What is the value of values?

My gift to you – to make 2018 your best yet – is explaining how promoting your core values can change your life for the better – by improving your mental health – and attracting more clients who are a joy to work with.

This article will be especially helpful if any of the following points resonate with you …

  • Have you ever experienced a time when you felt out-of-sync with those around you?
  • Ever felt as if you are constantly fighting fire?
  • Ever worked in organisation where the leaders ignored your ideas or treated your ideas with suspicion?
  • Ever had the feeling that your employees or your team are not on the same wavelength as you?
  • Have any of the above meant that you have gone home from work feeling stressed or anxious or dreaded going to work?

Well many years ago I experienced these struggles. Then I discovered my core values and promoted them – ever since then, I have attracted like-minded clients and my job is a hobby because I enjoy it so much.

What is a core value?

A core value is a principle or belief that your views are of central importance. In other words, values are what is really important to you and they are the reason for you getting out of bed each morning.

It took me a while to establish my ‘real’ core values. To begin with, I spoke to some valued clients, friends and family for their honest opinion. I asked why they enjoy working / being with me and what they considered my strengths to be – and how I can improve. They said that they enjoyed my enthusiasm, energy, perseverance and creativity. I know I am creative, however, the research revealed a common thread because I had also won the Enthusiasm Award at Toastmasters in 2015 – so there must be something there.

However, is enthusiasm is a value? Deep down, I wanted to understand what it is that made me enthusiastic. What is it that makes the time go so quickly? Why do I enjoy my creative and coaching work so much that it feels like a hobby?

I was going to have to dig deeper – so I reflected for hours, days and even weeks. I also took some leadership strengths assessments to get to the bottom of this …

My values

I finally pinned my values down to five:

Creativity: I am naturally creative and it really annoys me when I see poor graphic or interior design on shop fascias, restaurant menus, van livery etc. I moved to the seafront so I could see the beautiful coastline each day. Everything in my home has to match or have a reason for being there. I constantly think about creating a better world, better people, new ideas and creative design.

Curiosity: I have spent the last decade studying and researching because I am curious and fascinated about human behaviour in business, in marketing / branding and in personal life. I am less about ‘Who’s Who? and more about ‘Why do they do what they do?’

Inspiration: I have an inner desire to enable people to find their spark and purpose in life. After all it is the spark that inspires action to grow. Coaching and mentoring addresses my constant desire to inspire.

Improvement: Learning and improving is a passion of mine … I feel I must improve the world and make it a fairer place – when I was just 13 years old, I wrote to the Prime Minister with ideas on how to clean the sooty buildings in London – you may remember they used to look black.

Venturing into new territories:  I say ‘YES’  incase I miss out out on a golden opportunity. This means I am always busy! In my life I’ve been Mayoress of Worthing, A twice-elected Borough Councillor, a Charity Founder (planning to relaunch), Campaigner and a successful business owner.

The dilemma of values

There may be values that you feel so passionately about that they interrupt your focus. My dilemma is that I say YES to so many opportunities that I can lose focus. Therefore venturing can sometimes become a weakness. In 2016, I did all of the above, plus I moved house, was studying towards the ILM L7 Executive Coaching and Mentoring and running a business. As a consequence, I suffered from stress (a common mental health issue) which manifested itself in dangerously high blood pressure and terrible gout – I couldn’t walk for weeks. A lesson learned.

I am happier when I am with people who share some or most of my values. If I’m not with people who share my values, then I’m thinking about how I can escape and get back to my values and be happy. And you? Take five and think about it.

My inner desire for a fair world means that poor customer service infuriates me. I often wonder at what point a some corporate business leaders decide their valued customers stop deserving the best.

Promoting values means that you may put off potential business who don’t buy into you – but do you really want that kind of business? If your values don’t align, chances are your relationship will be of an uphill struggle anyway – we only get one life.

Body talk

Emotions are a great way to discover values. Next time you are feeling down – ask yourself ‘why’? You might be fighting against unconscious values – your inner scripts.

Although, for your mental health, it is best to spend time with people who share your values – sometimes it is also good to be with people who challenge your values. If you stick with like-minded people all the time, you can end up with: “If you Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You Always Get.” Diversity leads to innovation, therefore, some uncomfort is good. No pain – no gain as they say!  The secret is knowing what is healthy or unhealthy so being mindful of your emotions is a strong indicator.

I went into local politics to make a positive change (as most councillors do) eight years ago and have decided to stand down as a Borough Councillor this year because local politics doesn’t align with my values. I find I often leave a meeting feeling frustrated or disappointed. Instead I have chosen to focus studying Transactional Analysis (TA) which I am passionate about so I can apply it to both my businesses and watch them and my clients’ flourish.

Working with people who share at least some of your values is essential for mental-health and well-being

We spend a third of our life at work, therefore it is essential to work with a team who share your values or at least some of your values. This is as important for employees as it is for leaders. Mental health is high on the agenda and everyone is responsible for looking after their own mental health as well their colleague state of mental health.

A useful tip for avoiding stress for employees and employers … If you are applying for a new job, take time to study the values. Do they align with your core values? If not, the chances are that you will be unhappy at the firm provided that the firm lives by it’s values. If you are interviewing new employees for a job, it is useful to ask how the candidate has lived your core values. This for one will demonstrate if they have thoroughly researched your website. It will also help you understand if the potential employee buys into your values. It is easier to train an employee to provide the right skills than it is to buy into values.

So, what are your values? A summary …

It is a useful exercise to take time out and reflect who shares your vision and values and who limits or constrains you. Since I have been transparent about my core values  I have attracted clients that are a joy to work with.

I tailor my values to each business – similar to how you should tailor your promotional campaigns for marketing segments.

If you already have a team of employees and you sense friction, it is a sign that your company culture would benefit from transforming and hiring a coach will be beneficial here.

Promoting your values is as important as promoting your services – your values are part of your USP

Promoting your values is as important as promoting your business services – values are part of your USP.

I hope the above is useful. If you feel that coaching and mentoring could help you dig deeper and discover your values or you would like help promoting your values, I would be pleased to discuss this with you.

Leadership Excel values are here

The Brand Surgery® values are here.

Happy New Year!