What’s The Secret To Fulfillment?
Recently while working with a client on fulfillment, I was asked, “What’s so special about knowing my values anyways?”
Now, it’s not uncommon to get a little pushback when a client reaches this part of our Coaching Engagement. (A Coaching Engagement is just a fancy way to say that a client has hired me to help them reach their goals.)
It makes perfect sense that clients get a little uneasy when their values are mentioned. After all, we’re talking about what people’s beliefs are. People have fought wars and climbed unclimbable mountains based on what the believe, right?
In my humble opinion, not truly understanding our values & beliefs is one of the biggest obstacles keeping us from being fulfilled in life. AND fulfillment is one of the top reasons people seek professional coaching.
In this post, we’ll cover the common problems with values, the basics of value-based fulfillment, and how to know exactly what YOUR values are.
The Problem With Fulfillment
The problem with fulfillment is we don’t know exactly what our values are. Well, at least for ourselves. I mean we know the values of America. We know the values of Dr. King. And… we know the values of Jesus. What we don’t usually have a grasp on are what our own values are.
This is actually where a lot of disagreements stem from. People believe that THEIR values are universal values. Everyone’s values are or should be what their values are.
That just isn’t Truth. Think about it. Some people may value family time more and some may value solitude more. Others may value romance while others value spirituality more. Some may value you the same things as you, but they value it at different levels.
The values challenge shows up when people tell others what they should or need to do. “You should be more outgoing.” Or “They just need to be quieter.”
When you hear someone say what others should do or need to do, it’s a sign that are not clear on their own values. In order to live feeling fully fulfilled, you must know your values. And your values are uniquely your own.
The Fulfillment Gap
The Fulfillment Gap is the gap between how important a Value is and how well you FEEL like you’re living it out. For example… If you value achievement as one of your highest values, but you feel like you are failing at everything, it is perfectly natural to feel disappointed and unfulfilled.
Whatever the reason the gap exists it doesn’t change this one simple fact. Until you live from your values, you will never be fulfilled… Ever.
That is why it is super important to know exactly what your values are. Once you know what your own unique core values are, you can begin to pay attention to how well you are living from them.
So how do you know what your values are?
How To Know What Your Values Are
There are many ways to find your values. Here are a few ways to pinpoint your unique values.
- Prayer & Meditation
You could spend lots of time meditating and praying. Time in meditation and prayer has produced many valuable things for me. I’ve discovered what is most important to me. I’ve gained wisdom and clarity. Understanding how I want to show up in the world is another one. Prayer and meditation are an essential part of my life because of the benefits they offer.
You pinpoint your values by asking yourself this question when you’re angry or upset. “What value is being challenged in this situation?” Pause for a moment and think about a situation that invoked the most emotion for you in the last couple of days. In that situation, what value of yours was being celebrated or challenged? The answer to that question is one of your values.
You could work with a Coach (this is my favorite!). As a Coach, I have access to some pretty good tools to help assess values. When I work with clients, one of the first things we do is a Values Assessment. In the Values Assessment exercise, clients are asked to narrow down the list of values to a core set. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. Then we work on using their unique core values to guide every decision they make. This leads to fulfillment regardless of the outcome.
Whatever way you choose to identify your values and your own personal fulfillment gaps, do it. You will literally change your life.