How Personal Values Help Guide Us

How Personal Values Help Guide Us

It can be so hard to know which bridge to cross sometimes! Life may feel just “off” somehow. Our schedule can seem like it belongs to someone else because it just doesn’t fit us any longer. Our habits can create patterns in life we don’t like. Sometimes we just feel really lost, not knowing which way to go! It can seem almost impossible to re-direct a life that feels so out of line…so “not us”…so confusing. What can be done once life is like this? We don’t often talk about our values with other people. It just isn’t something we are taught or encouraged to do, but our personal values help guide us in life. They are one of the best guides we could ever use!

So what are personal values?

Our personal values are the concepts we each hold highly important and deem necessary in order to have a fulfilling and satisfying life. In our life and work they are the concepts that we personally find most important. We are often willing to make sacrifices of other less important aspects in life to ensure that what we value most exists around us.

Our values help us live “the good life”. They give us more clarity for how to make life feel more authentic, satisfying and fulfilling! Without them we would feel as if something is missing or being overlooked. Without identified personal values we can feel lost and confused, easily swayed by the values of those around us individually or collectively. Values guide our actions, words, behaviors and choices.

Values are a core part of our self and our identity. Because they are so intricate to who we are, they are also great conversation starters with other people. You can create powerful relationships with people who know or share your values.

While the notion of values may bring up similar concepts such as priorities, spiritual beliefs, purpose or culture, they are not all the same. There are similarities and distinctions between all of these concepts, which I’ll save for another post.

You may also be thinking about the idea of personal intrinsic value right now. It is important to note that a personal value is entirely distinct from a person’s intrinsic value. We are all valuable. Our worth is intrinsic; we are valuable just because we exist!

How do I know what my values are?

Before your values can guide you, it is really helpful to spend a little time thoughtfully identifying your values. One of my favorite ways to do this is through a card sorting activity. My current favorite one comes from the Good Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This online card sort makes it easy to organize 30 Values Cards (such as Challenge, Creativity, Pioneering, Faith, Independence and Curiosity) into piles based on their importance to you.

This online activity is relatively quick and you can print a record for yourself when finished. You can also see how other visitors to the site have sorted these 30 values. There is also a group tool if you want to do this exercise with others you know.

How specifically do our person values help guide us?

Once you’ve identified your top three to six values, the goal is to align your life around them. This is what it means to live out your values and let them guide you. The goal is to make decisions that reflect what you find most important, aka your values. You also live out your values by choosing daily habits that reflect your values. This also includes how your use your time, select your job, manage your stress, spend your money and so much more!

If we match our decisions and habits with our values over time, life starts to feel better! We will experience greater life-clarity, which in turn lets us guide our life in the direction we seek. Life feels more authentic and life-giving. You may also start to experience more balance. It may take a little time to feel the full impact of living out your values, but some changes can result in an instant impact. Saying no to a commitment that is clearly inconsistent with your values should bring an instant sense of relief and satisfaction with your new situation.

My top value is understanding, helping and serving people. I have learned over time that I really like to be practically helpful for people. This is part of why I love coaching. It is also why I love to do things for my friends and family that practically makes a difference. This includes babysitting my nephew so my sister can have a date night with her husband. It includes passing along books to friends that I think they will enjoy. It also includes helping build houses with organizations like Habitat for Humanity or Sierra Service Project. (Interested in this too then join me where you are by participating in the National Women Build Week with your local Habitat office!)These are ways I practically help people and it feels really “me” !

How do I avoid values creep?

This isn’t a one-time adjustment though! The term “mission creep” is very common in the non-profit world. Non-profit organizations are generally started with a specific mission in mind. Over time the organization can veer away from their original mission for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, this can happen to us too with our values.

When life starts to feel “off” again you might be experiencing values creep. Just as there are many good ways for non-profit organizations to avoid mission creep, there are ways that we too can avoid values creep!

The easiest and quickest way to keep on target with your values is to reflect on them regularly. This can include a weekly or monthly values self-check to see where they show up in your life. I do this each week during my Weekly Refresh habit.

Another helpful practice is to keep a list of your top 3-6 values on your phone, in your wallet, on your car dashboard or a bathroom mirror. Ask yourself how you’ve lived out your values in the past week. If the answer seems to be “Not much”, consider changing habits or your situation to better align your life with what you value most.

You don’t need to start with big changes. Perhaps you need just a small action to remind you of how important your value is to you. This happened to me recently. I decided to make a litter box cover for my cats out of necessity. This small project reminded me how much my #2 value of creativity and pioneering brings joy and pride into my life. I shared this insight in my recent Moment of Clarity Video, Proud Moment Tattletales below.

If you are unsure of your values or how to best live them out, really letting them guide you, I can help! Contact me and we’ll find a time to chat!

 

Originally posted by Jessica Lynn Johnson for JLJCoachingServices.com in March 2018.

 

 

 

Juggling the Multiple Demands of life & Business Flyer Final

2017 Annual Business Report

Looking Back – a year of building, mourning and celebrating:

2017 was quite a year…so I’ve decide to wrap it all up in a formal annual report for my business.

I am amazed – seriously, almost stunned – at what all I was able to accomplish with my coaching business this past year.

I officially launched the business mid-way through 2016 after several months of being unemployed. I spent most of 2016 creating my website, working on my branding and deciding how to structure my business.

Looking back, I can see that this beginning work in 2016 was really the foundation for all I would do in 2017.

Like building a house, after the foundation comes the frame. 2017 was truly a year of building the frame and focus, for my coaching business.  In April I passed the knowledge exam and certification requirements for the Associate Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation. This was a big accomplishment for me as a coach! I also returned to full-time work after nine months of job searching and working only part-time.

A big event mid-way through 2017 shook me and my business to the core resulting in a stronger commitment to my work as a women’s personal leadership coach.

Continue reading “2017 Annual Business Report”

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The Perfect Treat to Love & Support Your Goal-Getting Valentine

This week is a big one for love! It includes the ever-pink holiday, Valentine’s Day, full of candy sweet hearts, chocolate kisses and chubby cupids. Much of my coaching work and writing focuses the individual; accomplishing their specific goals and working through their personal situations or challenges. Thanks to Valentine’s Day, this month has me thinking differently. We all have goals, but so do the people around us that we love. I don’t want my focus to always be on me and my goals. That’s rude and selfish…and yet pretty natural…so I write to remind myself too with this post. Join me this month in showing love to our loved ones by supporting their goals, in addition to our own!

It is easy to focus on how to accomplish our own goals. They drive us! We think through what needs to happen before the dreams become accomplishments. We may write them on our bathroom mirror, post them as the backdrop on our phone or share them online. They are our goals. We know them inside and out. But what about when the goal is not yours? How do we support our spouse’s or loved one’s goals, especially when they do not really involve us?

Continue reading “The Perfect Treat to Love & Support Your Goal-Getting Valentine”

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Searching For a New Career at 50: Suzy’s Coaching Journey

A little over a year and a half year ago, I (Suzy) came to Jessica to be coached on my job situation.  I needed a new career!

At 50 years old. I was feeling stuck in a comfortable but not beneficial to my health job that I had been at for 27 years. I was successful but ready for a change and beginning the second half of my life caused me to reflect on how I wanted to spend the second half.

Jessica began by having me break down a very vague goal of wanting a new career into exploring my options and I came up with three. I updated my resume ( which I had been procrastinating doing until I was coached) and then I took a week or two to fully explore the 3 options I came up with.

During our weekly calls Jessica would pray with me and ask me questions that helped me refocus and be goal directed.

Finding Qualifiers & Taking a Pause

Jessica encouraged me to develop qualifiers (what did the job that I was looking for have to have or be). To do this I had to examine my values and even my personality and do much soul searching.

Somewhere in the middle I became frustrated and overwhelmed as nothing seemed to be perfect or happening now. Jessica suggested we take a “pause”. We stopped our coaching sessions for a few weeks to give me more time for life to unfold. 

I look back and think, “So wise.” It was during this pause she encouraged me to pursue the yoga I had shared with her was a huge stress reducer for me. Little did I know at the time that this little side trip in our coaching time would lead to a new door opening and include my ministry. Continue reading “Searching For a New Career at 50: Suzy’s Coaching Journey”

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How A Weekly Refresh Creates Resolution Success

January is a season of fresh starts, new goals and high hopes. Many of us resolve to change bad habits, finally accomplish a specific goal, or simply live better lives. Oh, how I love this time of year, so full of promise and motivation!

Sadly though many of us are already suffering from something I call resolution fade…just a few weeks into the new year. Our drive was strong just a few weeks ago! Our hearts were in the right place! We were so confident in our aspirations. What happened? Where did we go wrong?

How quickly the resolve fades.

Because life can get tricky whenever we set out to make improvements, we often find ourselves giving up before seeing success. Challenges we face can make it hard to persevere, our resolve fades, and unless we push through…several times in fact…we are likely to give up on our goals and dreams of being or doing something different. That slow downhill process is what I’m calling Resolution Fade. And, if we don’t fight through when it starts to get difficult, as Jason Selk described in his article about the 21-Day Myth, our motivation wanes and our commitment to our new habits weakens over time.

Somehow we may even start to think we probably just set our goals too high or wonder what made us so confident just a few weeks ago. Eventually the desire is gone, we’ve fully given up, and hope we will have better luck next year.

It doesn’t have to be this way! You don’t have to be a victim of Resolution Fade in 2018! Not under my watch! I want you to be successful going after every goal you set!

Continue reading “How A Weekly Refresh Creates Resolution Success”

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An Amazing Trick to Find Success and Satisfaction All Year Long

I learned an amazing trick this year that helped me find success and satisfaction with my resolutions all year long! Yep, this one thing guided my heart and mind every month of 2017. I’m eager to share it with you today!

A common way to set goals for the new year is by setting resolutions.

I know, I said that foul “R” word: resolutions…

Unfortunately, most people don’t find success when they set a resolution. This is exactly why I don’t normally set resolutions. I’ve always felt so much pressure and expectation to just fail at keeping my resolution and commitment. Yes, I would create SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound) goals for myself, but nothing I’d ever call a resolution.

Last December I decided to take a new approach to annual resolutions and goal setting. This method really worked, my friends, so I’m excited to share it with you!

Because of the format of my resolution, I was able to keep the two personal commitments I’d made all year long. Yes, I had some ups and downs along the way, but I never gave up because of the way I created my resolution. It helped me stay focused, motivated and realistic. As a result I was able to make great strides in my business goals, including:

  • publishing 10 blog posts on personal leadership and life management topics
  • writing an introduction and three chapters for my book on Life-Clarity
  • speaking at two conferences (one in California and one in Colorado) on coaching topics
  • recording 15 videos for my Moment of Clarity video series

What is it you want to accomplish in this next year?

Continue reading “An Amazing Trick to Find Success and Satisfaction All Year Long”

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The Immediate ROI of One Woman’s Purchase with Purpose

Photo by Melinda Pack on Unsplash

In late September I was exposed to something new…something I’d never really seen before and in a short time one investment has drastically changed the way I do a variety of my business and writing activities. I expected a positive impact from this purchase made with a lot of purpose, but I have been blown away by several immediate benefits of creating a better writing space for myself.

I’ve known for years that sitting still for hours while working is bad for my body and that an exercise ball can be used as an alternative to the classic desk chair. I have a ball like this at home, and I’ve wanted to try it at my desk, but I’d never found a good way to make it stable or tall enough to use as a desk chair.

Through my work with Partners in Diversity, I was recently introduced to ergonomic furniture and Fully, a Partners in Diversity member and retailer of “desks, chairs and things to keep you moving” in downtown Portland. They had my answer for better seating! They also introduced me to sit stand desks, which I’d definitely never experienced before meeting the Fully team. I really wanted to know more about their products so I accepted their invitation to write for a few hours at one of their showroom workstations. I was there for about 2 hours earlier this fall and was instantly hooked!

So what made the draw so strong?

Continue reading “The Immediate ROI of One Woman’s Purchase with Purpose”

Juggling the Multiple Demands of life & Business Flyer Final

3 Powerful Life Management Solutions For the Stressed Out & Time-Strapped Woman

Much of the stress we experience is self-imposed and created by the patterns we establish in our daily lives. For many women, feeling stressed out and time-strapped sucks all the energy out of us. It really isn’t an ideal way to live. But ladies, life doesn’t have to be that way!

Life management habits play a big part in how stressed out and overly busy we feel on any given day. Thankfully, there is a lot we can do to keep our schedule in control and with a manageable amount of stress. I say manageable because – let’s be honest – some stress and pressure is a good thing because it moves us into action. But too much wreaks havoc on our bodies, minds and souls!

Unfortunately, I spent a lot of my 20s stressed out and time-strapped; always trying to do more of what I love…and do it better. Now don’t get me wrong – goals are fantastic drivers for living a life of success, intentionality and purpose. I’m all about that! But without the following three life management solutions, that drive for success, accomplishment and enjoyment will most likely be our ruin in the end.  Diligently applying the following life management solutions really transformed my way of life. I continue to apply these concepts to keep myself at a good stress level and make sure my schedule revolves around my priorities and joys. The list is a little long, but it is worth the read!

Continue reading “3 Powerful Life Management Solutions For the Stressed Out & Time-Strapped Woman”

Juggling the Multiple Demands of life & Business Flyer Final

How to Know What You Want or Need…Beforehand!

A lot of important decisions are hard to make in the moment and so we get slowed down trying to decide what we want.  Indecision often is just a bad decision that wastes time, and can ultimately lead to lost opportunities or meandering through life. We live in a busy world so it can be hard to fit in everything we want to do…let alone contemplate life at a deeper more intentional level. Sadly, this powerful type of thinking, which lets us cultivate personal leadership habits, rarely makes it to the top of the to-do list.

But this kind of personal reflection is exactly what we need in order to have any chance of knowing in advance what we want or need…and seeing it come to life!

Below are 5 of my favorite life patterns. They are tried and true habits that will help you find the time for some powerful personal thinking. These habits will help you know what you want or need BEFORE the big decision comes. They’ll give you insight. They’ll help you create more Life-Clarity. I know this because I’ve used these tools and taught them to countless others in my coaching and leadership development work over the last two decades. I’ve seen these habits drastically change lives! Continue reading “How to Know What You Want or Need…Beforehand!”

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Developing a Powerful Habit of Self-Coaching

Self-coaching is a powerful habit of self-exploration and intentional living that anyone can develop! I love to teach my clients basic self-coaching skills and have done so for years! Self-coaching is a growing concept and I’ve started hearing a few other coaches talk about it as well. Join us in this easy-to-form habit and start creating more Life-Clarity in just 20-45 minutes a week!

With any new habit there is a little bit of basic set up or preparation to get you ready for success. The prep work to set up a new self-couching routine isn’t hard but it is important. Let’s start with that then dive into the process I teach my clients that allows them to continue their powerful self-work after our formal sessions end. This is a quick and easy way to invest in your growth right away while learning a little about coaching.

Continue reading “Developing a Powerful Habit of Self-Coaching”