The Coach’s Alphabet is a tool designed to draw attention to the values in your life that give your life value. It is intended to stimulate reflection on how well your thoughts and behaviors align with your priorities and principles. To that end, Volume II begins with an exploration of alignment.
Like the functioning of your automobile or the condition of your spine, you often don’t notice or appreciate the alignment of your values until they are so far out of whack that your movement feels restricted and uncomfortable. Often, it isn’t until you find yourself spinning in circles or not being able to stand tall in your choices that the consequences of being out of alignment with your values become so great that you are willing to take corrective action. Unfortunately, those consequences often come in the form of some external stimulus such as a break-up, accident, diagnosis, or loss of a loved-one.
During my time as an outplacement consultant I worked with many people who hated their jobs so much that they were experiencing symptoms of emotional and physical dis-ease. Yet, it wasn’t until they got laid-off that they were able to see the negative impact it was having on their lives. Although unsure of the future, many felt grateful for the circumstance that now forced them to seek an alternative path.
This does not mean that if your work, romantic relationships, or geographic environment is dissatisfying that you need to abandon them to achieve alignment. But I encourage you to identify what values are not being honored and make slight adjustments to incorporate them more into your life. If your boss is not giving you the recognition that you feel you deserve and will help you feel motivated and engaged, then help a friend in need or volunteer somewhere where they will appreciate your contribution…or you can always seek out another professional mentor to help you develop your skills and plan your next career move. If the last time you remember feeling real joy was when you were sitting on a beach reading, playing in a softball league, taking music lessons, or going out with friends, then make sure your schedule aligns with your need for recreation.
Unlike the mechanic who fixes your car or the chiropractor who adjusts your spine, living in alignment with your values cannot be outsourced (although hiring a coach will certainly help). Embracing and integrating your values helps all of the other pieces of your life line-up in ways that reduce resistance, stress, and overwhelm opening up space for balance, simplicity, and wonder. Below are five tips to help you achieve alignment.
- Appreciation – Celebrate what is working well and what in your life is already aligned with your values and contributing to your well-being.
- Longing – Acknowledge what you really want and consciously direct your energy there.
- Integrity – Don’t tolerate obstacles to your alignment (e.g.: negative people, a broken appliance that is easily fixed or replaced, the voice in your head that tells you that you “should” be doing something else.)
- Graciousness – Give people (including yourself) the benefit of the doubt. Being kind, receptive, and pleasant keeps resistance at bay.
- Never-say-never – When your intuition tells you what you need but your intellect says it is impossible, ask yourself “What if?” What if I did have time to go see a movie in the middle of the week? What if I did take the lunch break I’m entitled to rather than eating at my desk? What if I did sign up for a drawing, writing, or cooking class at the local community college?
Alignment is not about following the path you are on, but making sure the path you are on is leading you to your chosen destination.
Wishing you the value of alignment and the alignment of your values,
- If you would like a free values assessment sheet to help you identify what values you most value, email me at Stacey@theCoach4you.com and one will magically appear in your inbox.
- Want to make sure 2015 is a year of alignment, join my BUCKET LIST COACHING CIRCLE, a 6-month accountability group consisting of two monthly conference calls (or one call and one group meeting for those near Manchester, CT) to provide you a new perspective and and a concrete plan to create the life you want. Starting mid-January