Check in with your values

Values light the wayFor a couple of years, I’ve been on a quest of sorts – what do I want to do with the second half of my life. It’s a feeling that rolls around inside me and it led to becoming a certified professional coach over a year ago. At that point, I felt a tremendous pressure to launch into full time coaching.

But I didn’t. And by not taking that step, I was sure I was a failure.

The expectations to launch a coaching career had been projected on me through training were ones I owned and I was sure I was a failure as a person for not following through. Enter shame, which I’ve talked about before.

Tailspin, questioning, contemplating…all led to a season in my day job where I decided I wasn’t happy and was searching. For what I wasn’t sure. Not for another job. Never mind that I’ve been in my field creeping up on 30 years. Or, maybe that was why I was searching. But then, I leveled out. A shift at work, different responsibilities, the intent that it would pivot in a direction where I could use coaching more. In human resources, there’s a fairly high likelihood of that.

We’re now about a year out from that point. And it’s creeping up on me again. That desire to coach more. Yes, I’ve used the skills in the course of my job, honestly, I’ve used it in my personal life too. But there’s still something missing. Thus far, I’ve spent time thinking about how I could launch out on my own, coach full time. Write, be creative, help women create peace in their lives.

The more I thought about it the more unclear I became. I was looking for that bright light idea. It hit me as I was brainstorming ways I could switch up my work life. What I realized is that I may not want to coach full time, and I find joy in some of the elements of the job I have. My job is stressful. News alert…So is any job. But there are many fulfilling aspects of what I do.

What I want is…time.

The more I thought about it, what I realized is that my values are out of alignment from the way I’m currently living my life. That happens sometimes, and it can sneak up on you. Over the last year or so I’ve focused on living authentically. Moving past others’ expectations to living for who I am, for how I’m wired. Values that are important to me include: Connecting to others; Creativity; Flexibility; Family; Integrity – Authenticity. When I make decisions based on my values, I find peace.

Here’s an example of living out one of my values, family. I live across the country from a many people in my immediate family. They are important to me and we truly enjoy spending time together. Last weekend, my cousin had a baby shower in Orlando…a short 3,000 miles from me. There have been many times when I would have missed it…too far. But I decided I’d done that too many times and I’m going to start being there for family occasions. So, I did. I took a couple days off work and traversed the country to Orlando, where, I have to say, it was as hot as the middle of a rain forest. Seriously. Humidity is no joke. But worth every sweat drop.

When I looked at my values in relation to my work, I realized I was out of alignment with my value of flexibility and connecting to others. I do connect to people at work, but not at the level I desire. That deep interpersonal level where the magic happens. And as much as I’d like to think otherwise, it’s not overly flexible. The challenge with that has been the integrity value. I’m not going to be flakey about work so that I can pursue flexibility. It doesn’t work like that.

What has come of this realization, that I’m out of alignment, is a search for how I can create flexibility. And for that, there are options. The answer hasn’t quite presented itself yet, but I have clarity about where I’m headed.

I’ve told you all this because I know I’m not alone. How often have you felt disconnect with an aspect of your life but are not sure why? Looking at your values will shine a light into what’s really happening. Even if you’re not out of alignment, take a minute to check in with your values, top 5. On a 1-10 scale, how would you say you’re doing? Pick one and decide, today, to take a step that leads you closer to it. It’s back to being brave, living authentically. Shining your light on others from a place of strength.

You got this.

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