In this episode, we explore practical steps to align your life with your values, including setting priorities, making informed decisions, and navigating work life challenges. If you've been struggling with work-life balance or seeking more fulfillment in your career, this episode is tailored just for you.
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Episode 2 - How to find your personal values and overcome work life challenges?
[00:00:00] Welcome to Aligned and Thriving, the podcast that gives you strategies for work life balance. I'm your host, Judith Bowtell, and I am so happy to have you join me today. This is our second episode of three that will set the foundation for the conversations we will have on Aligned and Thriving with people who have developed a range of long term strategies to create work life balance that is meaningful to them.
[00:00:28] If you are truly challenged with work life balance or have lost meaning and purpose in your working life. I encourage you to take the time to listen to these three episodes to understand why this is happening and what you can do to make life more fulfilling. In our first episode, we explored the underpinnings of Aligned and Thriving and how it can support you to have a more balanced working life.
[00:00:51] We explored what sits behind our personal value systems. And how we can utilize this to improve our life course. And finally, I introduced you to the processes on how you can connect to your own personal values, which is for me one of the first steps in creating a more balanced working life. You can find more of this at our Aligned and Thriving community on www.
[00:01:14] albanylane. com. au. In this episode, we'll explore more steps that you can take to align our lives with our values. These include setting clear priorities, making informed decisions, and navigating challenges in your working life. These are three areas where my clients report that it is made easier and smoother, once they have greater clarity on their personal values and overall vision for what they want to create in their working lives. So let's get into it. One of the most requested outcomes from my career coaching clients is to have greater clarity in their lives so they can make better decisions and start to act instead of hesitating or floundering or just always feeling stuck.
[00:01:55] That is why I start with finding out what my clients want in their ideal working life, which is from the moment you wake up to the type of environment for your midday work break And finally, how you end your day. Clients use all their senses to describe this ideal day. What do you see? What can you hear?
[00:02:17] What is the air quality like? Etc. And check in regularly with their emotional state. How do you feel features regularly to remind clients to use all the information around and in them to find out what feels good or exciting, expansive? As we outlined in the last episode, taking actions in line with your values can release dopamine, the reward hormone.
[00:02:45] So using our values to determine your priorities sets you up to feel more motivated and experience greater rewards for acting in line with these priorities. For example, someone with personal values of community, philanthropy or generosity may prioritize volunteering to organize a street Christmas party or suggest people make donations to their favorite community service instead of giving birthday presents or gifts.
[00:03:12] They may also be more satisfied working in an organization that has a matched giving program, an assistant where donations can be made through payroll, just as they will be happier living in a place which makes it easy to connect with your neighbors. When they do not have an opportunity to give, contribute, or shape the type of community in which they live, this person may become disinterested in their work, feel lonely, So take some time to review your personal values using the tools you can find online, including at the Aligned and Thriving Community on albanylane.
[00:03:49] com. au. It's also linked in the description. Then review your current priorities. Work, school, home, family, sport, hobbies, friends, church or community, or whatever. and see which feel aligned to your new set of values and which are maybe hangovers from your pre review life. Most of these priorities will have to stay. It is nearly impossible to drop commitments to work and family. Doing so is what gives midlife crises a bad name.
[00:04:22] It will take time to create and identify opportunities to make bigger changes to honor our values and form priorities. For example, one of my long term values is independence, and I wanted to set up and run my own business. However, it took a long time for me to get the resources I needed to cashflow my own business, develop a plan, retrain, upskill, find partners and projects to increase the financial viability of the business, et cetera, et cetera.
[00:04:49] It was about eight, even 10 years after I founded Albany Lane Consulting that I'd been able to start working consistently and full time on the business without having to take on part time work and non aligned projects. Jumping ship into a whole new direction sounds and feels exciting and liberating.
[00:05:10] But we also need to be able to look after ourselves and our dependents and our immediate survival needs. The bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs is food, shelter, security and belonging. So rather than doing a runner from all your responsibilities, I encourage you to focus first on the priorities you currently have that do resonate with your values.
[00:05:33] identify them, and even see how you might enhance your time or commitment to them. For example, if personal development is a value, you may want to find how you can get even more from learning opportunities around you. either in formal education or during your own reading and research. This could include finding podcasts on your topics of interest and bookmark them for your commute, dog walks, your workout time, when you're cooking, or any time when you may be doing something that is otherwise Boring, but could be enhanced by some value led learning or fun.
[00:06:10] Using our values to identify resources to make more of our life enjoyable can start to turn our boat or our vehicle for life towards a more fulfilling direction and builds our confidence to plan and make even harder decisions to bring our lives into alignment.
[00:06:29] But start small with safe, modest steps so that you start flexing your alignment muscles.
[00:06:36] Like any learning journey, it might feel strange and even uncomfortable when we start making small changes to have even greater alignment with our values in the areas of our life we want to prioritize and grow. That is just part of learning and change. The time of conscious competence we need to work through by doing more and more practice.
[00:06:57] It's like when we first get our driver's license. We know what to do, but we do it with a lot of focus and deliberation. After a while, bringing more areas or domains of your life into alignment with your values becomes normal or unconsciously competent. That is like driving a car after several years on the road.
[00:07:18] An almost automatic process that only becomes difficult when circumstances change or you are way out of your comfort zone. This is what happens when clients have done what they can with the situation they currently have and then need to make bigger decisions about how they want to live and work in the longer term.
[00:07:38] They have found that there is more conflict now between their priorities or have found an opportunity to make change if they have the courage. This is an opportunity to use their emotional intelligence and associated skills to evaluate the choices in front of them from both a head or logical aspect.
[00:07:57] And a heart based one. My own opportunity to make a bigger change in my life came up not long after I missed the promotion I talked about in our last episode. The rejection that made me realize I wanted something else in my working life that was more independent and fulfilling. Like many government workers, we went through a race structure and I was offered the choice between applying for a job that paid about the same, but nearly doubled my responsibilities.
[00:08:25] Or taking a modest redundancy. I think you can guess that I took the redundancy and used that opportunity to set up Albany Lane Consulting. And that was kind of easy. The harder part came later when I had to make many more decisions about what the company would actually do. not do and how it would pay the bills.
[00:08:47] Some were easy, but most were hard and took much longer and often left me stuck in indecision as I had not yet developed all of my skills in making value based decisions, but it became easier as I kept working away on my business and company. As I kept practicing and reflecting on what best aligns with the values of courage and compassion that are the basis of the work I do today.
[00:09:11] , Remember, our brains are designed to motivate us to do things that feel right. By doing more things in line with our values, can become more attuned to that right feeling, being openness, buoyancy, expansion, or any other words that connect you to possibility and creativity.
[00:09:32] And we also become familiar with the wrong feeling too. inhibition, heaviness, even depression. Some people may call this following your gut, but this is a gut that you have done the work of self reflection and review and has reconnected to the values that will lead to a more satisfying outcome.
[00:09:53] So when I work on my clients, I liken finding a more satisfying working life to learning to sail a boat. So your boat is made up of all your skills, experiences, talents and resources that you need to navigate your journey. These resources include your values, which I liken to the motor for your boat.
[00:10:13] Even sailboats need a motor on board to help them out when they get stuck and to navigate dangerous areas close to shore or when you're coming into dock. Your motor helps keep you safe, just like your values keep you moving towards your goal. but safely. Once we have worked out what you have on your boat, we turn towards what is your destination.
[00:10:39] So once we have worked out what you have on your boat, we turn towards what is your destination. This does not have to be completely clear. It can be vague or even cloudy or foggy. For example, we need to know if we are sailing to France, Or Tahiti, as they are in conflicting directions from where we are.
[00:10:59] And for me, that's Sydney, so physically they're quite different directions, but they're also quite different feeling places. But we do not need to know where exactly in France we are heading towards. We can work that out as we get nearer and choose between Marseille, Nice or Calais. Again, all very different feeling places.
[00:11:22] We can even widen our view and just say, somewhere in the southern Mediterranean, or somewhere in Western Europe, or thereabouts. However, if we chose Tahiti, we'd be heading in a completely different direction. For me, it'd be heading east, not west. So we need to sort out a few little boundaries to start.
[00:11:44] We can of course change our minds, but using our values can most Get us sitting out in the right feeling direction overall, wherever we choose. It must give us enough scope to know where to point the boat to get sailing so then we can learn what are the sort of challenges you can expect on this unchartered journey.
[00:12:06] Then once we push off, we start heading in that direction, and because we are going somewhere new and unknown, we will eventually find ourselves challenged. This is where we can use values, and our value informed direction for our working life to keep moving forward.
[00:12:23] Probably the best way to explain this is to share a story from my client. Probably the best way to explain this is to share a story from a client. This client wanted to return to freelance life after working in a large corporate, but do it in a way that did not leave her feeling overwhelmed, overstretched and on the verge of burnout as it had before.
[00:12:45] After evaluating her skills, strengths, work life preferences, we reviewed her personal values. From there we did an exercise that asked her to identify an image or images that gave her the same feeling as what she wanted to create in her working life. Now note, I did not say that the image represented or summarised or reproduced what she wanted to create.
[00:13:10] The image or images chosen are intended to provoke the same feeling as what she wanted to feel. Feel in her new working life. This is often challenging for people to do, but with support, it can be done and provides the clarity and confidence we need to make significant changes in our working lives. So my client chose an image from a favorite holiday.
[00:13:34] This for her, this was in Sri Lanka. It was on a track to the beach and her daughter was walking in front of her. It invoked for my client the same rewards that she had when her life was aligned with personal values, independence, peace, wellbeing, and family, her daughter. As she was making the transition to freelancing, my client was planning to work with a colleague who had great skills in her area of expertise, and she thought would be a great value add.
[00:14:06] She even considered bringing him in as a partner. Luckily she had the chance to test this working relationship in developing a proposal for a new major client. She found she had to do most of the driving on the project and he found it hard to comprehend the concepts of business development and sales.
[00:14:24] She felt stuck on what she should do, as on paper he looked like a great asset for a new business. So having heard her frustration, I asked her, does working for him feel like being on that path to the beach? Her answer was an immediate no.
[00:14:40] It feels like being in the airport and boarding has been delayed. It was such a great metaphor for being unaligned with her values. and her vision, and it helped her to make the decision to not proceed with the partnership offer. So this is how my client was able to trust her values aligned vision for her future to help her make the right decisions for her family and herself.
[00:15:03] She felt confident in her decision making. Ready to take actions and proceed with clarity in developing her new working life. So what can we take away from the experiences of myself and my clients in bringing their working lives into alignment with their values? Values can support us to identify our priorities for this and the next stage of our working lives and therefore we can spend more time on effort on what feels satisfying and rewarding.
[00:15:31] Values can help us when we need to make hard decisions.
[00:15:35] Such as those associated with changing our working life. They help us to combine our logical decision making processes with our emotional intelligence to find the right way forward for each of us. And finally, values can support us when we are feeling stuck or facing a challenge. As we start working towards creating a new working life, we can use our emotional clues, anticipate, and embrace challenges as part of the Uncharted journey, using our values to stay on course and overcome obstacles.
[00:16:09] Overall, our values can help us develop greater clarity in what we were out to create and more confidence in our own capabilities. We learn to trust ourselves. As we have an inbuilt compass to distinguish between right and wrong, that works for us. We can develop our own way through uncharted waters and map out new journeys with confidence.
[00:16:34] These takeaways emphasize the importance of introspection, alignment, and trust in personal values as foundational elements for creating a more balanced and meaningful working life. So start taking a few safe, modest steps towards a new destination and find out for yourself how your values both motivate and guide you.
[00:16:55] And join me in our next episode, where we go through the types of benefits my clients and I have experienced by living more in alignment with our values. And if you need more support, please check out our new Aligned and Thriving community by linking to the details in the description. Remember to be kind, take care and stay well.