Value. What does that word mean to you?
It’s a word that’s bandied around a great deal.
We talk about good value, best value, value for money, face value, family values, personal values, core values, and so the list goes on.
There’s a saying about knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
The dictionary defines the noun as ‘the regard that something is held to deserve’; ‘the importance or usefulness of something’; ‘principles or standards of behaviour’; ‘one’s judgement of what’s important in life’.
The definition of the verb can mean ‘to estimate the monetary worth of’; ‘to consider someone or something to be important or beneficial’; ‘to have a high opinion of’.
It’s not about the money, money, money
Some of those descriptions could sound a little mercenary if we take them to be about placing a ‘price’ on something. Others focus on principles and standards. In the end though, it really all boils down to how important something is to us.
We can value people and things like family, freedom, good health, clean air, time, money, status and fame.
We can value qualities like honesty, respect, fairness, empathy, strength, courage, vulnerability, compassion and determination.
The list is endless and the list is unique for each of us.
Sometimes we hold diametrically opposed values to someone else and that’s why we can end up in conflict.
Think of it like a dance where our moves are out of sync and we keep standing on each other’s toes. The music is discordant and everything just feels wrong. No one quite knows where they’re going or who’s leading whom. A lot of energy might be expended but it’s not producing a great result.
Yet when we meet someone who has similar values to us, the dance flows more smoothly, the music is lyrical and we can be in perfect unison. We glide across the floor and it feels effortless. We’re heading in the same direction and we know who’s leading and when. Energy is combined to produce a wonderful show.
Shoulder to Shoulder
Now imagine applying this to the workplace. Do you want the dance of teamwork to be out of sync or flow smoothly? Do you want to waste energy going nowhere fast or to glide to your destination?
When our values are out of sync with the people we’re working with it affects both team dynamics and productivity. This doesn’t mean to say our values have to be the same as our colleagues, however we do need to have some common ground.
Teams work towards organisational values, plus they have their own set of values as that team too, which dovetail with those of the organisation. When personal values are also in harmony with the team and organisational values, we have a perfectly synchronised dance.
Each team member is clear on their role and understands the part their colleagues’ play. They stand shoulder to shoulder and their steps are perfectly in time. They move together to meet the team’s goal.
There is congruency.
What happens when congruency is lacking? What happens when you feel you’re at odds with your own values?
Over time our values can change, but because we’re still following old thought patterns and habits, we don’t realise that what’s important to us has changed. Think of the person who has a crisis of conscience when they can’t do something they’ve always done because their values have changed. Consider our current situation and the impact that living in lockdown may be having on our values.
Sometimes our values remain constant but we act out of line with them because we get swept along by the crowd, or we feel under pressure to behave in a certain way. This is where a number of people are at the moment.
Incongruence is painful. It causes us feel out of sorts. We know something isn’t right, yet we can’t quite put our finger on it because we’re not consciously aware that we’re living at odds with our values. When we live in alignment with our values, life feels much easier. It’s a truly liberating experience to realise that it’s ok to follow our our own path.
This is not about working against other people, it’s about living in accordance with what’s important to us. It’s about being true to who we are deep down.
Finding your way to congruency
If you’d like to feel more congruent in your life, here are 5 steps that will help you on your way.
1. Learn to tune in to your inner voice
Do you hear what’s going on inside you? When you go to do something, do you notice an inner voice that sometimes tells you to stop, not out of fear but because it just feels wrong, or you feel uncomfortable? Or conversely do you notice your inner voice jumping with joy? Learn to tune into it and learn to recognise what it’s telling you.
2. Learn to do as you believe
After tuning into your inner voice, do you act in line with what it’s telling you? At times fear holds us back from doing what we believe is right. Initially it can feel easier to go along with the crowd, but in the long term if it’s out of line with your values, it will cause inner conflict and eat away at you. Once you step in line with your values the world feels like a very different place.
3. Learn to express what you’re thinking and feeling
If you don’t fully express yourself, over time you’ll come to feel uncomfortable, restless and unfulfilled. Yes, there’s a chance that someone might not like what you say, yet equally, there’s every chance that someone else will. Whatever the outcome, you’ll only find peace and fulfilment when you’re able to speak your mind. This is not about being confrontational, unkind or destructive, it’s about having the best of intentions and finding a way to express yourself in a way that’s true to who you really are.
4. Be truthful
This means telling your truth about how you feel, what you think and what you believe. Telling the truth is important for how people view you and whether they trust you. It’s also important to how you feel inside. Being truthful to yourself is key to getting congruent
5. Be consistent
Learn to live by your values consistently. There may be times you find yourself swept along by the crowd and find yourself feeling uncomfortable. Don’t beat yourself up, we all make mistakes. Check in with yourself, notice what you’re feeling and make changes that align yourself back with your values.
Living in congruence with our values brings many benefits. We are able to have more honest and open relationships with our work colleagues as well as family and friends. The impact on physical and mental wellbeing is immense and our resilience grows.
When you learn NLP, you learn about congruence and values. You learn about how to hear and pay attention to what your inner voice is saying. You learn how to better understand others so you can find out what’s important to them. You enhance your communication skills in ways that create more harmonious relationships. And many more things besides.
If you’d like to find out exactly how NLP can help you to live a more fulfilled life, please contact me here