Gandhi has been famously quoted stating that “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your values. Your values become your destiny.” Without hesitation, each client that I encounter is seeking more happiness and fulfillment. What if I told you that by gaining clarity on your values you too can find more happiness? Sounds good? I’d say, I’M IN! Today, I want to discuss the importance of values not only because it is core to my coaching practice, but once you discover, define, gain clarity and align your life to them and choose to live through this lense I promise you, you will lead a more fulfilling life... The essence of Gandhi's quote is YOUR words and YOUR values.
If you’re wondering, “What is a value?” you’ve come to the right woman, cause I love to chat about this under-educated topic and key to happiness. Values are guiding principles in your life that are distinctly you and guide where you make choices in your life.
Values are not merely words and they are not chosen; they are intrinsic to you and represent who you are right now. Values motivate our choices and reflect what is authentically true about you - good and bad, light and dark. I like to see them as a compass guiding us to make decisions from our lens of what is our truth to pave the path toward freedom, not societal obligation. When we choose to align toward our core values we truly create more fulfillment in our lives and, ultimately, happiness. Every day we are faced with decisions, obstacles and opportunities. During this time I recommend that we reflect and align with our core values by asking ourselves some key questions that are in my Value You assessment. Prior to answering anything, stop, take a pause, align and ask yourself, “What part of this aligns with my core values?”, “How does this serve me?” and “What do I know to be true about what this brings me?.” By doing this moment of reflection, we can discern if a situation will leave us feeling good and fulfilled.
Oftentimes when we are feeling not satisfied, unhappy or taken advantage of it is because we have allowed for someone to jeopardize one of our core values. If you do not know your core values or all of this is new to you, you are in the majority and this came acutely clear to me through COVID. We often start our lives with our families talking about their values or household rules but never truly define or are educated on our individual core values and how they serve us.
This why I am here to coach you to discover, define and align with your values so you can find your ultimate happy place. To be clear they are not to be confused with ethics which is a set of rules that govern the behavior of a person and are established by a group or culture. Values refer to the beliefs for which a person has enduring preference.
One of the values that I hold close to myself is community. If we use me as an example and you are wanting to put this process in practice where you observe my life and start to get curious think that you can clearly understand how I embody this value in all that I put forward in life. Building community for me like drinking water, it is essential to my existence.
Whether it be meeting a new friend or connecting two people together that have joint interests it brings me the ultimate joy to see the power of community in action. This is one of the reasons why I have created the MembHership, I wanted to be able to build a community for women to connect with one another.
Speaking of values reminds me of a segment I like to do with our guests on the Opportunity Knocks podcast. At the end of every interview I ask my guests their Top 5 core values and some are clear and others are not… I help them gain more clarity by asking them some questions to help them identify what I am hearing through using the coaching skill of active listening. I can hear what is most important to people through their basic communication.
In fact, this concept of understanding your core values is so integrated to my coaching that when I launched EmpowHer, I devised a card game you see people playing in these photos of the blog. I know it’s transformative as every women’s group and client testifies to how life changing and liberating it is for them to be clear and embody them. They are called the Value You cards and the object of the game is simply to identify your Top 5 Core Values where you intrinsically make choice every day and that guide your true happiness. Figuring out one's values is so
pivotal in defining who you are, which is why I always use values as a guideline when coaching clients and during my workshops. It can be difficult to identify and own only five core values, but that is why I am here to coach you through this process.
Sometimes it’s unclear and in our world there are so many competing values and principles with one another. Determining your core values is a life long process and requires consistent curiosity, reflection, patience, and practice in the alignment. Let me give you an example. My top 5 core values are community, connection, collaboration, inspiration and determination. Freedom is also one of my top 10 core values and was clearly threatened throughout the pandemic. In fact, if you stop to get curious as you can see, four of my five top core values were thwarted over the past few years and then freedom was basically strangled which as you can imagine if I wasn’t self aware and used self talk could've been debilitating and detrimental to my mental health. We were all challenged by something most certainly, but because opportunities, resilience and determination also rank high I quickly moved into a growth mindset to find ways to connect, build community, collaborate and be inspired. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a mindful choice toward my happiness. Make sense? Hopefully you are now intrigued on how this process of values alignment can and will serve you.
3 Ways to Own YOUR Core Values
1. Values Clarification - The first step in solidifying your values is making sure you gain clarity around what you are intrinsically motivated by and how you make choices. This is why one of the first workshops I facilitate when working with someone is called Value You as it is an opportunity to get to know yourself, your team and your partner so that you can run more effective teams that understand one another and what is important to each other. Here are some important questions for you to ask yourself to get started - What fills you up? What nourishes you? When are you most alive? Observe - Who are you? What are you doing? What are you with? What is happening around you? This is a super important lengthy process that I work consistently with my clients on through the Value You card game, FREE Value You assessment and one on one coaching.
2. Identify - Once you complete the key assessment process there is a time to adopt an acute curiosity and identification process in how your values show up in your life and those who you interact with. Curiosity and listening is key. This happens through recognizing when/where/how/what/why we make choices and decisions from these places. You solidify a list of YOUR Top 5 core values that only are unique to you and you alone then we expand from that list to identify your Top 10 core values. In addition it is important to shine the light on your Aspirational values and discuss them vs your core. values. Get curious and listen to the Opportunity Knocks podcast and listen to the answers from our esteemed guests. As humans, we constantly change and evolve as we grow. Check in on yourself often. Are you honoring your values?
3. Align - This is the FUN part where you get to practice really truly embodying them! Notice when you feel slighted or are about to make a choice what comes up for you! Is this something you really want to be pursuing? This is where creating a healthy structure or habit for yourself would prove very useful indeed. Once you are clear on your values, how do they make you feel? Do you feel more in control of your life choices now that there’s a compass to guide you? Think about this feeling and hold onto it whenever you think about wavering from your values. Also, surround yourself with likeminded people who live within these ideals as well like the amazing women in our MembHership community.
As you can see, this a topic I can discuss for hours as I know first hand the happiness that it gives to my clients and I want that for you too! Imagine if we all chose a happier life! I firmly believe our values guide our motivation and choice through life. Our values are our compass. Let's commit to clarify, identify and embody them to guide us toward the good life we’re meant to live! Happiness is... being in alignment with your core values. Remember to Value You or no one else will.
Be well. Do well.
All my best,
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