The Importance of Being True to Yourself

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“Only when you are you can you bring value in any
relationship, be it personal or professional.

Be you, be raw, be true to your values and your beliefs.
Only then can you bring value, be it at home or at work”

I have been writing over the past few editions about my unique model for personal change called ‘The 8 Attitudes for Personal and Professional Change’. When applied together, these 8 Attitudes create the necessary mind-set for anyone to live their lives with purpose, passion and to achieve their full potential. Today we are going to explore what it means to be true to yourself.

Model for Transformational Change – 8 Attitudes for Success

“I am true to myself”

Are you stuck in a job or career, relationship or place that is holding you back? You know that you are not spending your time being, doing, having what you really want. Yet, you stay stuck and playing safe in that place I call the ‘Grey Zone’. It’s that comfortable yet uncomfortable place where you exist knowing that you could do so much more with your life. The main thing keeping us stuck in a rut is fear – fear of the unknown. The trouble is, living with this fear makes us lose respect for ourselves, which can lead to lower confidence, self-respect, frustration and dependency on someone or something else as a result. This Attitude – ‘I am True to Myself’ – will show you how to identify you values in an important area of your life. We are going to focus on your career but you can use the process in other areas of life too.

Why our values important? Our values determine how we spend our time. They are the reason that we do what we do. They motivate us to take action and they are the means by which we evaluate ourselves after the event, and decide if we did a good job – or, indeed, the right thing. Our values also provide our moral code, so if we feel uncomfortable about anything we’ve done it’s likely to be due to a conflict of values.

Our values are instilled in us at an early age, mostly before the age of 7. Our values determine the way we think and how we behave. If you want to find out what your values are, then ask yourself what was important to those around you when you were growing up. If we identify and pay attention to our values, we will quickly learn how to be true to ourselves and get a clearer idea of what we want to be / do / have during the next stage of our lives.

Are you ready to learn something really exciting about yourself?

Activity: Eliciting our Career Values

These should not be based on the career you are in now but, rather, your ideal career. Of course, if you enjoy what you do then many of these values will overlap. When eliciting your career values, it’s best to find someone who can work with you to ask you the questions. Choose a friend who can act as your coach for this exercise.

Step 1: Elicitation

Get your exercise partner to ask you the following question: ‘What’s important to you about your career?’ Or use whatever word is most familiar to you eg career, job, work etc. Your partner must write down the words that you say and not suggest any answers, as those are their own values, not yours. In NLP terms, the words we are listening for are called ‘nominalisations’. These are abstract nouns, for example ‘communication’ is a noun that doesn’t refer to an object that we can see or touch, and is therefore an abstract noun. Another way of thinking about them is that they cannot be put into a wheelbarrow! Listen out for answers such as ‘working in a team’. In these cases, your partner would ask: ‘What does working in a team do or get for you?’ You might then say: ‘I feel like I belong. ‘Belonging’ is the value. You must tell your exercise partner to expect a first and second ‘wave’ of values from you. The first wave are those values at a more conscious level of awareness. Once these cease to flow, your exercise partner should continue with the questioning as the second wave will be your unconscious values.

Step 2: Hierarchy of Value

Your exercise partner should now give you the list of values and ask you to pick the top 8, and then rank them in order of priority. This may seem a challenge, and yet it is important to understand the most important through to the least important.

Step 3: Re-write your List

Your exercise partner should then re-write your list in the order you have given. You may find that some of your most important values came out in the second wave of elicitation. This is quite common and means that some of your most important values were those at an unconscious level.

Step 4: How does your Current Career Stack Up?

Go through your list of values and score your current career out of 10 against each value. Anything that scores less than 6 is likely to be an issue for you especially if this is value is in your top ‘3’. If there is a big gap in some areas, then you may need to ask yourself a couple of questions: Without changing your job or career, can you make alterations to what you currently do so that it meets your values more closely? For example, if one of your values is variety and you are in a routine job, can you ask your manager if you can do some new work? If this is not possible, is there another career that you could consider?

Now you know the process of eliciting your career values, it’s time to explore other key areas of your life – such as your relationship. The process is the same. Elicit your values, put them into a hierarchy and then score each out of 10 – depending upon how well your current relationship comes up to scratch.

How did you get on? One of the hardest things to acknowledge is when being true to yourself means disappointing others in the process. This life isn’t a rehearsal so it is important that your job, relationship and everything else in your life is what YOU want, and not what you feel you have to or need to do. Only then can you be who you really are.

Lindsey Agness is a Master Trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming and author of four books on change. Join Lindsey for a day of self-discovery at the Hythe Imperial Hotel on the 23rd June 2018.

Lindsey Agness

Read some of Lindsey’s other articles:

Relaunching you from the inside out

How to fix your life

Taking back control of your life

Living life with authenticity