…and what makes you pull the covers over your head and hope it all goes away?
When my relationship with The Italian ended after five years, I was devastated. Heartbroken doesn’t even begin to describe what I felt in the aftermath. I was left with nothing. I had no job, no friends, no life. I had to completely reinvent myself. And part of that process was (please don’t laugh) going to see a life coach.
It was a process that was both confronting and enlightening. I discovered more about myself in those few months than I had in, well, forever. One activity that I found particularly epiphanistic was uncovering my personal values, or as my coach liked to describe it: “What gets me out of bed in the morning”.
Even after five years, those values still resonate and I still use them to pinpoint why, how and when I am happy and zen, or conversely, unhappy and out of synch. Their presence gets me out of bed in the morning, and explains why, sometimes, I simply want to stay there.
I jump out of bed when I get to learn, or share what I know or have learned with others. This value explains why I’m always learning new things; why I change jobs and careers often and why I choose roles linked with education, however tenuously; why I have three degrees; and why I like new technology and reading about new ideas and perspectives, whether fiction or non-fiction. Learning is living for me.
I want to pull the covers over my head when I feel or believe that my knowledge or expertise is not valued or wanted, or when I am stagnating because I am not learning anything new. Not learning is the equivalent of my psyche being starved.
I jump out of bed when I get to take the lead on projects or initiatives, or when I am led by a competent leader. This value explains why I am so passionate about the qualities and characteristics of good leaders, and why I can easily articulate what these particularities are, and what they look like in action. It also explains why being bossy is one of my favourite things to do (and yes, I’m well aware that being bossy isn’t necessarily leading…!).
I want to pull the covers over my head when I am sidelined or ignored on projects or initiatives where I should be leading because I have the knowledge, skills and experience to do so. Or when I have to endure incompetent leadership, and am powerless to make a difference to influence the situation positively. Or when people won’t let me bossy when the situation warrants it (had to sneak that one in).
I jump out of bed when I get to discuss, converse with, convince, negotiate, persuade, talk, listen to and solve problems and challenges with others. This communication can be verbal, written, or visual and about abstract or concrete concepts and ideas. Dialogue and interaction makes me zing.
I want to pull the covers over my head when conversations are one-sided, and what I have to say is discounted, disrespected or shut down. Or if I have to work alone. That’s like death by a thousand silences.
Freedom of Choice
I jump out of bed when I get to choose what I do and who I do it with. Essentially, I am a free spirit. I will not be contained.
I want to pull the covers over my head when I feel like have limited or no choice about what I am doing, or who I’m doing it with. Or if I perceive that I have been manipulated into doing a task or a activity. Or feel like I have been backed into a corner and forced into a decision or action. Or when I don’t have a say.
Generosity of spirit
I jump out of bed when I get to be generous with others. This could be anything from giving to charities, connecting others to needed information, introducing like-minded people to each other, supporting causes and events, to sharing knowledge and information, or giving advice. If I can help, I will.
I want to pull the covers over my head when I feel like my generous nature has been taken advantage of. Or if I feel used. Lack of reciprocity really gets up my nose.
My values are my compass
My values keep me true, strong and centred. I know that if something isn’t working for me, one or more of my values is being violated. The worse I feel, the more likely it is that all values are out of sync, and I need a realignment. A realignment involves examining the work I am doing, the people in my life and the activities I am involved in. And it often means reevaluating current arrangements, and sometimes cutting people loose.
My values, therefore, are an articulation of who I am and what I stand for.
They are the most valuable things I own.