Following on from my blog on Friday regarding work life balance I thought it may be worth exploring something related - your values. Values are what is important to us and they provide direction and motivation and often subconsiously determine how we spend our time. They also influence how we evaluate our experiences, underpinning our beliefs and behaviours.
A value is defined in a single word or two. Anything longer is classed as an 'expression' which is more likely to be a belief. I was told that a good way to test if something is a value is to consider the question - could it be placed in a box? You shouldn't be able to put your value in a box as they are more conceptual than that, for example: happiness, honesty, security, success, recognition, winning, helping others etc.
Everyone has a hierarchy of values that is meaningful to them at a particular point in time. You may move your values within the hierarchy or even change them at some point but this is not a common thing nor is it easy; it is often borne out of a trauma or life changing experience of some kind.
How do you find out what your values are? There is an exercise that you can do; you will need someone to help you. Ask yourself (or get someone else to ask) the following questions:
1. What's important to you now about a particular situation/outcome?
2. What does that give you?
3. What's important about that? (You will need to keep asking until you come up with one word e.g. happiness)
4. What else is important about that situation/outcome?
It is important not to think too long on the answers to your questions, you want your unconscious mind to be able to generate the answers, not your conscious mind. You may also find that you keep coming back to the same word - in that case, start the questions again to get the next value. You need to get between 6 and 10 values and then you list them in terms of which are most important to get your hierarchy. If you are struggling with the order you can ask:
1. Of these values which is the most important to you now?
2. Assuming you have already chosen (said value) is that value or b) more important to you?
You can also check these answers with:
1. If you couldn't have a) but could have b) would that be ok?
The conscious mind cannot process this question as well as some of the others and so your unconscious mind is able to answer.
This can be a little tricky but it does get easier as you go through. This is very individual to you - everyone knows a different word e.g. 'power' and what it 'means' but it may have a different meaning to you.
If your values are conflicted then it may explain why your work life balance is imbalanced or why you may not be happy with a situation.