April 2012

Lead with your coreLead With Your Core

Are you feeling frazzled?

Not fully grounded?

Do you wish you had more time or energy to devote to your “real” goals or passions?

Does the term low-grade anxiety feel vaguely familiar?

Out of Alignment

What happens when choices we make have little connection to our values? Perhaps the culprit is job, financial or family pressure – maybe it’s information overload, or a “go-to” habit like shopping or chocolate. When we find ourselves reacting rather than intentionally living our lives it is not uncommon to feel disconnected from time to time. When this happens many people report a sense of:

  • Feeling out of whack
  • Low-grade anxiety
  • Running on autopilot
  • Feeling out of sorts
  • Being on edge
  • Lack of meaning in what we do

Values drive us. But like all good things they need a tune up – especially when circumstances – like kids, job pressures or school demands steal the spotlight.

Core Values are not as obvious as they seem. Money is not one of them.

Core values are:

  • Intangible.
  • Not objects, things or activities.
  • In our unconscious
  • Example: Gardening is an activity, the feeling of being connected to nature, which could also be about accomplishment, beauty, and peace. No right or wrong.

What’s so abstract about values?

The answer lies in the unconscious nature of our deepest values. Start by asking yourself a seemingly simple question. What must you have in your life to be fulfilled? (Remember – a thing, like a Ferrari is not a value). Some other questions to ponder might include:

  • What are your wants vs. musts (freedom, security, accomplishment, etc.)?
  • Where are you too flexible?
  • What do you need in your life to be happy?
  • What inspires you to be your best?
  • What can’t you do without?

Values Exercise Step 1:

Take a few minutes to circle your top five values from the list below. It’s a lot trickier than it seems. One strategy is to list values that appeal to you under a heading – such as Curiosity (under that could be achievement, self-expression, understanding, effort, independence and joy). Your list is just that…yours. Everyone’s core values will have a unique and very individual meaning.

 Connection  Humor  Participation  Freedom
 Service  Excellence  Harmony  Self-expression
 Spirituality  Enthusiasm  Beauty  Honesty
 Zest  Growth  Peace  Risk taking
 Joy  Tradition  Accomplishment  Orderliness
 Free spirit  Focus  Integrity  Vitality
 Common sense  Sensitivity  Kindness  Equality
 Achievement  Resilience  Community  Success
 Dedication  Creativity  Elegance  Adventure
 Peace  Fairness  Challenge  Dependability
 Understanding  Diversity  Dignity  Compromise
 Caring  Family  Duty  Respect
 Realism  Humility  Caution  Space
 Acceptance  Optimism  Curiosity  Responsibility
 Effort  Tolerance  Patience  Originality
 Humanity Love  Sincerity  Openness 
 Independence  Frankness Abundance   Truth
 Freedom Friendship  Loyalty  Persistance 
 Reliability Faith  Security  Commitment 


Values Exercise Step 2:

The next step is to think about areas of your life where you feel constrained and unable to express your core values. Ask your self: Is there a way I could incorporate a core value at work or at home? Think about simple ways this week you can start putting your core values into action.

If peace were one of your core values – would you feel more “in charge” or your life if you spent 15 minutes at lunch taking a walk or meditating rather than mindlessly returning emails? If your kid’s sports schedules take up your evenings and weekends and it feels unfair, when could you carve out time to take that art class or join a book group so YOU feel a little more balanced as a person?

Taking time to deeply connect with core values is no easy task and something most of us rarely do. Greater life satisfaction translates to more energy, happiness and more meaningful goals.

For more information on how you can put your core values into action and create more meaning in your life with the help of professional coach, contact me via email or phone.

The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been kindness, beauty and truth.”


Amy Tardio

For a complimentary coaching session, contact Amy.