This weekend I watched "The Rise of the Guardians" with my daughter. This is a story about how Jack Frost becomes a Guardian of the Children. Santa asks Jack Frost a few key questions near the beginning of the film "who are you, why were you chosen, what is your centre" .
I wonder how many of us can really answer those questions.
Santa tells us in the film that at his centre is "Wonder". We later find out what is at Jack's centre. I won't give away the plot though! When Jack finds out what his centre is; he finds the reason he does what he does. He finds the reason he was chosen and knows how to help defeat the Bogey man!
In Coaching we call this our core values. If we find out what our centre is, we can find our reason. I find it so helpful knowing this as it informs my business decisions and my business approach.
There are a few simple exercises we can do to help discover our values. It is quite tricky to do this ourselves in my opinion. I needed my coach and supervisor to help me uncover mine. Why? because our values are so much a part of us, it's quite difficult to extract and name them, just as it was difficult for Jack Frost and took him the whole film to find out!
When I ask myself who am I in a business context, it can get complicated too. When we ask ourselves that question we get caught up in what we do, not why we do it.
So after about three sessions with my coach I uncovered a number of values that were important to me. Just before Christmas I asked her "what was at my centre, what was my core value?" I had spent the last few months really exploring and testing this and with her help I discovered my answer. My answer is "Connection".
- I love to connect with people,
- I help connect thinking through training - I collaborate with clients to create the best solution and the most powerful strategy.
- If I create a connection, I can help coach my client to their solution.
How do you start uncovering your values?
1. Firstly think of the top 10 things that are important to you . Ask yourself a simple question: "What is important to me about my business?" Try to get it down to your top 5.
Each answer should be one word if possible (it's called a nominalisation but we don't need to get into that now). Examples are: 1. generosity, 2. kindness, 3. success, 4. integrity. 5. power.
2. You need to rank them in order. A simple way of doing this is choosing the first one and asking yourself if I could have one but not the other, would that be ok? So in the example above you would ask yourself if I could have generosity but not kindness would that be Ok? If it is ok Generosity is more important to you than kindness, if it's not ok then kindness is more important to you than generosity. Remember both are important to you - you chose them. It's about ranking one over the other. Sometimes one word encompasses another value which is why we choose it.
3. You work your way down the list. If I could have generosity but not success would that be ok? You keep asking the question until you can rank the 5 values.
This is a great start to ranking your values in order and uncovering what motivates you in your business. You can do it systematically too if you use a grid like this one:
When I realised my core value was connection it helped me realise what I offer. I go into a situation with a client asking myself how can I help rather than what can I give. This subtle difference is what helps us collaborate in a much more effective way.
Jack Frost in "Rise of the Guardians"