A Coaching Power Tool Created by Kimberly Swanson
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
The terms value and belief are sometimes used interchangeably. This confusion does a disservice to the importance of each word. Values and beliefs are at your core and make you who you are. They are taught, observed, or ingrained in your culture.
You can base your values can on your beliefs, and your beliefs your values. Although they are always interconnected, it is important to remember that they can change and evolve. This change can be an active or passive process and is part of how each value and belief is unique.
Values are qualities you place importance on and act as your guiding principles. They are the characteristics you want to emulate or traits you admire in other people. Most values are positive qualities that serve to make you a better person. These positive traits can empower you and those around you.
Examples of values: honesty, strong work ethic, compassion, creativity, timeliness, leadership, integrity, determination, resilience
At times, what you value may be dis-empowering and have a negative impact on your life. This occurs when you use your values as a standard in which to judge others. The value itself is not negative, but unfairly holding others to your personal set of values can be dis-empowering for both parties. This may be an active judgement of others or a subconscious judgement and reaction. Awareness of your core values is the first step toward releasing this judgement.
Changing a Value
What you value may change with your life experiences. This is most often a passive process where your values evolve over time. The qualities you found admirable as an adolescent may not be the same as those you value today. Values that don’t serve you can fade into the background. They can also grow based on your environment and the people around you.
Yet there are instances when a value will change abruptly after a major event. As example, a coworker’s lack of commitment on a project leads your company to lose that account and with you’re your annual bonus is reduced. This could cause you to place more importance on the values of commitment and teamwork. An event having a deep and personal effect on your life could change one of your core values.
Changing or adding a value can also be an active process. Because values are at our core, it can take time and effort to alter and incorporate a specific value. Once you are aware of your values, you can start to address those you desire to change.
Beliefs are things you hold to be true, but are not always considered as fact by others. Surface and underlying beliefs help define you and can guide you through life. They either help, or prevent, a you from achieving your goals. Positive beliefs help you reach your goals and empower you to move forward. These types of beliefs support you, giving you strength when needed.
Negative beliefs can put fear and self-doubt in your mind. They dis-empower you, holding you back from reaching your full potential. These negative beliefs are often the deepest held beliefs that you may not be aware of. Sometimes the same belief can be both positive and negative, depending on to which extreme it is taken to.
Examples of beliefs: My hard work will be rewarded; I am empathetic to others; I don’t deserve this, or that; it is better to play it safe then to take risks; I am a visual learner; respect all living things.
Changing a Belief
A positive, self-affirming belief may change over time without you realizing it. Years of destructive self-talk, constant perceived failures, or negative reinforcement can morph a positive belief into something negative. It takes awareness and effort to alter a deep-rooted, negative belief. Changing a dis-empowering belief is an active and deliberate process. It requires time, commitment, and the understanding that it is not an easy process.
Self-awareness is the key to understanding your values and beliefs. Taking time to think, or meditate about them will allow you to determine if they are serving you. It is important that they add value to your life and help you become the person you want to be. Thinking about your core values and beliefs should leave you feeling empowered. They should help guide you through life and serve to move you forward in your journey.
- What qualities did you value when you were 18 years old? Do you still value those same things
- What are your top 5 core values? Did these evolve over time or have they remained constant
- What beliefs do you hold that you would you like to change?
- Can you think of a specific example of when your beliefs were empowering? What type of emotions do you associate with that memory?
- Can you think of time when a once positive belief changed to something negative?
Clients can discover their core values and beliefs through exploration and discussion. Awareness will help clients determine if their values and beliefs are serving them. A client’s values and beliefs should have a positive impact on their life.
Not only is it important to help a client become aware of their values and beliefs, but also to build an appreciation in the fact they have the power to change them. Change is scary and altering a long-held value or belief will take time. Throughout this process you may have to remind your client that it is not an easy journey. Learn to recognize when a change is made, and help your clients recognize in themselves.
- What questions may help your client understand the difference between values and beliefs?
- How can you help a client determine if a value or belief is dis-empowering?
- What are some ways to acknowledge your clients progress despite their setbacks?
- How can a client determine if there has been a positive change in their values or beliefs?
ICA Underlying Beliefs Power Tool Module (November 2015)