Knowing Your ValuesJun 14, 2023
What are your values? Do you know? A lot of people talk about values. It certainly become a buzzword in today's world, but not many people know what values truly are.
Your values are simply what’s important to you. They're what motivate you, they’re what demotivate you, and they're what you'll put energy and resources into. They're not necessarily what you like or what you enjoy doing. They're just important to you.
Here's an example. I had a client who was very meticulous about getting his paperwork done on time. And he said, I hate it. I hate doing my paperwork. I hate filing it. It's my least favourite thing that I do in my business. And I said, yeah, but, but do you do it? And he said, yes, it is important to me.
It was a value to him, but he didn't enjoy doing it. I don't enjoy doing my paperwork, but I do it because it's important. A lot of people confuse their values with simply what they enjoy doing or with things that sound like they should be important.
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I was at a business training event several years ago, and one of the exercises that the trainer had us do was to list out our values. I would say that out of the hundred of us in the room, probably 95% of us wrote down, respect, integrity, honesty, trust. Those are all good things. We can all agree that those are good things and those sound really good, but the problem is that those probably weren't actually our values.
You see, what most people miss in doing values work is that values are unconscious. They are unconscious filters and they help us to filter our reality. What is a filter? Well, we have experiences. We experience things externally outside of us. Right now, you listening to this podcast is an external experience.
I'm not in your head. You are listening to me, and this is an external experience. The environment around you, wherever you are listening to this, whether you're driving your car or you're exercising, walking the dog, sitting on your couch, sitting at your desk, wherever you are, whatever is around you is an external experience.
So we take in that experience through the five senses, through pictures, sound, smell, taste, touch, and we take in about 40 million bits of information per second. Now, that number has some variance to it because some people save 40 million, some say 11 million, some say it's 60 million. I just go with the average.
Now you can't consciously be aware of all of that, so you have to filter that information. It comes in through our five senses, and then it goes through a process of being filtered and through filtering the information we delete, distort and generalize it.
We delete things that are not important to us. They're not relevant to our experience. It just gets deleted. Not important. Don't think about it ever again. We distort things. If it's something you haven't experienced before, you will distort it to be like something you have experienced before so that you can understand it.
And we generalize based on what we've learned in the past. Generalization is one of the things that make the human mind so different from other animals. For example, you know what a chair is. At some point when you were just learning words for things, you might have pointed to one and said, “what's that? What's that? What's that? What’s that?” And somebody, a parent, grandparent, an authority figure of some kind said to you, that's a chair.
And maybe you pointed to another one. And you said, what's that? What's up? What's that? And they said, that's also a chair. And very quickly you had the label chair. And from that point on, you knew whenever you saw a chair that it was a chair.
You didn't have to relearn it, you didn't have to ask, “what is that?” You knew it was a chair. You also learned what wasn't a chair, because at some point you would appoint it to something, maybe a table, and you said “chair?" and they said, “no, no, no, no. That's, that's a table.” And now you had a brand new label for table.
We have all of these labels in our minds that we filter information through and you don't have to think about it. It just happens automatically. We delete, we distort, we generalize all of that information coming to us. And we do that by running it through our filters.
And we have several filters; past experiences, memories, language, time/ space/matter/energy, meta programs, decisions, attitudes and values are a filter.
Once we've deleted, distorted, and generalized all of that information through our filters, we’re left with about 126 bits of information. So we've gone from 40 million bits of information to about 126. That's what you are consciously aware of. And then we break that 126 bits into groups of seven plus or minus two.
We store it away for future use, and that becomes an internal representation of the external event, and that is what we respond to. Anything that you're responding to, you're actually responding to what is in your head.
This internal representation determines your state, how you feel about it, your physiology, your behaviour, and how you respond. So values then are a filter, and just like all of our filters, values are unconscious until we can become conscious of them, This means that if you're in a seminar and someone says, what are your values in business?And you write out some nice sounding words, chances are those aren't really your values.
In fact, when I elicit a clients values and without knowing any other context, I can elicit their values and then very accurately predict what is going on in that area of life.
I can look at someone's business values and know if they're making money or not. If they are distracted a lot in their business, if they're floundering, if they're succeeding, I can tell you what's happening in someone's business based on their values. I can do the same in relationships. I can elicit someone's relationship values and tell them exactly what's going on in the relationship, whether it's working or not working, whether they're having a lot of conflict, whether things are going really well.
Values are not just a bunch of nice sounding words that we like. They have true deep meaning, and that meaning has a resonance with us. Now, going back to that seminar I was in, the seminar trainer had his values listed on a giant banner, and I remember at the time thinking, wow, those are really good values.
Because I didn't know what I know now about values work and looking back, those are not the values of that business. Those are very nice sounding words, but they're not their true values, and I can tell that because of how the business is run and how the business is succeeding, those weren't truly their values.
So often people think that what they value is they think they value something, but their behaviour tells a different story. And a persons behaviour tells us everything we need to know.
Now, often if we don't know what our values are or if we don't know the values of the people around us, we assume that everybody values the same things.
Now, how many of you reading this value, honesty? How many of you value honesty in your relationships? I'm gonna take a guess that a lot of, you're probably agreeing right now. But now let me ask you, are you honest in all of your relationships? How honest are you? Do you feel like it's safe to tell the truth in your relationships?
If you're not being honest with the relationships that you're in, then honesty is not really a value to you, or you're carrying a tremendous amount of guilt. The emotion guilt comes from violating our own values. So either honesty isn't really a value to you, which is okay. We're not making any moral judgements on values, or you are dealing with heavy amounts of guilt because you have been violating your own values. Guilt is present to let you know that you're violating your values, that you can do something about it, you can course correct and you can change your behaviour.
Now, let's say we know our values. Let's say you know what all of your values are. If you do not know the values of the people around you, you'll project onto them all of your values and think they value the same things they don't. Oof, that can be a tough pill to swallow. My top relationship values in order of importance are loyalty, honesty, trust, open communication, and respect. Those are my top five in order of importance. If someone breaks my top three, that is a deal breaker. There's no going back from that. And by the way, boundaries are established by our values.
That's where boundaries come from. You have a value of something, there's a boundary around it. Now in knowing my relationship values, it could be very easy for me to assume that everyone around me values the same things.
I remember several years ago I got into a conflict with someone because they violated loyalty. And I was shocked because I thought, how could this person do that? How could they break my loyalty like that? They broke my loyalty and they broke trust. And you know, as I think about it, they broke honesty too. They broke my top three. I thought, how could they do that? I remember saying to my husband, how could they do this to me? How could this person sleep at night knowing what they did? And Gregg said to me, “oh, you think that she has the same values as you? No, you wouldn't behave this way, and if you did, you wouldn't be able to sleep because you would've violated your values. She doesn't have the same values.” Now, this isn't to say that she's right or wrong, or that I'm right or wrong, that my values are better, her values are better or worse, or mine are worse.
She didn't hold in importance the same things that I did. That's why she was able to behave the way she did and carry on with life like nothing happened because it wasn't important to her. So if we're not conscious of our values and if we're not conscious of the values of those around us, we begin to project onto them all of our values and think, well, how can you not think that's important?
Open communication is my number four value. That's very important to me. That's not important to everybody. Some people might have that as their number one value. Some people might think that respect should be higher up in the values hierarchy because it's more important to them. Respect is important to me, but it's not as important as the four above it.
Fun is important to me in relationships. My relationships need to be fun. I need to laugh in relationship with people, however, it's not in my top four or five values, so even though that's important to me, it's not the most important thing to me. For someone else, fun might be their number 1 value.
Now in business, I have a whole different set of values for my business, and I have a different set of values for health and for spirituality. Every aspect of your life has a different set of values, and these values together combined create your life values. By the way values really do become our rules in life. They're the rules that govern our behaviour. We all have rules that we live by, whether you're aware of them or you're not aware of them.
You might have heard the saying before, there's honour among thieves. Now, it's not that thieves have no values, they have different values than myself and, well, I assume that the people reading this blog. People do tend to gravitate towards people who share similar values. So there's probably a lot of affinity between your values and the people you're closest to.
Something that was interesting to me today, I was talking to a really close friend of mine and we were talking about our values and she said, well, I know your values, and she listed off my top four values in relationships. She knew them, and I was blown away. I didn't know that she knew that about me, and I felt so honoured that my friend knows me so well. And cares about my values, that she knows my values. She could just rattle them off one by one and knew exactly what they were.
And then I thought myself to myself. After that conversation, I thought to myself, do I know hers? And I could probably take a really good guess at a lot of them, but I don't actually know.
So I went back to her and I asked her, what are your values? I would like to know them so I can make sure that I uphold them and respect your values. So after this conversation with her today and feeling so seen and cared for, that she knows what my relationship values are. I want to know what their relationship values are. I know the values of my clients because I work with my clients and I elicit their values and I help them sort through their own values.
By the way, if you are getting into any sort of business partnership or if you're already in a business partnership, it would be a great idea for you to have your business values elicited. Now, don't do them with just anyone. I would suggest to either reach to me or find a NLP master practitioner or trainer to take you through the values process. But if you're in any sort of business partnership, you need to get really clear on your values.
Several years ago, I was working with a group of people who were co-owners of a business that they wanted to franchise out and they couldn't agree on anything. And so I was brought on in a consulting role to help them get really aligned and clear on their values so they could agree to the terms of these con terms and conditions of the franchise agreement they were creating.
Not many people spend time doing this. You have to get really clear on your values with your business partners. And then you decide what are the values that we're going to agree on? So each of you will have, let's say there's two of you in business, each of you will have your own set of values for business and what's important to you in that business.
But you also need to consider what do we want the values of this business to be? And then that has its own set of values. Now we go through a process of aligning your individual values with out of the business so that everyone's on the same page, but we don't stop there. Then we go to the next tier in the business.
If you have a team under you, who is that next tier of management? And we get their values aligned with the business values, and then the team below them, we get them aligned with the business values. And imagine a business where all the ducks are in a row. All swimming towards the same destination, all working together in harmony.
That's a business where everyone is talking the same language. They're working towards the same goals and objectives. And you know, I always say it's like getting your ducks in a row, but it’s really more like a peloton.
Not the fancy bike you might have in your home, but I have one. I love it. It's fabulous. But I mean, when you see professional riders out riding in a Peloton, and they are so in sync and the momentum of the riders is pulling the ones behind them forward. If you've ever ridden in one or if you have ever watched one, the riders who are at the front are doing the most work and they're pulling the ones behind them.
Whoever is at the back of the Peloton isn't working as hard and they keep switching positions, right? So everybody gets a chance to take a break and everyone has to work the hardest for a while, and everyone gets the easiest role for a while and they keep rotating.
But how this relates to values is that they work together in sync. And if you watch them, they are cycling so closely together in that unit that they look like one unit riding together, and they really are in perfect sync and harmony. That's what you want for your teams and business.
That's what a values alignment will do for your business, and I've seen it happen over and over and over again, but it's not just business.
Let's look at how this relates to your relationships. Imagine you and your partner with perfectly aligned values and how beautiful that relationship would be that now the two of you are working together in harmony towards the same common goals and purpose.
How amazing would that be? How would you like that for your relationship? So this is something I don't just do with my business clients. I do this with relationship clients as well; aligning values so that both parties are moving the same direction. And then how about if you have kids? Getting your family values and getting your family unit all on board with the same values.
Now, here's a hint. If your values are not in alignment, you won't be achieving your goals and you'll have a lot of conflict in your life. If you're not in alignment, if your values are not in alignment in your relationships, you're dealing with a lot of conflict and issues.
If the values of your business are not in alignment, you're not achieving your goals, you're not going in the direction you want, you probably feel like you're spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere, and you're probably not really making any money. Maybe you're making some money, but not the kind of money you want.
If your health values are not in alignment, then you're probably not healthy. So, In any area of your life, and you could do this now, just look at any aspect of your life if you're not living it the way you want, if you're not seeing the results you want in that area of your life, chances are your values are not aligned or there's a conflict within your values system.
Through doing this values alignment process, we can change it. We can get rid of the conflicts, we can realign your values. And then we set goals that you feel very compelled towards achieving, and it becomes easy to achieve those goals.
It's like suddenly you are at the back of that Peloton and you are just catching that drag and you're getting pulled forward and you don't have to work as hard anymore. That's what a good values hierarchy will do for you. How would that be in life?
To learn more about values and to find out your values, book a consultation call with me: https://live.vcita.com/site/terihollandco/online-scheduling?service=jr5vk02nyi7kv2jo
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