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August 05, 2008
“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”
On Saturday I went to watch my teenage son playing football for our local club team. The team’s been on something of a roll lately with four wins on the trot – and they’re now in with a shout of promotion to the super league next year.
The team is a real mixed bag with eleven or so kids from very different backgrounds coming together each week to do club duty in honour of the ‘beautiful game’.
Though I’m a rugby lover I have to admit that I get real enjoyment – and a degree of fascination – from watching the kids play soccer each week. The coach, Klaus, is an extremely likable man with German ancestry – so as you can imagine, discipline is something well instilled in our boys.
Sadly, I can’t say that about every other team they play against.
In Saturday’s match, won 2-0 by Klaus’s charges, the opposing team coach stood on the sidelines regularly berating the referee for his ‘apalling decisions’. As it became clear that his boys were heading for a loss, his demeanour towards the referee became steadily more demonstrative and his language more abusive.
As the losing team trouped off the field at the final whistle I heard their coach mutter an unsavoury comment about the ref’s values, integrity – in his opinion – was not one of them!
I immediately saw this verbal assault on the poor ref for what it was – a clear case of ‘projection’ as we call it in coaching parlance.
Projection is nothing more than a self-defense mechanism. It can involve criticizing another for a trait or behaviour that you possess but don’t like – thus conveniently allowing you to deflect the problem elsewhere and feel better about it – at least in the short-term!
As I reflected on the opposing coach’s unprofessional and un coach-like attitude, I wondered whether he had ever bothered to explore his own value system and hierarchy?
I remembered my own sense of surprise when my personal life coach, Sharon Frith, had first asked me to write down my values and prioritise them.
“I’ll need to think about that,” I said. “Frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever given a great deal of thought to it.”
My surprise stemmed from the fact that I was actually well acquainted with the concept of values. Having been a team leader for most of my corporate life I knew, full well, the benefit that determining a collective vision and values set could have on team motivation and morale.
I had spent many hours of my working life in team workshops debating team values. Ironically though, I had seldom, if ever, taken the time out to reflect deeply on my own personal values!
And I would venture a guess that this pretty much sums up the situation for the large majority of people in this world.
Yet values play a vital role in shaping our lives; determining how we will react to situations, what we will seek to avoid, with whom we will form relationships and what it is that will have real meaning for us.
Values can be described as beliefs, attributes and behavioural characteristics we hold as being most dear and special in our lives.
The ability to help someone uncover and understand their values – and potential conflicts in their values - is another example of a simple, yet extraordinarily powerful tool, in the life coach’s standard kit.
Some values, often called ‘core values’, don’t change easily and can be held for life. Other values change more frequently as what we want and need from life changes. Values act as our internal guidance systems - we judge whether something is right or wrong, good or bad, in accordance with whether it aligns with our values or not.
In my experience of working with people and values, the following three points are worth sharing:
By understanding your true values and ‘anti-values’ – and the hierarchy that you apply to them – you can learn a tremendous amount about yourself. You can also learn the secret to making real progress on achieving your goals
So, do yourself a favour. Allocate a little of your precious time to exploring your value system.
Better still, get yourself a life coach – someone who is trained to help uncover your values and eradicate the conflicts that may exist. And, even better still, if you’d like to pursue a life of personal freedom, confidence and growth – and then impart your new-found learnings and skills with others in a rewarding and fulfilling new part-time or full-time career, then why not join the growing group of New Insights trainee life coaches?
The New Insights life coach training programme is designed for people who are passionate about developing to their full potential and helping others do the same.
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