Values and beliefs are two very different aspects of ourselves which warrant being defined in order to understand the role that values play in our lives.
Beliefs are often thoughts that we have said or heard so many times in our heads that we turn them into believing they are true. They are cognitions, thoughts that may have started many years ago in our childhood or been adopted from others beliefs and we have made them our own. We believe these beliefs to be true with the effect that they influence our decisions and behaviour.
Values, on the other hand, are a measure of what we hold as important or dear to us. They are not based from past information and are universal so that others can hold the same values as us. Values motivate us to bring into our lives people, work, tasks, interests that meet our values because they are important to us.
Examples of values are:-
Achievement Compassion Fairness Justice
Honesty Integrity Independence Friendship
Health Ethics Fun Humour
Communication Wealth Love Adventure
When we are living our lives by our values then we are content. Organisations also have values and if they are not congruent with our own then we may feel stressed, dissatisfied, frustrated in that workplace.
People that we meet, the ones that we get on really well with or have a “connection” with, will probably have the same values as ourselves.
Most of the time we don’t stop to think about our values but they are subtly driving our behaviour and motivating us to seek them out.
We are more likely to succeed in our goals and achieve more if we know why our goals are important to us. Knowing what our goals will bring to us links into our values. When I am working with clients who want to have a career change, we hone down on what is really important, what is the bottom line, what can’t they live without. Once we get past the material values of money etc what comes out reflects them as a person – a sense of autonomy, making a difference to others, honesty, open communication to name but a few. By knowing what is important will help drive the need to seek these out in their next career move thus enhancing satisfaction, content, motivation and passion.
As mentioned we may have many of the same values but what makes us unique is the order of our values, which ones would we prioritise over others? What could we not do without in our lives.
An exercise that I often use is one that looks at what you must in your life, what would be lovely to have and what would be absolute fantasy – download here. When you have down each area then tick off the ones you currently have in your life. From there you will be able to identify what is missing and look at how you can bring them back into your life.
If you are feeling frustrated or dissatisfied in some aspects of your life take a bit of time just to check whether you are incorporating your true values into your life.