Values Challenges – Choosing your response through a “values lens”

In a recent article, I discussed personal core values, which are a core set of beliefs and priorities that each of us hold.  These beliefs determine what types of things are most important to us in life and they help to guide our decisions and behaviors.  When our lives, relationships, jobs, decisions, experiences, etc are aligned with our values, all is well.  That would be nice if it were always the case, but in reality, what we experience often does not 100% resonate with our values.  This is called a Values Challenge, and it does not feel good.

When life is not going as you would like, relationships & jobs are at odds, or you just have that uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach, it is likely that there are one or more values that are being challenged. Looking at the situation through this lens offers the opportunity to explore your experience from a more objective place and make conscious choices about how to respond.

As an example, if you are at work and people are gossiping about someone else, you may find yourself feeling anxious or upset.  If you take a moment to look, you may see that you are upset because you have a strong value around compassion, integrity, and friendship and participating or even hearing the gossip does not fit with that.  From there, you can consciously choose what to do.

Another situation where we may get that uneasy feeling is when we are behaving and making decisions according to our values, but those values really don’t belong to us.  It is common for people to hold values that they were taught to have based on family, community, or religious beliefs.  They go through life not really questioning them until a situation arises that does not feel good and they realize that they don’t actually agree with what they were taught.

What do you do when you are faced with a values challenge?  The answer to this will depend on many things and is different for everyone in every situation.  Viewing any situation through the lens of “what are my values and which ones are being challenged right now?” allows you to powerfully discern whether or not something is right for you.

There are 3 general categories of responses to a values challenge with many variations.  (see video blog on values challenges)

While it is helpful to understand about values and when they are challenged, it can still be difficult to fully see what is there for you when you are in the midst of a difficult situation.  Through coaching, I work with my clients in a way that enables them to start to see things differently and more clearly.  With this increased awareness, they are then in a position to choose a response that best serves them in creating the life that they desire.

Dr Jennifer Edwards - blog

Jennifer Edwards is a veterinarian and transformational coach. Her conviction is that everyone can live a peaceful, happy, and joyful life. They just may need help learning how. She understands the emotional and leadership challenges of life in veterinary medicine. With insight, compassion, and being a stand for what’s possible, she helps veterinarians and teams rediscover joy and happiness in their life and career.