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Last week we spoke about beliefs, and specifically about beliefs around change. Closely connected to what we believe to be true about things is what we value.

My clients often tell me about how they value certain things and people in their life, but when we start exploring how they actually show this or know this, the lines start to get blurred. Let’s start from the beginning!

How do you know what you value? And I don’t mean things that you kind of like to have some more of. I mean things that are truly important to you. This is key for people who travel or move, because being aware of the things you really value helps you stay true  to those things regardless of where you are. Being true to your values can also help you pick up new interesting hobbies, create new friendships and learn new things to add to what you already value.

Best way to find out your values is to check the following:

  • Check your bank statement and see where your money goes. Best way to see real trends of what you value is to look at a couple of bank statements over a few months. When I did this exercise late last year I noticed that a large majority of my income was spent on education, books on business and personal growth plus fitness and travel costs. Because those are things that I truly value and I’m not surprised at all they are high on my list. Things like clothes shopping, technology and cocktails were fairly low on my list, and again, no real surprise there. Now these are just some examples of my values and there is no right or wrong here. Your values are yours and there is no need to compare them with others, I’m only sharing this to give you a few examples.
  • Check your calendar and have a look at how your time is spent. Do you spend more time at work than you need to? And what about your time outside of work? Do you read, study, exercise, spend time with family or spend time on your own? For me, most of my time outside of work goes to studying and learning new things. I spend a fair bit of my time chatting to friends and family (both IRL and via Skype) and I also love to exercise and look after my body. I don’t spend ages cooking though, even if I like to eat healthy. This means that i value healthy and simple food rather than the experience of creating amazing meals.
  • What do you value in others? Honesty, courage, integrity, kindness, determination, being helpful. The things that you value in others says a lot about what you value for yourself. If you value honesty and integrity and have someone in your life or workplace that lies a lot you’ll probably be very frustrated with them. Always aim to live congruently with the traits that you value in others and yourself. When you focus on the things that are important and stop spending time with things that keep you angry, frustrated or stuck you’ll feel so much stronger.
  • Check in with yourself if this is truly what you value and if you want these values with you going forward. When you have looked at how you spend your time and money, you’ll have a good idea about what you value at present. If this is a true reflection of what you want in life going forward is the second step. If for example you found that you spend a large majority of your income on your home, and very little on travel, but you still really value travel and exploring, you might need to have a look at how you spend your money going forward. Can you look at a plan of how to spend less and save more to get more travelling in your life? Did you find that you spend a lot of time and money looking after others and not so much on looking after yourself, despite you saying in the past that alone time is something you value highly? This might be something that will need adjusting going forward in order for you to live in line with what you value.

I find values fascinating, because they program what we do and explain how we choose to lead our lives. If you value something highly and don’t get enough of it in your life, you will probably feel a bit off balance and not as happy as you would if you lived more congruently with what you value.

After reading this, what are your thoughts around values? Are you aware of your own values tight now?