As 2018 ends and we come into a new year, now is a good time to “get on the balcony” and reflect on a few questions:
- Where are you?
- Where would you like to be?
- What powerful intention can you set to make 2019 a transformational and purposeful year?
We know our Values lead us to our Purpose. In all my years of leadership consulting, I have found that most leaders are not conscious of their values. The consequence of this is that we may live unconsciously from our “hidden” values, often in a reactive way. The key is to be aware if our higher order values are being sabotaged by our hidden values driven by our fears. Values like ambition, being liked, respect or fairness – although all beautiful values - may be blocking our growth if the values are driven by limited beliefs (e.g. fairness – “life is unfair, I have to rescue others”; respect “I am not respected”)
Becoming aware of the life story that formed our Values
The first place to start is seeing how our values are (unconsciously) formed by our life experiences - whether our basic needs were met or unmet [physiological, safety, love/belonging and self-esteem (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs]). Most of our beliefs were formed when we did not yet have language to make meaning of an experience (0-7 years old). All we experienced was pleasure or pain. This means that often our adult reactive triggers are memories of these past childhood experiences, especially those where we felt unsafe, unloved or not good enough.
This is where the saying “Show me the boy of seven, and I’ll show you the man” comes from.
Turning a trigger into a transformation
The good news from brain science is the discovery of “neuroplasticity” – the ability of the brain to rewire itself. These past perceptions and beliefs can actually be rewired. How? Through a process of self-awareness and self-transformation. It is not that the event did not happen; but the meaning that we give to this event is our choice.
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. And in that space is our power to choose our response. In that response lies our growth and our freedom
Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
In our choice lies our growth and our freedom. This is how we transform our limiting beliefs and embrace our fears. When we get on the balcony, can we give new meaning to the life experience in terms of how it has served me to become who I am today.
Here is an exercise to help shift your mindset:
List at least 20 benefits to any life experience you deem is “wrong”. Read over the list, connecting with each benefit in your heart. At the end, ask yourself “Who have I become as a result of the life experience of….”
Can you see how this life experience has served you? In that choice, of a new belief or “knowing” about how this upset has served you in your life, is freedom from your ego trying to protect you, the natural outcome being stepping into your higher Self.
This is where we can “self-transform”. The opportunity is to embrace each of our triggers and fears and by reframing and letting go of an old belief, an “old story”, it brings our growth and our freedom.
A key piece is to also thank the belief. It has served you. It has kept you safe and gotten you to where you are today. Gratitude.
Reflecting on 2018
A great exercise for the new year is to reflect on 2018 so far. These questions will help you realign with your values and Purpose. During your time off, spend some time in reflection with these transformational questions:
- What are your top 3-5 Values now?
- What are you proud of in 2018? Which values have you lived more fully? What can you celebrate?
- Score each Value on a scale of 0-10, being lived in all areas of your life.
- What would a “10” look like? What would be different for you?
- What belief keeps you stuck?
Then it’s important to Set your Intentions for 2019. When you are out for a walk, meditating or creating space for yourself, ask:
- What would you love to create in your life for 2019?
- Which value(s) would make this most possible?
- How well are you living this value(s) now (give yourself a score from 0-10)? What would be different if you were a ‘10’?
- What is the belief that keeps you at your current score?
- 2019 Intention: To step into this one value more fully and courageously, what is one affirmation that can support this one value. Practice this affirmation morning and night when there is easy access to the subconscious. An affirmation may be - I am enough, I live in abundance, I am loved, etc.
With neuroplasticity, remember, we can rewire the way we think. If we keep doing what we have always done, we will always get what we have always got. Saying your affirmation helps to rewire the neuropathways and retrain the brain
Practice, practice, practice
How do we make this New Year’s intention sustainable? We all know it takes more than a promise to oneself, it takes a shift in mindset, deep within our Iceberg. This is the purpose of the Values Journal. The exercises in this blog are contained within the Values Journal - a monthly practice in becoming a Purpose-led, Values-guided leader (and human being).
We are holding a Values Journal Coaching Masterclass where we demonstrate how to create a practice of becoming highly conscious of our core beliefs and values that can lead us to making an even bigger difference. If you are interested in this, please register your interest.