A Coaching Power Tool created by Mukesh Sharma
(Executive Coach, INDIA)
Every time a value is born, existence takes on a new meaning; every time one dies, some part of that meaning passes away. Joseph Wood Krutch
What are Values?
To value something means to place importance upon it. Anything that you hold dear in life can be termed as a Value. Life values can be divided into two parts – means value and ends value. Love, Family, Money are common values described by people. Out of these love is the end value, an emotional state that one desires. Whereas Family. Money are means value. They are a way to trigger the emotional state one desire. For eg, if you ask the questions ‘what does family give you?’, ‘what does money really mean to you?’ – The result could be Love, security, happiness etc. We should focus on the ends value because that is what we want to experience.
It is absolutely true that we are constantly motivated to move toward pleasurable emotional states. However it is also true that we value some emotions more than others. For example, what are the emotions that will give you the most pleasure – Love or Success? Freedom or Intimacy? Adventure or Security?
These pleasurable states that we value most are the ‘Moving-Toward’ values because these are the emotional states that we will do the most to attain. Some of these values are:
Love, Success, Freedom, Intimacy, Security, Adventure, Power, Passion, Comfort, Health.
It is very important to understand that we do not value all these values equally. Usually there are preferences. We should understand this hierarchy because they control the way we make decisions in each moment. Some people value comfort over passion, or freedom over security, or intimacy over success.
We need to realize that we must accomplish our highest values first and there is always a way to accomplish all our values simultaneously.
Just as there are emotions we want to experience because they are pleasurable, we also have a list of emotions that we will do almost anything to move away from. Sometimes, a Moving-Away-From value can be much stronger than a Moving-Toward value and thereby impacting our decision making. For eg, I could have honesty as a Moving-Toward value and avoiding pain as the Moving-Away-From value and avoiding pain is more important than honesty. In some situations, if telling the truth results in pain for the person, he may not tell the truth at all and keep quiet (unless he is asked for directly). The relative levels of pains we associate with certain emotions will affect all of our decisions.
Some examples of these values are:
Rejection, Anger, Frustration, Loneliness, Depression, Failure, Humiliation, Guilt
Similar to Moving-Toward values, we will have a hierarchy of values here as well and it is important to understand this hierarchy as it would affect all the decisions that one make.
How to discover your current values?
All you have to do to discover your own values is answer one simple question; “What is most important to me in life?” Brainstorm the answer to this question and you will be able to come up with the list of your values.
Change your values, and you change your life
This is a very powerful concept which can bring a profound shift in someone’s life. You can literally change the way a person thinks, feels and behaves in virtually every area of their life simply by consciously selecting or redirecting the order and content of their values hierarchy system. Could this be done? Yes, if one truly wants to achieve what he wants to achieve, then this can be done. ‘what do my values need to be in order to create my ultimate destiny, in order to be the best person I could possibly be, in order to have the largest impact in my lifetime’. Look at what values need to be added and what values need to be eliminated.
The Coach can guide the client on the following:
- List down all the Moving-Toward values.
- The client can then list these values in the order of their priority. These can be very revealing. It highlights whether the client’s decisions are in line with their top values. The client can understand why she heads in a direction that she does on a consistent basis. By seeing the hierarchy of the values, the client can understand why sometimes she has difficulty in making decisions. This can happen if there are contrasting values lying near each other.
- Once the client is aware of her values and their priorities, she can also find out the values of her near and dear ones as this will help her to have insight into their decision making.
- Help the client to relook at their values and decide a) what values to add b) what values to remove c) whether the hierarchy needs to be changed. Some questions that can help are:
Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins