Success Skills

How to Create a Values-Based Career

What are values – really?

“Sociology . the ideals, customs, institutions, etc., of a society toward which the people of the group have an affective regard. These values may be positive, as cleanliness, freedom, or education, or negative, as cruelty, crime, or blasphemy. ”

We hear the term battered around, but do you really know what your values are? Values are what you, personally, consider to be really and truly important. And here’s the challenge – this is completely subjective and often completely unconscious.

There are no objectively “true” values. And yet people die every day over values-based disagreements. But that’s a different conversation.

How do I Create My Business to Suit My Values?

First, we have to discover what our values are. In order to do this, we must, in the words of Bill W., make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

And let’s be clear with our terminology. The dictionary definition of moral is “conforming to the rules of right conduct.” In other words, morals are just values that lots of people have agreed are “good”. So the essence of this step is to take a searching and fearless inventory of our conduct.

What we do reveals what we believe is important. It may NOT be what we would like to think we believe is important. This is a critical distinction.

So, sit down and make a list of your values. Create some space where you can be uninterrupted and brainstorm a list of all the things that are important to you. Use these questions to stimulate your thought process:

  • What is important to me?
  • What else is important to me?
  • How am I spending my time and what value does that express?
  • How am I spending my time at work?
  • How am I spending my time with regard to family and friends?
  • What are my self-care habits?
  • How do I treat others?
  • How do I allow others to treat me? And what does that tell me is important to me?

You must think of this as a brainstorming exercise. It is critically important that you write it all down. Be courageously and brutally honest with yourself.

Do Not Edit Out the Values You are Embarrassed or Ashamed of!

The first step is to look at yourself with curiosity, generosity and love. What is true now? When it comes to values, our judgment of what’s Right or Moral can destroy our objectivity and our ability to change.

If you look at your behavior with judgment and shame yourself for what you see, you will not change! Your very judgment of your behavior as “bad and wrong” keeps you frozen in your growth. It actually reinforces the behavior.

Stop Beating Up on Yourself!

Begin this process with the determination that no matter what you discover about yourself, no matter what “bad habits” or “wrong behaviors” you discover, you are OK, just as you are. Without this basis of love and acceptance, there can be no growth, no development, and no real internal change.

This may feel counter-intuitive. If I don’t disapprove of my behavior, what would motivate me to change? Think of it this way – if you beat a dog into submission, to get him to behave, he will behave as long as you are watching him. But when you aren’t there, his bad behavior will return or even get worse. And one day, while you are beating him, he will turn on you. Any dog trainer will tell you, it’s much easier to get consistent good behavior through loyalty and love.

So with a fearless heart, notice “the shoulds” – what “should” be important to you? Notice the gap between what you want to be important to you and what your behavior demonstrates. You’ve heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” What are you doing? What are your current values?

The truth is that you are already creating your business (and your world) to suit your values. If you don’t like what you’re creating, if you’re not satisfied with your outcomes, then begin to choose different values. This is the secret of real and sustainable success.

Clearing the Space – A Focusing Tool

During extremely busy times, times of emotional turmoil and major change, you may also find it difficult to focus on what you’re doing because your mind is cluttered with all the other stuff that’s going on. This is a process that I use with my private clients to create focus. I learned this in Coaching School and it goes something like this:

At the top of each private coaching session, I use a process called “Clearing the Space.” Very simply, you set each item aside one at a time by using this 4-step process:

  1. Identify what’s going on – give it a title or a name, don’t go into all the gory details. “What’s going on in the background is the fight with my partner this morning.”
  2. Identify the emotions that are connected with that thing – just use a word or two for each emotion, leaving out all the justification for the emotion. “The emotions connected to this are anger, frustration and sadness.” The tendency is to explain each emotion — anger, because… You want to leave out the “because” and everything that follows it.
  3. State your intention powerfully and in the present tense. “I am setting aside my anger, frustration and sadness so I can focus on writing this blog entry.” Notice, we’re not setting aside the fight or whatever, we are only setting aside the emotions. If you find those emotions to be stubborn, you can reassure yourself that you will come back to pay attention to them when you are done with this. “I’ll give you the attention you’re due after I finish writing this blog.”
  4. Give yourself a moment to set it aside with a deep breath or a visualization of placing that stuff in a closet and closing the door. Really allow yourself to set each thing aside before going on to the next item.

It is really important to leave out the details. The more you think and speak about the details of what’s going on, the more you bring up the issue.  And that’s counter-productive, since the purpose is to set it aside. It is also helpful to do this process out loud. The whole thing takes about a minute and most people report feeling more grounded, focused and energized.

Try it and let me know how you do!

The Energy of Belief

I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of belief as a result of the class in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy called Transform Your Belief – The Key to Success. So forgive me, but I may get a little woo-woo in this post.

It seems to me that the law according to physics is that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, right? But when we think about the things we do, the actions we take, the interactions with others, why is it that the reaction doesn’t always seem to match the action? Why do we sometimes get a response that is out of proportion to the action we took, either in positive or negative ways?

Well, I have a theory. (You knew I would, didn’t you?) Our actions are taken not just on the physical plane but also on the energetic plane, as we are spiritual beings as well as physical beings. Unfortunately we are not always conscious of the tenor of the actions we take on the energetic plane. We just aren’t always aware of the energy we put out along with the actions we take.

Belief in Your Success,law of attraction, motivation and momentumSo here’s my theory: When you take an action, your action is accompanied by energy that is completely colored by your beliefs. Since those beliefs are often unconscious, multi-layered and even contradictory to each other, so is the energy that you are creating.

So, if the results you are getting don’t match your intentions. Ask yourself – what am I believing about this?

If you feel like you are always pushing uphill against resistance when you try to accomplish anything. What you are pushing against just might be the energy that your beliefs are creating. So ask yourself – what am I believing about this?

(By the way, this is the Law of Attraction at work.)