Have you ever wondered what living a life in alignment with your values actually means? To break it down, values are the guiding principles that influence how you live and how you behave. Values are inherent in everybody, though not everybody shares the same values.
For some periods of my life, I was the perfect example of not living in alignment with my values but I had no idea I wasn’t doing so and yet I am qualified as a Life Coach, a Health and Wellbeing Coach, an Emotional Freedom Technique Practitioner and in various other therapies, many of which use values as part of their core teachings. In my defence, our core values do not always stay the same and although some values will remain with us, others can change as we age or life circumstances alter. For each part of my journey I am sharing, I am listing the outcome values from the small sample list here, where I felt I was aligned and unaligned.
Aligned Values: Achievement, Adventure, Challenge, Curiosity, Determination, Growth, Happiness.
Unaligned Values: Authenticity, Autonomy, Balance, Fun, Happiness, Inner Harmony, Love, Meaningful Work, Respect.
From the age of 18 I had a passion to travel to London and Europe. I would listen to British music, cut weather reports out and stick them in my diary (yes really…), devour travel brochures and made a book of the perfect itinerary of tours that would take me everywhere. This was the age before the internet was in every home, so it was a very early version of Pinterest or scrapbooking. It took me another 11 years to realise my dream but at age 29, I resigned from my well-paying job in Australia and took off for three months to the UK and Europe on my own. Although I had always thought of myself as quite shy, my values of adventure and a commitment to my goal of seeing London, were ones I held dear and that first trip set me up for a lifetime of exploring new opportunities. I came back to Australia, took another high paying job but underneath I had struggles with the work I was doing, the people in the team, loneliness in my life, lack of excitement etc. Two years later I went to Europe again and then five months after that I flew to London for just one week. Being a dual citizen of the UK and Australia I had the luxury of choice and at that point my heart had decided that even though I would be leaving my immediate family, London was the place for me, so I sold off my belongings and at age 32 started again in London. One of my first..’it’s never too late…’ moments.
Aligned Values: Adventure, Autonomy, Balance, Compassion, Community, Contribution, Creativity, Friendships, Fun, Growth, Happiness, Humour, Inner Harmony, Kindness, Leadership, Learning, Love, Loyalty, Meaningful Work, Recognition, Responsibility, Security, Self-Respect, Service, Spirituality, Wisdom.
Unaligned Values: Immediate Family (not on this list but only thing out of alignment)
Fast forward five years and I am in a wonderful relationship, live in a terrace house owned by my partner, European travel, lots of culture and have been working in London as a Mentoring Co-ordinator for two years within a Pupil Referral Unit (a school for pupils expelled from mainstream education). My role was to recruit, train, coach and manage volunteers from within the community to work either 1-1 or within groups with the students. My role further expanded to working with some of the more vulnerable children teaching them therapeutic tools to encourage life skills and self-esteem as well as coaching parents in a Positive Parenting scheme. It was whilst working within this role that in 2004, I started my journey in therapy and coaching that I have continued to this day. I also started a Degree in English Literature and found a passion for Genealogy.
Aligned Values: Achievement, Adventure, Balance, Challenge, Community, Creativity, Growth, Knowledge, Learning, Security.
Unaligned Values: Authenticity, Balance, Competency, Friendships, Fun, Happiness, Honesty, Inner Harmony, Love, Meaningful Work, Openness, Service, Spirituality, Stability.
In 2010 I had returned to Melbourne (relationship over and a very sick Mum) and having applied for over 100 jobs I found myself in a job that didn’t align well but with rent to pay it was needs must. With the job market the way it was I restarted my Degree and at age 44 was once more a fulltime student, living off a student allowance. My sister had been running a country pub and had met a new man and on checking out the location where her partner had been born, I decided to move there and they both eventually followed. My Degree major was in Professional Writing and Publishing with minors in Internet Communications and Visual Arts. This suited my love of writing, researching, arts and creativity. When my Degree was almost completed I applied for a role that was very much suited to my qualifications and for a few years I was happy. The role had some creative elements and for the most part had great autonomy and only working three days a week I had a great work life balance. I met a new partner who I was with for a few years, purchased two properties, and in my spare time, renovated my properties, travelled back to the UK three times, continued my Genealogy, studied more therapy and did a Masters in Scottish Heritage. It was also during this time I had a heart attack, fractured my spine, went through menopause and had a mini breakdown and took stress leave. I was seriously living out of alignment with my values and I was swinging all over the place. Even though I was only working part time and the role was not over taxing, I would get home and be utterly exhausted. On days off if I was doing therapy work, genealogy or renovating, I had all the energy in the world. I knew it was something to do with my job but I could not work out the issues even though I used all my therapeutic tools. It is only now that I can recognise although I was living true to my values of learning and achieving, the rest of my life was completely unbalanced.
Aligned Values: Authenticity, Autonomy, Balance, Compassion, Challenge, Contribution, Creativity, Determination, Growth, Happiness, Inner Harmony, Kindness, Knowledge, Learning, Meaningful Work, Optimism, Peace, Recognition, Respect, Self-Respect, Service, Spirituality, Wisdom.
Unaligned Values: Nil
I left my job and relocated back to Melbourne at the start of 2020 just as the global pandemic hit and Melbourne went into lockdown. I finished my Master’s Degree then started further postgraduate studies in Genealogy. I was still feeling out of alignment and thought the solution was to move back to the UK to pursue more meaningful work. I was granted exemption to leave the country by the Australian Home Office but held off due to the enormity of the crisis overseas. During this time of change in our world I finally took the time to really look and listen to myself and for the first time have truly heard myself. I worked on thought patterns, on my health and fitness, have so far lost 7 out of 8kgs put on after injury and menopause and have created businesses doing all the things I love. One of my beliefs (thoughts) was you had to do one job or one form of study but my love of change and diversity meant my occupation was always out of alignment. I have a genealogy website which covers my values regarding research, learning, helping people, knowledge, kindness etc, a Coaching business I am working to expand which is giving me alignment in most of the values I find important and a blog on genealogical and coaching which keeps me writing and enjoying that creativity.
At this time I am very much living in alignment with my values and wish to help others live in alignment with theirs so am sharing my path as an example of how values can change or you can become unaligned. This may give you an ‘aha!’ moment to explore yours either on your own or by seeking a Life Coach like myself to work with.
I have created a Private Facebook group for women who want something more but mindset prevents change. Time to embrace “it’s never too late to…” and explore life’s possibilities. Please request membership at the following link. https://www.facebook.com/groups/823389491900991