This post is the third in a theme on discovering your personal brand. The first one, Brand ‘You’, was the starting point. As part of that, the previous post focused on identifying your values (Brand You – The value of values, part 1) as they represent the core of you. And knowing who you are helps you represent yourself authentically to others and make decisions in your career and wider life that are in tune with who you are. This post takes your values a step further, allowing you to explore them more deeply and refine them.
Revisit your responses to the questions in the last post on values. Here
are some questions (yes, even more questions!) to refine your values:
- What patterns are you notifying among your
values? Are they largely focused on you, you in relation to other people,
- Which of these values are always, often,
sometimes, seldom or never important to you?
- Were some of these values important to you in the past but you continue to rate them even if you no longer live them? Would other people say you live this value through what you do and say?
- Do these values really have meaning for you? Do they grab you in some way? Or are they socially acceptable or someone else close to you considers them important? If you feel a strong enough emotion in relation to any of them, you are on to something.
- If you could only live one value as compared to your other values, which one would you select? Take each value and compare it to the others in this way.
Make any changes to your list of values. Values can either be an ‘end’ value or a ‘means’ value. An end value is the ultimate goal or state, an end in itself. A ‘means value’ is a value that gets you towards your ‘end value’. For example, creativity may be a value of yours. What does the value of creativity get you? It may be a sense of accomplishment. What does ‘accomplishment’ get you? It ultimately may be a sense of satisfaction within yourself. The importance of this difference is that if your means values are the most important or you have only identified the means values, you will not be in a position to fulfil what is most important to you, i.e. the end value. This can result in living a life where something may not feel quite right or a little less fulfilling than you want or had hoped for.
Go through your words/phrases and ask yourself, ‘What does having X value get me?’ And then ask yourself, ‘And what does having that get me?’ Ask yourself that question again until you the answer has been the same three times. When the answer is the same, that is typically your end value. Make any changes to your list of values.
Looking through your values, which ones are demonstrated in your actions (what people see you do and hear you say)? And how often? If not regularly, when do they? Some values you try to live out when you have the time or there is the occasion. It does not mean that the value is not important, only that it may not have as much importance right now or there isn’t the occasion. If the former, do you foresee the value having importance in the future? If the latter, ask yourself the reason for that. If you would like to make room in your life to demonstrate that value, what may need to change?
Asking colleagues, friends and family what values they think you hold based on your actions can be a useful check. This also helps you identify potential differences between stated values and those reflected in your actions.
Make any changes to your list of values. Rank your values in priority order with the most important one being number 1, etc. Score your sense of satisfaction for each value, the degree to which you feel you honour the value in your life using a scale of 1 to 10 (1 no expression, 10 high expression).
If things in your life are going well, you may find that you have high scores. If you have been feeling low or things are not going as well as you would like, this satisfaction scoring exercise can serve as a diagnostic, where you can make changes. If you have a big decision to make, project yourself into the future having made and not made the decision. Anticipate what your scores might be for both scenarios.
The work you did on identifying your values can serve you well going forward in making career, relationship and life choices. Your values are your compass point guiding you to make choices that are true to who you are. But values can change over time as we change. So every now and then take out the work you’ve done and periodically score your sense of satisfaction for each value. Even revisit the entire values exercise every few years.
*Content for this blog was adapted from Co-active Coaching: New skills for coaching people towards success by Laura Whitworth, Karen Kimsey-House, Henry Kimsey House, Phillip Sandahl (2007), pg. 245-250.