Tag Archives: values and needs

Crises: Opportunities to Get Clarity About Your Values

DSCN0244“Big rocks” are those areas of your life that are most important. My big rocks include my family (including furry family members), my marriage, my health and personal growth, my friends, and my business. I spend most of my time and energy on my “big rocks.” Sometimes I must choose which rock is most important. When that happens, I view it as a self-knowledge learning opportunity.

This past Monday I was scheduled to work with two coaching clients. However, when I had lunch with my mother at her assisted living facility, it was very apparent that the tumble she’d taken out of her bed the day before had left her in significant hip pain. I had been told that an x-ray of her hip was scheduled for that afternoon. So, I returned her to her room after lunch and set off to call the first client.

Before making that call I checked with the doctor’s office to verify that it would in fact happen that day. I didn’t want Mom hurting for long. And, I was concerned that she might actually have fractured her hip. I was given the phone number of the imaging company that would do the x-ray, and  was told they’d never received the order, from either the assisted living facility or from the doctor’s office. There I was, due to call a client in ten minutes and in the middle of an administrative debacle regarding my mother’s care.

I was at a choice point between two of my “big rocks”: my family and my work (means of fiscal survival). Plus I was mad as hell! What to do? The super-responsible worker part of me was on auto-pilot, proceeding with the work, planning to make that call. That part of me wanted to be the reliable, conscientious coach, a person of high integrity. But, when I factored in my emotional state (mad as hell!), I quickly came to the conclusion that I was not in a good place emotionally, and my ability to be the attentive source of support my client needed and deserved had been compromised both by my feelings of anger and my concern for my mother.

Looking back, I realize that what had emerged in that crisis was awareness of my strong value of working with integrity and my equally strong value of family. Awareness of those values and the weight of those values helped inform my decision to cancel my coaching client and return to help my mother get the care she needed. And, I also learned that family trumps work anytime!

What values are guiding your decisions? Times of crisis, difficult as they are, can in hindsight be great opportunities for awareness of your most important values. Knowing  your values arms you to make good decisions.

**If you are curious about learning more about your values, I would be happy to send you a copy of a “Values & Needs Exercise” I received in coach training with Coach Approach. Email me to request that exercise at debbie@debbiebowie.com.

Whose Values Are Affecting Your Actions?

Homeownership -- A Value or Not!

A client asked me to coach her so she could get more clarity about whether or not to move from her home into a condo or an apartment. Within the first session it was apparent that she had never loved owning a home, that she had many mixed feelings about the responsibilities of home ownership, and that she’d once been very happy when she’d lived in an apartment. As the coaching progressed she gained greater awareness of the reasons for her mixed feelings about home ownership. Still, she sat on the fence.

I expressed curiosity about her fence sitting, despite real evidence that she’d not been a happy homeowner and she had had a positive experience with apartment living. She told me that one reason she was still undecided was that she feared that she was overlooking something important about homeownership. Fear was a factor keeping her in your home.

My client had lived in her house for over 20 years, long enough to discover the real value of home ownership. I asked her where that concern was coming from. She told me that many of her friends were urging her to stay in her home, and were cautioning her against selling her home and moving to an apartment. One friend was particularly adamant about the value of owning a home.

Apparently my client was surrounded by friends who placed a high value on homeownership. Their perspective was that owning a home was preferable to apartment or condo living. Because a number of those friends were saying the same thing, they were people she loved and whose opinions she trusted and respected, and they often shared similar values and viewpoints, she began to question her own perception of homeownership.

After some discussion my client agreed that she’d really had ample time to discover the hidden joys of homeownership. It was clear to her that unlike her friends, homeownership is not high on her list of values. She even admitted that she’s not a “traditional” homeowner. Her perspective on home ownership, unlike the positive perspective of her friends, was that owning a home was a lot of work and cost a lot of money. She had been stuck sitting in indecision because she questioned her own values and perspective about homeownership in the face of strong opposition by her friends.

It’s easy to be swayed by the opinions of others if you aren’t clear about your values. Are you living according to your values? Are you even aware of what they are? Many people are not. And, sadly many people are living out the values of important others, wondering why they aren’t very happy. Coaching is a great option to get clear about your values and needs, to discover what floats YOUR boat, and to put your and what really matters to you into perspective. Get a coach and get on with YOUR life.

Self-Knowledge: The Key to Creating a Life That Fits

How well do you know yourself? I have done lots of self-help exploration, therapy and coaching, and I am amazed that I can still discover things I don’t know about myself. For example, I’m at the beach with my mother. I just happened to schedule our trip on the week of the East Coast Surfing Championship. So, there are surfers everywhere! It’s been such fun to watch the surfing, see the surfers hauling their boards to and from the water, cramming boards into elevators, and riding bikes with boards in their arms.

As I’ve observed the surfers I’ve noticed similarities among surfers, and have become fascinated with deciphering the “type” of person who is drawn to surfing. What I’ve seen so far is that males dominate the sport. Most are young, slender, physically fit (great bodies!), medium height, and they have great balance and persistence. This is a sport dominated by young, athletic, focused, independent men who are not deterred by being knocked down by waves. They keep getting back up over and over again, perfecting their technique. Surfers are not quitters. They fall. They get back up. I wonder how this translates into the rest of their lives. What effect does that level of commitment to their sport have in their personal and professional lives?

Today as I gazed at surfers from my hotel window, it occurred to me that my fascination with surfers is not an isolated event. There have been other times when I’ve gotten a “type” of person in my sights and have watched them with the curiosity of a detective. I’ve been aware that I love watching people, observing their behavior, and trying to make sense of it. But today I learned that though I love watching people, what really floats my boat is looking for patterns, similarities among people committed to the same type of endeavor. What’s the profile of a surfer, a dancer, a doctor, an entertainer? What do members of the type have in common physically, mentally, emotionally and in their values?

Being a curious observer is who I am. It probably initially germinated from my need for safety, for the shy little girl that I was to make sense of her world and be able to predict how others would behave. Now that behavior reflects my commitment to the value of respect. I respect others for who they are, and enjoy observing them living their lives and their passions.

Why is this little piece of self-knowledge important? The more I know about myself, my values and needs, the more equipped I am to make good decisions on my behalf. With self-knowledge I can be clear when it’s in my best interest to say no to a request for my time. I can make good decisions in my personal life and about the direction of my business. I can make good choices about where to put my energy and with whom to socialize. Self-knowledge makes creating a life that fits possible.

Watch yourself today. What lights your fire? What blows out the flame? Make increasing your self-knowledge your new commitment, and you’ll be better able to design the life you really want to have.