Which values determine most of your decisions
Personal values shape career and life.
Many people believe that their skills are the only factor that determines where they stand professionally. But often much more importantit is personal values and attitudes that determine how far someone can go in their career.
Values are made up of the things you think and believe that are essential to the way you work and live your life.
Your values are what help you identify your priorities in both work and life.
You will see your life as good when your choices, behavior, and lifestyle are actually in line with your values. On the other hand, you will always have the feeling that something is wrong when things and developments in your job do not match your personal values. It is therefore helpful that you identify your values and base your life accordingly.
Special business coaching can help to identify a value conflict and its causes, to process it and to find a solution. Like in this example from my coaching practice.
Sebastian K., 43 years old, senior lawyer in the legal department of a corporation, came on the recommendation of a business friend.
“My problem is that I'm a perfectionist. I know that this is important and useful in some areas, but not in my area of work. You have to deal with a lot of inaccuracies or make important decisions quickly due to incomplete data. I can do this sometimes, but I am not comfortable. Then I try to objectify things, to find an ideal structure for them, so that my boss and my employees keep rolling their eyes. But otherwise I feel like a bungler who is blown up at some point. "
How do your values affect you?
Whether you are aware of it or not, you cannot live without values. The more you know your values, the easier it is for you to live your life in accordance with your values.
- Imagine having to work 70 hours a week while being someone who loves their family - it is clear that you will soon be suffering from conflict and stress.
- If you are someone who does not enjoy competing with others and you are in a competitive situation, do you think you will find satisfaction in this workplace?
In situations like this, the conflict between your values and the things you actually do can definitely affect your quality of life. But when you have a clear understanding of your own values, it will be much easier for you to decide whether or not you are in the right place.
If you are aware of your own values, it will be easy for you to decide what job to do, whether to accept or decline a promotion, or whether to keep or leave your job.
How do your values affect you at work or in your company?
Your values describe what is important to you in the way you lead your life. They give your life orientation, create meaning and are the basis for your convictions. In addition, they influence your decisions, actions and behaviors and shape the life you want to lead.
Examples of values are:
Respect, openness, independence, privacy, financial security, creativity, optimism, happiness, family orientation, success, health, compassion, kindness, perseverance, spontaneity, trust, perfection, humility, loyalty, fun, professionalism and accuracy.
Everyone has a different set of values, with each value being assigned a different degree of importance. Many people are only able to express their values in an unclear manner because they have not given them enough attention.
The most defining values in our personality come from our parents' home and the experiences we made there.
Here are a few examples of the different ways your values affect your work:
Values can support and facilitate your work.
When your values are aligned with your work or company, you will find that they support and inspire your work.
For example when "trust“Is of great value to you, and many people experience you as trustworthy in your job and, on the other hand, you can trust others.
Values can make your job difficult.
If some or all of your values are at odds with your job, you are likely to feel very insecure or stressed out.
If you value "accuracy“Living but finding that the rapid growth of your business makes you too busy and things don't get completed on time, you are likely to feel very uncomfortable.
Values can make you stressful.
If you feel stressed at work, it is important to understand the cause of the stress by investigating the situation.
If "financial security“Is a value for you, but as a self-employed person you are always worried about jobs, you will often feel uncomfortable and insecure.
Values can influence relationships at work.
Your relationships at work can be affected because your values and those of the person you are dealing with are different.
For example, if value is "privacy“You may be bothered by the fact that it is customary in your department to tell a lot about your weekend or vacation experiences and that you are also asked questions about your personal life.
Values can influence the meaning you see in your work.
Your values tell you whether or not you are in the right role or in the right industry.
If you "creativity“Appreciate above all, but your role, or the company as a whole, requires you to follow processes and procedures with little scope for creativity and new ideas, you are likely in the wrong role or working for the wrong company.
Values can create conflicts between private and professional life.
If you "success"Appreciate and this is associated with long working hours, but you also like the"Family life“Love, which means that you want to spend more time with your family, then you will have a discrepancy between your personal and business life.
If your values "Career" and "health“If you are very stressed because of long hours and tend to lead an unhealthy lifestyle, you have a conflict of values.
Values can influence your leadership style.
For example, if you "authenticity“You will probably want to lead in an authentic way. But that also has to be borne by the culture throughout the company. If you continue to offend with your open management style, it will be difficult to live this value in this position.
From the above, it becomes clear how much influence your values play in your work and personal life. But what should you do when values have a negative impact on your life and work?
Back to my client who booked a 3-hour coaching session with me:
His tie knot was perfect, the shoes were polished again, twice before our appointment he had made sure of the time - his self-diagnosis with the perfectionism was probably correct.
He looked around the room. Involuntarily, I thought whether he would notice that my armchair was a few years old, that the books on the shelves were in a mess and that my shoes weren't freshly cleaned.
But my clients were preoccupied with more important things.“I've already been to two coaches, but that didn't really help. There I filled out various tests, they listened to me in a friendly manner and talked about the Pareto principle. I know that, of course. What I don't know is why perfectionism is such a high value for me, but I experience every day how obstructive it is in my work. "
In my depth psychological approach to coaching, I assume that a decisive part of our values comes from our family of origin. Most of the time we are not aware of this, but a look at childhood and adolescence quickly makes it clear.
“Tell me about your parents. How were they like that? Do you have siblings?",that's why I asked my client.
“My parents were both doctors. My father is a surgeon, my mother an anesthetist. They were both fully employed; our grandmother, my mother's mother, who lived in our house, looked after us most of the time. I have another sister, three years younger. "
"Surgeon and anesthetist, cleanliness was definitely the top priority in your parents' house",I guessed.
“Oh yes,” laughed Sebastian K. somewhat tightly, “the dishes had to be washed twice by hand because my father mistrusted every dishwasher. Before going to bed we were showered, even if we were only at home all day. Bread was bought fresh every day because my mother was convinced that it could have mold after a day, but you wouldn't see its invisible spores. "
I got a slightly tight feeling when describing the client's parents' house. It seemed to me that parental perfectionism was already slightly obsessive about it.
"How was it with your sister back then?"I wanted to know.
“The first ten years were pretty good, we played a lot together because our house was in a forest, far from the nearest village. But at twelve she developed severe anorexia, which was hell to my parents. She didn't start eating normally again until she was on an exchange year in America at the age of 17. Today she is fine. "
The values that you experience at home always shape you. Simply because you deal with them every day and you can't avoid them. As a child, you cannot leave your family or exchange parents. You have to live with the values and family members on a daily basis and find how to deal with them. Either by adapting to them and taking them over - or by rebelling against it, as the sister had probably tried to unconsciously with your anorexia.
"Were you already so perfectionist as a boy?"I asked.
"I think I was born like this",Sebastian K. laughed a little tightly.
“In any case, my mother always raved about my perfect birth, I was born very easily and very quickly. I was always best in class because the material and learning were easy for me. And even when I brought a 1/2 home, the usual question came up "And why not a one?"
People who come to my 3-hour coaching know that their problem cannot be solved in a rational way. You have already read enough about it, perhaps also attended a seminar about it, asked friends, thought about it - it was of little use.
Because problems that resist serious attempts at change usually have a different cause.The disruptive behavior, at least that's how I see it, is the tip of a conflict that lies beneath the surface, in the unconscious. Therefore, common information or insight that the behavior is nonsense does not help.
My hypothesis about the cause of the exaggerated perfectionism of Sebastian K. was that he had not yet detached himself enough from his parents' values on an inner level. Outwardly yes, he was 43 years old, a successful lawyer, married, three children, his own house.
Because being an adult is not only about getting older, that happens by itself, but also that you have internally separated yourself from your parents. This did not seem to me to be quite complete with my client. Evidence suggested that he regularly spent Christmas Eve with his parents while his family partied at home alone.
“My sister doesn't feel like doing it, but it is extremely important to my parents"Was his reason for this arrangement. Then they all went on winter vacation for ten days, which the father financed. Sebastian K.'s wife found this strange at first, but complied with the unchangeable ritual. "It's been a tradition with us since childhood",had been the explanation.
I wanted to test my hypothesis with him that my client lived the values of his parents more than his own.
I do this in the form of a little experiment in which I have the client say a positive sentence. He should not think about the sentence, but carefully, with closed eyes, observe what internal reactions are going on in him. So what body sensations, feelings or thoughts the sentence triggers.
When Sebastian K. was ready, I said to him:"I would ask you to say the phrase" My life is mine. "
After a few seconds the client opened his eyes again:“A strange sentence. At first I struggled to get him out as if there was a ban. And then, when I said it, there was a thought: "Really?"
I had expected that Sebastian K. would develop resistance to the sentence and understood his skeptical reaction as confirmation of my hypothesis that he lives the values of his parents more than his own.
Because the sentence describes a fact. I would have let him say"I am a lawyer",he would have had no problem saying the sentence and experiencing it as coherent.
“The sentence seems so selfish to me“, Said Sebastian K., now."I remember my father saying" My life belongs to medicine and my patients "every now and then. And my mother might have said: "My life belongs to my family". "
„How would your wife respond to the sentence “My life is mine«? react ”I asked the client."She would say, quite indifferently:" Yes, of course, who else? "
The sentence with which we worked makes it clear how self-determined someone feels about their life. In the case of my client, who is still too closely tied to his parents, the sentence seems strange to him, even selfish.
But only if you are internally convinced that your own life belongs to you, you can shape it completely. You can choose your own values and attitudes and you don't have to unconsciously continue the values of your parents.
Perfectionism - and almost an exaggerated need for order - was prevalent in the life of the client's parents. Certainly due to the job, but probably also due to the unconscious fear of the unplannable, the chaotic, the spontaneous.
We talked for a while about memories that occurred to my client of how much he needed order, structure and accuracy because they promised him an alleged security. But he also knew from life with his children that you can never be an ideal father, at most a “good enough father”.
Towards the end of the 3-hour coaching, my client asked another implementation question:“Suppose, by a miracle, by tomorrow you would realize that your life was really yours. What would you do differently - and what would you no longer do? "
Sebastian K. only had to think for three seconds, then his ideas came:“I would no longer sit at my desk at eight every day, but have breakfast with my family at least twice a week and show up at the office later. In addition, I would not read through every email or letter twice, but only once again. And I would talk to my parents that I will celebrate with my family next Christmas. "
After four weeks I received an email from Sebastian K. He was doing very well. He implemented that with the family breakfast. He was putting off the call to his parents about Christmas, but he wanted to hold on to it. But the most important thing is that he now knows that absolute accuracy is not possible in his field of work. Much of his job as a personnel manager is a matter of assessment, has to do with feelings and interpretations, and often cannot be objectified.
I wrote back to him that, like his parents, he worked a lot with people. Except that his clientele is not passed out.
Editors addendum: When coaching can have a lasting effect and what the basis of good leadership is, Roland spoke about it in our podcast
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