PW 213: What becomes possible when I embody my values in my daily actions?

What becomes possible when I embody my values in my daily actions?

1. Acceptance is confronting your inner experiences without trying to manipulate, control, or avoid them. It is not a surrender, a resignation, or a sign of defeat. Acceptance is a gentle embrace of all that arises within us. Imagine a person who constantly checks their phone for messages, notifications, and updates. They feel an overwhelming urge to know what’s happening and feel anxious when they’re disconnected from the digital world. However, this constant distraction hinders their ability to focus, creates stress, and takes away precious time and attention from their loved ones and personal interests. Acceptance of this technology dependence can help the person make a more conscious and deliberate choice about how they use their phone and technologies instead of trying to control or ignore it. By accepting the value they place on connection and information, they can choose to set limits, prioritize important tasks and relationships, and take a break from the constant distraction of technology. This choice allows them to use technology in a way that aligns with their values and enhances their well-being. What becomes possible when you embody your values in your daily actions? What’s your first thought?

2. Mindful Awareness of Thought is a practice that involves becoming aware of and observing your thoughts as they arise in the present moment, without judgment or attachment. The goal of this practice is to cultivate a non-reactive, detached perspective toward your thoughts, allowing for greater self-awareness and clarity of mind. The beautiful part about Mindful Awareness of Thought is that it allows you to navigate your thoughts with greater ease and clarity rather than being ruled by them. It’s a way to cultivate an inner sense of peace and tranquility, even in the face of life’s storms. Treat your thoughts as passing trains, and watch them come and go without jumping on board. Or picture yourself as a neutral observer of your own thoughts, like watching a play from the audience. Then, reflect on the possible consequences of taking this detached stance toward your thoughts. Like acceptance, Mindful Awareness of Thought creates wiggle room to make valued choices. What becomes possible when you embody your values in your daily actions? What’s occurring now?

3. We humans tend to focus a lot on the future and dwell on the past. This can be beneficial in some cases, such as remembering past mistakes to avoid them in the future. However, being consumed by thoughts of the past and future can also have negative consequences. For example, if you value physical health, you may get discouraged after a disappointing workout session. Focusing on the present moment and compassionately observing your body and sensations can help you continue pursuing your fitness goals. If you value relationships, you may get upset after a fight with a loved one. Focusing on present-moment awareness and compassionately observing your thoughts and emotions can help you repair the relationship and continue pursuing your goal of healthy connections. What becomes possible when you focus on behaviors that reflect your underlying values? What just happened?

4. Self-awareness that transcends individual experiences is a unique phenomenon that requires introspection. It is the understanding that there is a “you” who observes and experiences both your inner and outer world, yet this “you” is separate from your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and the roles you play. From this viewpoint, you are not merely a reflection of your thoughts and emotions but rather the context in which they unfold. However, when you remain trapped in your self-narrative, your life becomes dominated by the scripts you have created about yourself and your past experiences. You are driven by these preconceived notions rather than being able to react to the present moment in a flexible and non-reactive manner that is consistent with your true values. For example, a doctor may have a self-narrative that says, “I come from a long line of doctors. My family expects me to become a doctor. Successful doctors are smart and disciplined. I must be smart and disciplined in order to be a successful doctor.” If the person defines their identity by this narrative, it will shape their behavior and decisions, even if it contradicts their own values. PrivateWork Self Coaching aims to shift this perspective to one of an observer and experiencer of life, enabling the person to make choices based on their values rather than their family expectations. Another example is an employee who may have a self-tale that says, “I come from a family of business owners. My family wants me to start my own business. Good business owners are ruthless and take risks. I must be ruthless and take risks to be a good business owner.” If the employee’s identity is tied to this narrative, it will dictate their behavior, even if it does not align with their values. PrivateWork Self Coaching aims to change this perspective to one of observer and experiencer, empowering the employee to make choices based on their own values rather than their family’s expectations. What becomes possible when you cultivate a life that is true to your values and authentic to who you are? What are you feeling now?

5. The concept of values can often be shrouded in a layer of abstraction, yet it holds immense power over your daily life because values are the guiding principles that shape your sense of self and purpose. A simple yet profound question to help you discover what you truly value is, “If no one knew I was doing this, would it still be important to me?” What becomes possible when you embody your values in your daily actions? What are your opportunities?

6. Are your goals in alignment with your values? Values are the guiding principles that shape your beliefs and inform your choices. They are ever-evolving and cannot be completed or accomplished. Instead, they serve as a compass, leading you down a path that is always in flux, always adapting to new experiences and growth. Goals, on the other hand, are tangible markers of success. They can be checked off a to-do list and they can be a source of pride and validation when they are achieved. They are the end result, the fruit of one’s labor. Yet, they are fleeting, temporary, and incomplete. Once they are accomplished, new ones simply replace them. Are your goals, the tangible markers of your success, truly reflective of your values, the guiding principles of your life? To what extent do you allow your values to inform and shape your goals, and vice versa? What becomes possible when you continuously assess the harmony between your goals and values? What seems to be missing?

7. Values are chosen paths that you have deemed important and meaningful. They are the actions and qualities of actions that you strive to embody in your day-to-day existence. They are not just nouns but verbs and adverbs such as “serve selflessly, speak truthfully, live authentically, lead compassionately, and create joyfully.” And keep asking, “If no one knew I was doing this, would it still be important to me?” What becomes possible when you align your actions with your values? What are you avoiding?

 8. Values are the guiding principles that shape our lives, shaping the way we interact with the world and those around us. They’re not finite destinations to be achieved or completed, like going on a journey. Instead, values are like: growing in empathy with loved ones, building relationships based on trust, nurturing a sense of belonging, deepening bonds with family and friends, and fostering a supportive community. In my work as a coach, I help people understand their values are not limited to feelings such as being stress-free, feeling content, being painless, being happy all the time, or feeling relaxed all the time. These feelings may be fleeting and impossible to control. In fact, striving for a constant state of happiness or relaxation can lead to a stagnant and unfulfilling life, avoiding anything that may cause discomfort or pain, even if it is important. To clarify the true underlying values, I encourage clients to delve deeper by asking questions such as, “If you did feel happy all the time or feel relaxed all the time, what actions would you be taking that you are not taking now?” And conversely, “What actions would you no longer engage in? What kind of person would you like to be in those situations?” This shift in focus to behaviors can provide valuable insight into patterns of experiential avoidance and help realign one’s values with one’s actions. What becomes possible when you focus on behavior that reflects your underlying values? What’s true for you?

9. Imagine Oprah Winfrey is doing a biographical story on your life up to today. The story will showcase a montage of pivotal individuals and events that have shaped your life, accompanied by an in-depth interview with you. How has your life’s journey shaped your sense of identity? Can you reflect on pivotal moments that have influenced the choices you’ve made and the person you’ve become? How have your relationships as a spouse, parent, friend, child, sibling, worker, student, or supervisor impacted your growth and development? What is your ideal scenario as you consider what becomes possible when you focus on behaviors that reflect your underlying values?

10. How have you navigated the challenges of pain, anxiety, and depression, and what role have these experiences played in your life? What values and beliefs drive your purpose and drive your life? What would you like your legacy to be, and what do you hope to be remembered for? Take the next minute to picture the highlight reel of your life and the background narration that would accompany it as you strive to live a life full of purpose and meaning. What’s happening in your ideal scenario?

11. Some people tend to put off valued living until their thoughts and feelings can be fixed and often delay living in alignment with their values until their emotions are under control. For instance, a person might postpone painting, even though it is a critical form of self-expression until they feel more confident in their abilities. Many individuals defer pursuing what is meaningful to them until they believe they are in a better emotional state. For example, a person may hold back on pursuing a passionate project until they feel more motivated, even though creativity is a significant value to them. A person may put off engaging in activities that align with their values until they feel more capable. For example a person may wait to start volunteering until they have more free time, even though helping others is very important to them. It’s not uncommon for people to delay living a life driven by values until their negative thoughts and feelings are managed. For instance, a person might delay traveling until they feel less anxious, even though adventure is of vital value to them. Individuals often put off engaging in valued activities until their mental and emotional state is right. For example, a person might wait to start a business until they feel more secure, even though entrepreneurship is a vital value for them. What is the obstacle or roadblock that inhibits you from embodying your values in your daily actions?

12. Values are not something that can be handed over to others. They are not something that can be achieved or taken away from us by others. They are not about being loved, respected, or included by others. They are not about receiving attention from others. Values are not about pleasing others or living up to their expectations. They are not about being treated a certain way. Values are about the choices we make. They are about the ways in which we choose to act. They are about the qualities of our actions. They are about the ways in which we choose to live our lives. They are personal and unique to us. They are about our own behavior, not the behavior of others. As a coach, I help my clients understand this distinction between values and the way they are treated by others. I help them see that values are not something that can be guaranteed by others. Values are something that can only be guaranteed by themselves. By making choices that align with their values, they can live a life of purpose and fulfillment, regardless of the way they are treated by others. What really matters to you that you align your actions with your values?

13. Values hold the key to unlocking the true potential of your existence. They guide you on a journey toward self-discovery, helping you to unearth the essence of who you are and what you want to stand for in life. Your values are the foundation of your existence, shaping the way you live and the type of person you strive to become. Values serve as a roadmap, a beacon of light, illuminating the path to a meaningful and fulfilling life. Committed action is the cornerstone of bringing your values to life. It is through action that you turn your aspirations into reality, putting your values into motion and walking the talk. Values and actions intertwined in a dance of self-discovery, guiding you on a path towards a life lived with purpose, meaning, and fulfillment. What difference does it make that you focus on behaviors that reflect your underlying values?

14. Imagine a world where a “Thought Translator” machine has the ability to tune into the thoughts of someone significant to you, allowing you to hear their every musing. As you focus the machine’s lens on this person, you realize they’re thinking about you. They’re contemplating your values, strengths, significance to them, and your role in their life. It’s a world where you’ve live authentically and become the person you were meant to be. What would you hear them thinking in this world? What would their thoughts reveal about you, the impact you’ve had on their life and the person you’ve become? What’s the risk if you cultivate a life that is true to your values and authentic to who you are, and what’s the risk if you don’t?

15. Consider the people who have impacted your life, recalling memories of their presence, from the direct interactions with your family, friends, and mentors, to the indirect influence of your heroes and role models. These are the individuals who have inspired you, shaped your beliefs and values, and left a lasting impression on your being. Contemplate the essence of their being – the qualities that make them who they are. These are the traits that you aspire to embody, to make your own, and to pass on to others. What adjustments can you make today to embody these qualities and bring your aspirations to fruition?

16. The art of self-reflection is embodied in the exercise of writing your autobiography. As you imagine penning the story of your life, you are transported to a place where you are able to see the person you have become and the journey that led you here. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and allow your mind to wander through the pages of your life’s story. The person you are writing about is the person you have always wanted to be, the person who lived a life full of meaning and purpose, who stood for what was important, and who never lost sight of your values. As you write this in your mind, you are mindful of the themes that run through your life’s story. The choices you’ve made, the struggles you faced, and the triumphs you celebrated all speak to the person you have become. The details of your journey, the small moments that make up the tapestry of your life, are all woven together to create a picture of the person you are proud to be. What wants to happen next that will lead to aligning your actions with your values?

17. The “Miracle Question” is a technique devised by Insoo Kim Berg of the Brief Family Therapy Centre in Milwaukee. It invites the client to embark on a journey of the imagination. As they close their eyes, they imagine a magical transformation occurring in the night, one that banishes present difficulties and replaces them with an idyllic state. What’s occurring now as you focus on behaviors that reflect your underlying values?

18. The human mind is a master storyteller, constantly crafting narratives that shape your perceptions and guide your actions. It is a ceaseless stream of consciousness, filled with evaluations, rules, predictions, and countless other tales. Your mind acts like a word machine, churning out a never-ending stream of words, or like a spoiled brat throwing a tantrum when it doesn’t get its way. It demands your attention and will stop at nothing to capture it, even if it means regaling us with stories that are painful, nasty, or frightening. Some of these stories are grounded in fact, but most are simply your interpretations of the world around you. They are the product of your opinions, beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, and judgments. They inform how you see the world and dictate your actions, shaping your beliefs about what is right and wrong, fair and unfair. The challenge for us is to discern which of these stories are helpful and which are not. To do this, we must learn to recognize the patterns of our own thinking and the motivations behind the narratives our mind crafts. To that end, I invite you to close your eyes and listen to the story your mind is telling you in this moment. Take a moment to reflect on the thoughts and feelings that surface, and consider whether they serve you or hold you back. What are you feeling now?

19. Remodeling a house can often serve as a metaphor for the life changes you face and the choices you make. The foundation of the house represents our core values, while the appliances, paint, and other elements symbolize our goals and actions. The process of remodeling can be exciting and filled with anticipation and planning, but it can also come with unexpected challenges. As you embark on this journey of self-discovery and growth, you may encounter cracks in the foundation of your values, much like discovering a structural issue in your metaphorical home. Ignoring these issues can lead to a fragile and unstable foundation, just as ignoring the cracks in your values can lead to a life lacking in purpose and meaning. However, taking the time to repair and fortify the foundation, even if it means sacrificing immediate desires such as stylish tiles or the latest appliances, will ultimately result in a solid and secure home. This is much like the process of identifying and upholding your values, even when it may not be the easiest or most comfortable path. Living in alignment with your values provides you with a sense of purpose and direction, even in the face of adversity. It allows you to maintain your integrity and live a life that is authentic and fulfilling. It may not always be easy, but the reward is a life of purpose, richness, and meaning congruent with the person you aspire to be. What have you not said as you consider what becomes possible when you focus on behaviors that reflect your underlying values?

20. As I sit here, reflecting upon the tapestry of my life, I am struck by the sheer magnitude of experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today. I am a complex and multifaceted individual, driven by a deep sense of purpose and a steadfast commitment to those I hold dear. However, the journey has not always been an easy one. I have faced numerous challenges along the way, from the pain of losing loved ones to the anxiety and depression that have sometimes threatened to consume me. Yet through it all, I have persevered, drawing strength from my unwavering belief in my purpose and my determination to leave the world a better place than I found it. As I look back upon my life, I am proud of the person I have become. I have played many roles, from spouse to parent, from friend to sibling, from worker to student, and from supervisor to mentor. And in each of these roles, I have striven to be the best version of myself, to bring my unique skills and talents to bear, and make a difference in the lives of those around me. And at the heart of it, a few things are most important to me. My faith, my family, and my commitment to making a positive impact on the world. These are the guiding values that have sustained me through the ups and downs of life, and have given me the strength to continue to push forward even in the face of adversity. So as Oprah interviews me, I’d tell her about the person I have been, the life I have lived, and the choices I have made. I speak of my unwavering commitment to making a difference in the world and the deep sense of purpose that drives me every day. And I will leave her with this one thought, “I am proud of who I am, and I will continue to strive to be the best version of myself every day of my life.” So what’s your insight into the DirectionQuestion, “What becomes possible when I embody my values in my daily actions?”

My Insight