I’m in a pretty busy area of town. Many of my Atlanta counseling clients are high performing men and women in business. They come to me with a variety of issues…
My relationship is suffering.
I feel depressed even though I have no reason to be.
I can’t stand my job, but it pays well.
My parents are driving me crazy.
I can’t commit.
My kids take too much, and I have nothing left to give.
I’m too codependent.
I’m in love with a narcissist.
So many issues. And, don’t we all have issues? As an Atlanta counselor, I love working with people with issues. Because, they’re human. And I’m human. And this humanity stuff gets messy.
I’ve noticed a few things along the way, and one GIANT MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE is this…THEY STOP KEEPING THEIR VALUES AS THEIR TOP PRIORITY.
It happens in my Atlanta counseling office so much, that I’ve become accustomed to giving the tip of encouraging people to ask themselves these questions.
So go ahead and try it. Ask yourself these questions, then reflect.
The questions are simply:
“What are your top five values?”
Go ahead, write them down. Yes, you, the reader. Write your values down.
Then follow up with asking yourself:
Do my actions/behaviors/choices line up with my values?
Oh boy, my clients really make some movement with this. I know what you may be thinking. You may assume that you’re doing just fine in this area, but for just a moment I’d like you to really challenge yourself to look deep.
I’m going to give you a personal example. One of my top values is health. And, I’m a pretty healthy person. I make it a practice to work out, eat decently, drink water, and care for myself spiritually and emotionally. So on the surface I can check this box. If I want, I can tell myself that I do good in this area. But hold on! I’m going to challenge myself to go deeper. To a place where no one likes to go. That’s right. I’m going to think about the amount of sugar and processed foods that I consume.
Yep. On occasion I’ll eat gluten free pizza and rationalize that it’s mostly healthy because it’s gluten free. I’ll eat cookies (my kryptonite) because I love them and I “deserve” a cheat. I consume things that have absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever when there are healthier options readily available to me. And, I’m not talking about not eating. I’m just talking about eating strawberries and maybe dark chocolate instead of throwing down on a whole batch of cookies (which I will definitely do because this Atlanta counselor LOVES cookies.) So, If I’m really honest with myself when I eat these things I’m really valuing feeling good in the moment, and not my health.
Being honest with myself in this way allows me to evaluate my decision-making, and possibly make a healthier choice.
Does this mean I will never eat cookies or pizza? Absolutely not. I’m not perfect and I refuse to judge myself for being human. But, it does mean that I will challenge myself to make healthier decisions. Because, my health impacts my business, my family, my community….it impacts a lot. And, when I’m investing in my health I am investing in all of those things.
And, I teach people in business about this all the time. They’ll put their work before their families. Their enjoyment before their spirituality. Their money before their peace. And when we take a look at their values, they’re way off.
This is a tough thing to do. To really look at what’s important and align your actions with your values is not for the faint of heart. But, my clients aren’t the faint of heart. You, the reader, are not the faint of heart. You, they, we are all human. We can all do tough things.
Just a quick tip, I can’t do these things on my own. So, I have support. I have mentors. I have a group of friends who keep me accountable…Why not try that too?