Do you ever feel disconnected from what you do or people you are with? You may be having a perfectly nice conversation, but you notice you are making an effort to stay with that person and with that subject. Your mind wonders somewhere else. You wish you could talk about a subject that is closer to your heart or even that you were talking to someone completely different! Believe it or not this is a good feeling! If you really pay attention to what’s going on inside you, you’ll start getting curious: “Why am I not enjoying this moment?” This could be the first step on the journey to discovering your True North.
What is True North?
You may have guessed that I am using True North as a metaphor for our core personal values. This metaphor emphasises the alignment or misalignment to our values. I like the definition of True North from Mirriam-Webster dictionary:
North that is calculated by using an imaginary line through the Earth rather than by using a compass: the direction that leads to the North Pole.
We can apply this True North definition to personal values. The imaginary line through the Earth is our life, and the North Pole is our values. True North is a way of living that honours our core values. This is a journey of big and small course corrections to ensure we stay aligned with what’s most important in our lives.
What does alignment feel like?
Discovering your True North means getting clear on your core personal values. However, just knowing your values is only half the task. How about trying to live your values? This is where the real work begins.
We can experience so many pressures that make us deviate from aligning our lives to our True North: the pressure to comply with cultural beliefs, religion, politics at work, pleasing others, etc. But once you experience a life according to your core personal values, you’ll want to stay on that path.
How great would it feel to know that every action you take is filled with a sense of direction? When you pursue goals that matter so much to you and you don’t go after them because you want to please someone important in your life. You will learn to adjust your choices so you are always facing your True North. You’ll feel it in your body. As soon as you honour your priorities you will experience unmistakable butterflies in your stomach. Connect with that feeling. The memory of it will always pull you forward.
Three ways to discover your values
1. Your complaints
It may sound unusual, but one of the most obvious ways to discover your values is to pay attention to your complaints. When you are complaining about something, listen carefully – quite often a compromised value is at the heart of that complaint.
You may hear yourself complain to a friend about how unsatisfied you feel at work and that may be it’s time for you to move on. Firstly, you can start asking yourself, what exactly am I unsatisfied with? It could be that you would like a better salary – perfectly good reason and many people change their jobs based on that. This could indicate that wealth is one of your values. Secondly, dig deeper! Is this really what you are unhappy about or is there something else apart from money? Maybe a deeper reason for you wanting to leave is your manager promising to your clients something that your company can’t deliver. As a result, you feel awful on the inside, but can’t speak up because you don’t want to contradict your manager in front of your client. This could be a sign that integrity is one of your top values. Bingo! Now you know what to look for in your new job.
Another great way to figure out your values is through journaling. Journaling is a very intimate and effective practice to clarify your thoughts and to connect to something that lies a bit deeper. Discovering your True North can be quite a challenge, however journaling can be just the tool you need for this task! If you enjoy journaling, my free guide with 10 journaling prompts to help you discover your values will be very effective. This guide is so much more than just 10 questions!
3. In-depth session with a coach.
However, nothing compares to 1:1 session with me! We will spend two hours to not only define your top personal values, but also to get clear where you are aligned or not to your values. You will leave our session with an action plan of how you can prioritise your values in the most important areas of your life. In addition, you will have a few ideas of how to keep your values front of mind. Check out more details and book a session here.
Ready to dive deeper into your values?
Book a 2-hour Unlock Your Personal Core Values session. In this 2 hour session I will help you uncover your top 10 core personal values and you will become aware why you may not be satisfied with certain areas of your life and why other areas are going amazingly well.