The first time I thought about values and beliefs was in my early 20s.
I was sitting in a large conference room with other students circling words like ‘relationships’, ‘love’, and ‘freedom’ on a rather uneventful piece of paper. I don’t remember which values I chose back then. And because I forgot, I remember repeating this exercise again and again over the years, because I believed it was important.
I failed. My real values remained hidden and so I kept asking myself what I really wanted and what I was actually great at. The question of ‘what do you want to do with your life?’ seemed to be the one I would circle back to every single time I thought about values.
Beliefs were different. It took me a great deal longer to see them. As it turned out, my beliefs were the underlying wheels of the clockwork machinery that happened to be the creation of my life. And so the question that came with my beliefs was always ‘why do you experience what you experience?’
Beliefs would give me context as to the reasons for my current living reality and how I’ve created it. Why I had not been able to help my parents consolidate their fights. Why every time I argued with my mother I was doing more damage than actually helping. Why none of my romantic relationships had been working until my mid-20s.
I mention the questions because I want to remind you that you, too, are not here to find the answers. You’re here to find a better question to live into…
Q1: What do you want to do with your life? = Values
Q2: Why do you experience what you experience? = Beliefs
In this article, I want to help you understand your values and beliefs right. I want to help define your values and see your beliefs as clear as your hand in front of you.
Because once you do… oh my, the results will be unbelievable!
What Are Values?
Let’s do values first. It’s important to get values right because when you do, you’ll never again wonder what ‘job’ to go for in your life. You’ll never wonder again ‘what type of client’ you want to help most. Decision-making will become so easy, that it may just take a second.
I say this because the moment I got my values right, I fell in love with them. So much so, that I got myself a wristband designed for it. I started living them.
Our core values are our guiding light - they help us make decisions, take action, create a life of meaning and purpose. They provide the clarity and direction in our lives. The more you understand and honor your personal values, the easier it is to follow the path towards your dream life and career.
One day I asked myself,
What if I lived these values fully? What would my life look like?
My answer turned into one year of traveling to 10+ countries, falling in love every single month, doubling my work performance while cutting my working hours in half. I created my first online program, I met my future wife and all these things I once thought would take me 30 years to achieve.
So, are you ready to find your values and flip your life around like me?
How To Define Your Core Values
The first step in defining your values is easy. For now, I’ll use the freely available material on the internet like Brene Brown’s Values list.
- 1Go through the values list below.
- 2Write down the 10 words that resonate most with you. Feel free to add any value that is important to you even if it's not in the provided list.
- 3Once you have them, eliminate 5 of those 10 that you can do without if you had to. Ask yourself: If I had to remove one value from this list, which one would it be? Repeat this exercise until only 5 are left.
- Personal Development
- Love of Career
If you did this right until here, your top 5 list should look like this:
Congratulations! You've identified your core personal values. Now, let's take it a step further!
Once you have your 5 core values, it’s time you make them uniquely yours! Remember your values will function as your decision-making compass.
Take your top 5 values and make them doable.
What I mean by that is make them an action, rather than a noun.
When you make them actionable, you’ll know exactly what to do when you see and think of them.
The last step is to define what they mean for you. Only when you know what your values mean can you fully live into them.
Following the example from Step 2, here’s how it could read:
Congratulations! You’ve defined your core values. You can also use this simple 3-step exercise with your coaching clients if they’re in need of it too.
The last and arguably most important part is to live with your values.
What Are Beliefs?
The second part of understanding your values and beliefs is uncovering just that… your beliefs!
Beliefs are the underlying thought patterns that make sure you stay the way you are. They’re the reason why you do the things you always do and repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again.
Beliefs are also the ultimate tool for change.
Frankly, I’m still working on beliefs, but after trying out a few tools with my clients I can say with confidence that this particular one is very effective. It comes directly out of the toolbox of Ajit Nawalkha’s Start Your Coaching Business Quest on Evercoach. With this exercise, you’ll uncover your own and your client’s beliefs in less than 10 minutes.
Discovering Your Beliefs
Here’s how it goes. Finish the following sentences.
- 1Business is…
- 2Career is ….
- 3Love is ….
- 4Friendship is …
- 5Abundance is ….
- 6Healing is …
- 7Sales is …
- 8Marketing is …
- 9Success is …
- 10Fear is …
- 11Faith is …
- 12Health is …
- 13Sex is …
- 14Relationships are …
- 15Religion is …
- 16Politics is …
- 17The World is …
- 18I am ….
Here’s an example:
“Love is… not bound to anyone or anything. Love is infinite. It can be felt / spread / experienced regardless of relationship or status. It does not depend on it’s acknowledgement or agreement & returns back whenever it is sent out.”
As you fill these in, it’ll become very clear to you what your beliefs are. Not only that, but I bet you’ll feel very strongly about them. Because you’ve had a lot of thinking about them for so long, I would argue that you’d swear that these beliefs that you hold are not just beliefs, but that they are absolutely true.
Once you’re aware of the beliefs you hold, you can challenge them, change them. Since your beliefs about life are just as made up as everything else (why else would we all have different beliefs?).
Say them out loud and see whether you feel good or bad about the belief when you hear it. The ones you feel bad about are the ones you will want to question and exchange for better ones. Swap them out, try out the new ones. Regardless of how fake it could feel at first, breaking those thought patterns and using new ones is what will help you make the biggest changes in your life.
Difference Between Values and Beliefs
By now, you should have a pretty good idea on the key differences between values and beliefs, but let's make it extra clear.
Values are our guiding principles, they define our behavior and character, and bring clarity on what are the most important things in our lives that are non-negotiable.
Beliefs represent our convictions about things, whether we have proof of it or not. They are the reason we do the things we do, even when we don't understand why we do them over and over again.
By being aware of our values and beliefs, it's easier for us not only to make better decisions aligned to them, but allows us to change negative beliefs that no longer serve us and adopt new positive beliefs instead.
How to Coach Based on Values and Beliefs
To help your clients implement these in their lives, your job as their coach will be to remind them of their newfound values and beliefs.
When they forget their values or don’t remember why something isn’t working, point them back to the very exercise that you did with them as I did with you here. Show them why it feels bad. Remind them of what they value and really care about.
As a coach, your main job is to remind your clients of their brilliance and unlimited potential. Don’t buy into their limiting stories. Once you uncover their beliefs, you’ll know where they come from.
How great do you feel knowing your values and beliefs right now?
Values and beliefs coaching can not only enhance your clients' quality of life, but increase their drive and motivation to achieve any goal they set for themselves.
I’m proud of your hard work today and you should be too. Let me share some final thoughts with you as key takeaways.
Values help you make decisions and live to your full potential. Define them. Make them your own. Write down what they mean. You know you’re there if you see your values and know immediately what to do.
Belies are the machinery that defines the status quo and possibilities you see in your life. Uncover them by writing down what you believe to be true about any area of life. Then change the ones that feel bad with statements that feel great.
Now, go out there, implement this, share it with your coaching clients, and change some lives!