Know Your Values
Do you know how to make the best decisions for your own life and situation? There’s been more than a few times I’ve made bad decisions – you know the ones. The ones that leave you feeling anxious and nauseous, awake at night and confused. The ones that now, years later, you wish you could call up The Doctor, travel back in time in the TARDIS and change. Avoiding those is conversely about making good decisions, and knowing how to make them.
The one tool I have found important in making great decisions is in knowing my personal values. When I can align with one or more of my values, things turn out for the best. Keep in mind here, a great decision is relative – I believe its important to be making decisions that are right for you, and much of the time, you alone. When you are happy and satisfied, its then that you can care for others and give.
In this post, I’m going to share with you something about each of my values, as well as some big decisions this year that have been difficult but have been absolutely worth every second. I’m also going to share how this approach at decision making is underpinning how I’m creating my new business. They were, of course, decisions and goals founded on values.
So, what are my values?
Health – the big one for me, everything comes back to health. If this one isn’t taken care of, everything else, falls apart. Of course my definition is much bigger than eating my veggies and getting 300 minutes of movement in a week – emotional and mental health, being outside, getting the sleep I need, getting alone time appropriately balanced with socialisation are all important.
Alignment & Authenticity – being who I am, not underneath but in every moment. I can’t tell you how much trouble I’ve gotten myself and others into by not being true. While sometimes this can be uncomfortable, its always worth it.
Rebellion – when I think about what I want to leave behind after my life is gone, I think of leaving behind something new, which means creating change. I’m not sure how to do this without rebelling – asking awkward questions, taking the path less trodden.
Accessibility – in my illness community, even today, so much of the information available is still catered to the old majority. Feeling this sense of ‘otherness’, its important to me to ensure what I do is available to anyone who wants to learn with me (while not veering away from my truth).
Freedom & Responsibility – these may seem like polar opposites, but to me, being free means being able to make my own decisions without outside coercion. If I’m free, then I get to create my life to suit me, and be responsible for my own health.
Making Mistakes – odd thing to value, perhaps. You make mistakes when you are learning something, and I always want to continue learning. Importantly, I want to learn in the most difficult of times and challenging of circumstances. To do that, first comes the mistakes.
And lastly, but definitely not the least,
Fun – If I’m not having fun, what am I even doing? We’ve been taught in these developed, enlightened countries that there’s much we must do that isn’t enjoyable, but we still need to do it. This is definitely the rebel in me coming out, but I ask and think we all should ask more – “why aren’t I having fun?”. Bringing more fun in to the world is a worthwhile goal, don’t you think?
Even on photoshoots, I like to bring in the fun!
So how does identifying my values help make better goals and decisions?
I run my decisions through my ‘values’ filter. Earlier in the year when I completed my overnight hike, a bucket list item, ensuring I was doing it in a way that supported my health was hugely important. From making my own food in my dehydrator, to taking the previous 5 years to work up my fitness and perfect my treatment plan, ensuring I was healthy when I completed it was a main focus. I would have, and had previously, put off trying this hike in times gone by due to patches of injuries or untamed period bleeding. Doing it in the way I did was also rebellious – I found my own way, and didn’t hike according to anyone else’s rules.
The other big goal I achieved this year was starting my own business. As I explained in this post, stepping away from my last job was a decision strongly motivated by my health, as well as finding a way to manage my health and life needs that suits me, not according to the norm. Being true to who I am was also a huge motivation. Now, in my business, aligning with my values, I’m feeling confident in creating my work and marketing myself.
Knowing this values gives me a unique opportunity to understand my clients and why they do what they do.
Of course my business is not just about me, and aligning with values isn’t something I keep to myself! With each of my ongoing writing & editing clients, I have lead them through my Values Foundation Session as part of our first month working together. Not only does this allow them to take a step back from the doing of their business, it gives me a unique opportunity to understand them and why they do what they do. Even after just a few months and clients, it is proving invaluable knowledge, allowing me to create written content that sounds just like my clients voices, and is in keeping with who they want to be in the world. Identifying their values has also allowed them to have more words and phrases for speaking about who they are and what they do with their clients, suppliers and friends. Content for my clients is being created by focusing on one or more of these values, by having an underlying theme for a blog post or newsletter, in setting categories or theme days for your posting schedule, or even SEO terms.
I believe that understanding your business (or even personal) goals through the underlying values is so important, I’m now offering my Values Foundation Session as a stand-alone offer. This session is perfect for entrepreneurs, small businesses or even anyone with a big personal goal in mind for 2018 who is wanting to ensure they are creating content and business relationships that speaks to their ideal clients. Take a read about the session over on this page, then send me an email if you’d like to book in. I’m only offering 12 of these sessions at the current price, and one is already gone!
Share below – have you made a life/business decision on values? How did the experience differ from other decisions in your life?