. (I do laugh now at my naivety). I was more protective, reflective and felt neededEquality and kindness were suddenly to become more important to me than they ever were before. I had time to reflect and practice mindfulness as well as having quality time with my daughter. When I was at home, on maternity leave with my child and was meeting other like-minded parents it all slotted into place. I felt at home, I felt I belonged. I found my purpose and my tribe.

Return to work

Then, in 2014 I returned to work. I felt out of my depth, not in terms of the work, but in terms of my emotions. I didn’t know where I slotted in. I figured it would get easier but the more I tried to realign with the company’s values the worse it got. Finally, I cried out for help to a trusted friend and mentor who happened to be a coach.

12 months after returning to work (and struggling) I got some coaching. In our first couple of sessions, I got rid of all the anger, resentment and confusion surrounding my situation. I didn’t know it at the time but Tracey, my coach, was setting the groundwork for looking at my beliefs and values system. Once I was ready to face my limiting beliefs and evaluate my values I realised mine no longer fitted with the company or with my previous value system. It wasn’t anyone’s fault; I had changed.

After coaching for 3 months:

Three hours, an hour a month, of coaching later my values looked like this:

  1. Love
  2. Trustworthiness
  3. Self-awareness (in myself and helping others discover theirs)
  4. Integrity
  5. Power
  6. Respect
  7. Creativity
  8. Recognition

With this renewed set of values, I could see why my professional life wasn’t working for me and how it was never going to work in the role I was in. With Tracey’s help I reviewed my wants and needs in my professional and personal life and went away and made the following life-changing decisions:

  • Apply for a promotion
  • Have another baby
  • Enrol in a coaching qualification
  • Start to think about being self-employed in the next 5 years

Present day:

Consequently, in October 2016, a little over 16 months later I have handed in my notice, finished my coaching training and set up as a self-employed Careers and Transitions Coach and had another baby. Most importantly I look at my life now and recognise that every part of it fits with my values. People comment all the time that I seem happy and more authentic.

In the last 6 months I have tweaked my values slightly again to get my core values:

  1. Love (kindness, self – care, equality)
  2. Integrity (honesty, trustworthiness, authenticity)
  3. Developing others and self (research, coaching, reflection, self-awareness)
  4. Power (building mutual respect and recognition in the coaching community)
  5. Innovation (creativity and learning)

I feel I belong in my professional and my personal life. Everything is aligned and finally I feel like myself.

I am telling you this so you can see the progress I made in a short space of time with professional support compared to the year I tried to ignore it all. Coaching gave me a safe space to air my feelings, to ask myself those difficult questions and reflect on what I really wanted out of my life. It was hard and painful in places but it has changed my life profoundly.

Now decisions are easier because I refer back to my core values. I have since chosen to spend most of my life supporting others see that they too can make ‘better’ choices if they understand themselves better. It is a privilege to be able to serve in this way.

If you want to discover your values, re-evaluate them or talk to someone then get in touch by social media, phone or email [email protected]

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