Provision #363: Values, Values, Everywhere

Laser Provision

In the past seven weeks we’ve described seven overarching values agreed to by 6,500 representatives of every possible religion and culture. They are the seven biggies against which all other values can be compared and measured. But they are hardly the only values that guide and direct people to do what they do. This Provision identifies 150 other values from which you can build a meaningful life.

LifeTrek Provision

Next week we will conclude our series on values with a summary of the ground we’ve covered in the past few months, after which we will start a new series focused on the difference coaching makes in people’s lives. For that series, we will present case studies based on interviews with current and former LifeTrek clients. It will inform and inspire you as you read the stories of how coaching has assisted people to move forward in the direction of their dreams.

One thing you will find in many of the case studies is that values play a big part in the process. By assisting our clients to clarify and express their values in life and work, they discover renewed passion, commitment, discipline, and joy. As coaches, it’s a treasure to be part of the process and a wonder to behold the outcome. Coaching truly has the power to change the world, one person and one community at a time.

The dictionary defines “values” as “principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable.” For the past seven weeks, we’ve explored seven values lifted up and agreed to by the Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures, which met in Chicago in 1993. 6,500 people from every religion and culture took part.

In the end, and after much vigorous discussion, the Parliament proposed a global world ethic that was true to the various traditions represented and that could inspire the cultivation of mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation in the world at large. If more people had heeded the work of the Parliament in the 1990s, perhaps the 2000s would have gotten off to a better start.

One might say that the Parliament identified the seven biggies when it comes to values • peace, ecology, compassion, justice, tolerance, honesty, and partnership between men and women. These are the values against which all other values can be compared and measured.

Consider, for example, the following list of 150 values, developed by Thomas Leonard and Coach U. As you read the list, divided into 15 categories with multiple dimensions in each category, you may want to circle or write down the words with which you identify or resonate. So begins the process of values clarification.

  1. Adventure (Risk, Thrill, Danger, Speculation, Dare, Gamble, Endeavor, Quest, Experiment, Exhilaration, Venture, The Unknown)
  2. Beauty (Grace, Refinement, Elegance, Attractiveness, Loveliness, Radiance, Magnificence, Gloriousness, Taste)
  3. To Catalyze (Impact, Move forward, Touch, Turn on, Free others, Coach, Spark, Encourage, Influence, Stimulate, Energize, Alter)
  4. To Contribute (Serve, Improve, Augment, Assist, Endow, Strengthen, Facilitate, Minister to, Grant, Provide, Foster)
  5. To Create (Design, Invent, Synthesize, Imagination, Ingenuity, Originality, Conceive, Plan, Build, Perfect, Assemble, Inspire)
  6. To Discover (Learn, Detect, Perceive, Locate, Realize, Uncover, Discern, Distinguish, Observe)
  7. To Feel (Emote, To experience, Sense, To glow, To feel good, Be with, Energy flow, In touch with, Sensations)
  8. To Lead (Guide, Inspire, Influence, Cause, Arouse, Enlist, Reign, Govern, Rule, Persuade, Encourage, Model)
  9. Mastery (Expert, Rule field, Adept, Dominate field, Superiority, Primacy, Preeminence, Greatest, Best, Outdo, Set standards, Excellence)
  10. Pleasure (Have fun, Be hedonistic, S•x, S•nsual, Bliss, Be amused, Be entertained, Play games, Sports)
  11. To Relate (Be connected, Family, To unite, Part of community, To nurture, Be linked, Be bonded, Be integrated, Be with)
  12. Be Sensitive (Tenderness, Touch, Perceive, Be present, Empathize, Support, Respond, Show compassion, See)
  13. Be Spiritual (Be aware, Be accepting, Be awake, Relate with God, Devoting, Holy, Honoring, Be passionate, Religious)
  14. To Teach (Educate, Instruct, Enlighten, Inform, Prepare, Edify, Prime, Uplift, Explain)
  15. To Win (Prevail, Accomplish, Attain, Score, Acquire, Win over, Triumph, Predominate, Attract)”

How many values did you circle or write down? If you’ve narrowed the list to 30 or 40, then go back and narrow it down further. That is just too many priorities to pursue at once! When you’re down to 3 or 4, perhaps including values that failed to make the Coach U list, you’ve laid the foundation for building a well-grounded and satisfying life.

Don’t be surprised if you find it difficult to choose just a few guiding values. That’s why people hire coaches! The coaching process assists people to hone in on those values which resonate with their interests, traditions, attitudes, and ambitions. Through soul searching, deep conversation, and cybernetic research we can usually identify a few core values in a matter of weeks or months.

The importance of doing so cannot be overstated. Unknown and unclaimed values are no values at all. Without guiding values we end up living by base instinct rather than by higher interest. We do whatever it takes to survive rather than to thrive. We end up going through the motions but we lack the passion, inspiration, and awareness to take full responsibility for our choices. As a result, we’re never 100% present. We show up, but our heart isn’t into the work.

Getting connected to our values is part of turning that around. Seen in the light of our values, even the most mundane of activities can be transformed into meaningful behaviors. It doesn’t matter whether or not other people see the connection or believe in the efficacy of our work. The only question is whether we see the connection and believe in its efficacy. When that happens, life is good.

Especially when we anchor our values in the seven biggies. Take a look at your top 3 or 4 or values. How do they relate to the values identified by the Parliament of the World’s Religions and cultures? Are they identical, compatible, unrelated, or incompatible? All four relationships exist within the list generated by Thomas Leonard and Coach U.

Compassion, for example, is one of the seven biggies. Beauty is certainly related to ecology. Creativity seems to stand on its own, while domination is clearly contrary to the spirit of partnership between men and women. Doing the work to compare and contrast our values with the seven biggies is important for many reasons. Here are three:

One, the seven biggies have been time-tested to make a positive contribution to the world at large. Two, when we see our values in context, it generates enthusiasm and endurance for the challenging task of expressing our values in life and work. Three, through reflective consideration, using our mental as well as our emotional, spiritual, and physical intelligences, we may want to change our values and reinvent ourselves in the process.

Values are everywhere, but they are not always lifted up to the level of conscious awareness and behavioral design. If your values are not clear to you, then it may be time to embark upon a values clarification and expression project for the sake of your own life and the well-being of the world.

Coaching Inquiries: What are your top 3 or 4 values? What governs the way you live your life? Are they compatible with peace, ecology, compassion, justice, tolerance, honesty, and partnership between men and women? How can you make it so?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.

Just read this weeks column. Nice job! I will share it with my wife.

Thanks for the Provision on partnership between men and women. I think making a marriage work is relatively easy (now that’s easy for me to say!), given of course, that one has chosen the right partner. I’d really like to see a Provision on finding and (forgive my pragmatic language) qualifying a life/soul partner. Of course, now that I’m in a family and it doesn’t (and, I hope, won’t) apply to me anymore, I have a bunch of ideas on how/whom to choose. I’d like to see other thoughts on the topic. (Ed. Note: Thanks for the suggestion. We may, indeed, write about this in the future while one of our coaches, Kate Kriynovich, routinely offers a telecourse on attracting your ideal mate.)

This series on values has been timely and important. Thanks for doing it!

Bob and Megan, we praise God for your partnership! Keep on keepin’ on. 

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School
Immediate Past President, International Association of
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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