Howard Stanten MPT, CPCC
When we are in-sync with our highest values, we are happy, in flow, and at peace. When we are in conflict with our values, we feel unhappy, self-conscious, and unsettled.
Take the example of the manager whose top values are honesty and fairness. She meets with a direct report and speaks with candor about what is going well and what needs improvement. She gives him an opportunity to speak honestly to her and sends him on his way with new resources to help him succeed. All is good in the world.
Same scenario, except the manager has just been lambasted by her boss. She meets with the same direct report and ignores what is working well, tells him he needs to find a way to improve ASAP, and sends him on his way, tail between his legs. She feels anxious and disturbed.
First scenario: values honored: at peace. Second scenario: values dishonored: unsettled.
Yes, and…If it were only this simple.
YES, do become intimately familiar with your values. YES, frequently assess if you’re acting in harmony with your values, especially at those times when you are feeling uncomfortable in your own skin.
AND THEN, watch out for beguiling saboteurs, those voices in your head that scream you’re not good enough, smart enough, credentialed enough, creative enough…
You see, saboteurs are experts at making themselves look like your values. Following the voice of a saboteur posing as your best and highest self leaves you feeling like you are in conflict with your values; unhappy, self-conscious, and unsettled.
My top value is integrity. Starting out as a coach, I couldn’t get out of my own way as I stepped into the world of building my business through networking. What I thought was my integrity value was telling me, “You are lying to your potential clients. You’re not a coach, you only have a handful of clients. You’re wanting to be a coach but certainly don’t have the experience to back it up.”
My coach pointed out to me that my hyper achiever and perfectionist saboteurs we’re having a field day posing as my integrity value. Initially, I didn’t get it.
He asked me, “What is your intent?”
I responded, “I have a gift I want to bring to the world. I can see other people’s magnificence and reflect it back to them in a way that gets them into action around what they really want.”
“Does that feel like a lie, like you’re unqualified?" My coach asked.
“No. It feels like I am doing exactly what I’m here to do.”
When those words came out of my mouth, the saboteurs scattered like cockroaches. I understood that my saboteurs had so distorted what it meant for me to “be in integrity,” that it would never be possible for me to succeed as a new coach.
Connecting to my intent, allowed me to get in-sync with my integrity value and start building my business with the confidence of someone who knew he could make a positive difference in people’s lives.
So, the next time it seems like you’re honoring your highest values but you’re feeling unhappy, self-conscious, and unsettled, ask yourself, “What is my intent?” Get connected to that. Then, take a look back at your highest values. If you’re feeling happier, more in flow, and at peace, seize the day! And, go out into the world and start doing the good work only you can do.
Howard Stanten MPT,CPCC is an Executive Leadership and Professional