5 Challenges to Clarify Your Values and Enable Authentic Success
Take time to clarify your values to achieve authentic success, by Danielle Drozd, Confidence Coach
In the business world, I was used to setting objectives and delivering targets against them. For some time, nothing else seemed to matter, because it would bring me success through that bonus, that annual pay increase, or potentially a promotion. The thought of this success, and the achievement of these material things I craved for, kept me going.
Over time I started to feel a void. I didn’t quite know what it was. Largely I cast the feelings to one side, but when it got too much I changed job and organisation. Slowly I started to ask myself and others around me, can such material conquests really lead to personal fulfilment?
This question inspired me to think about what success means to me. It had always been connected with the material; having a house that I own, a nice car to drive around in, working for an organization I could feel proud of with a famous brand, and having enough money put away for a rainy day. I wanted others to see me as successful; but was I living up to my definition of success?
There it was, a question I didn’t have the answer to; ‘what is my definition of success?’
As I started to seriously give this question my attention, I realised I’d inherited beliefs about success that I adopted as my own. Over time I became increasingly unfulfilled, even though I was absolutely ticking the boxes for work success. I was achieving, but I didn’t feel successful.
To understand more about what success really means to me, I asked myself some key questions:
- What do I value most about my work?
- What do I value most about my personal life?
- What do I value most about the people in my life?
- What do I want people to be saying about the person I am?
- Am I that person today?
The word value was prominent in these questions. By answering these questions I’d work out what my inner most values are. Organisations have values and goals, and so it was time for me to write my own.
I’d read around the subject of personal values and I came to realise that, values are the foundations of success. When an action is connected to one of your inner most values, there is a drive to achieve.
My values became my motivators.
As long as what I was doing in any area of my life ticked my values boxes, I would be striving towards success. This change of mind-set felt good. I’d changed my beliefs about what success looked like.
Through this process, I came to realize that success for me, is being true to myself and my values. To live authentically I had to keep my values focal to all of my actions. I created a new definition of success for myself:
Sustainable happiness through values driven living, and allowing yourself to be the very best version of you.
When you live by someone else’s definition of success you give yourself challenges you perhaps don’t actually want, that don’t represent your values. In such cases the feeling of unfulfillment will be present.
I now had a dilemma. I’d realised why I was feeling the void.
My values didn’t match my work tasks.
In fact, it only matched a couple of them. No wonder I was feeling like this.
After some time contemplating what to do next I set myself five challenges. I found that they gave me such clarity on who I am and where I want to go in life. I met the challenges without boundaries, without expectation of others, and, an open heart.
From personal experience, and that of a coach, unless you have this clarity, it’s difficult to pinpoint what fulfilment is for you, and what authentic success looks like.
5 challenges towards authentic success:
Challenge 1: What do you want to achieve in the next 10 years?
Before answering this question, engage in a task that makes you feel great. Clear your mind, go for a walk, meditate or bake. Do something unrelated and pleasurable. It will allow you to clear your mind of any fear or roadblocks to enable you to open your mind to possibilities.
- What are your dreams? Visualise your future, what does it look like in the perfect world?
- Open your mind to every possibility, if miracles could happen what would you want?
- What’s in your heart that you dream of doing?
Refrain from analysing how it’s possible. Put any fears you have to one side and go for it.
You don’t have to share this list with anyone.
Challenge 2: What can you achieve this year?
Reflecting on your 10-year list, it might seem impossible, however It’s all about approaching with small steps.
- Taking each one in turn, assess what is realistically possible to achieve this year? What could you do this year to make some progress toward the 10-year goal? Break it down.
For example; If you are looking to revolutionise the education system, perhaps the challenge for this year is to start building up your network in this arena. This could be joining a school committee, meeting with a member of parliament. It could be the year of setting foundations and establishing the landscape today and who the key people are to be influencing.
Remember it’s a 10-year objective, some tasks may well be achieved before then.
- If you are a creative and visual person, you might like to create a mood board showing what you want to achieve in that year. It’s fun and an opportunity for some mindful time.
Encourage friends and family to do the same!
Challenge 3: What can you achieve each week?
- Now break the annual goal down, and review what is achievable each week.
Perhaps invest in a weekly planner together and list out your weekly ‘to do’s. When you start ticking each task off, you will be left with such a feeling of achievement, a feeling of success. Many of us don’t know how to recognise success because we don’t allow such a success planning opportunity.
Based on the scenario in Challenge 2, is it feasible and realistic to go to one networking meeting a week? Decide what works for you and remember to be realistic, this about work life balance, as the say ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day!’
Challenge 4: Review
It’s important to take regular time out, or mindful time to check in with yourself.
- How are you doing? Focus on achievements here.
If something isn’t making you feel motivated, perhaps the approach isn’t right for you. If it’s not making your soul sing, be creative and find a way of achieving the task by doing something that makes you feel fulfilled. For example, if you want to help teach others and you decide to write a blog, but deep down you don’t really get a buzz from writing, then perhaps a vlog might be more suited to you? Something to consider.
Remember the task should reflect your strengths. If it’s not one of yours them you have the power to delegate it!
Challenge 5: Celebrate!
It’s so important to celebrate success, even small ones. Celebrate the fact you completed the challenges! It’s such positive action which will keep you on the road to purposeful living and authentic success.
- Set milestones in your planner to celebrate, and define what you will do.
Keep the spirit of celebration going as you achieve more towards your 10-year plan. The more you recognise your achievements, the more empowered you will feel and the more success you will deliver.
I’m passionate about wine, so I treat myself to a special bottle now and again! It’s motivating for me, and it keeps my success spirit alive.
Since completing these challenges for myself I’ve never struggled to find the energy and motivation to keep pushing myself forward towards my dreams. The want has to be there, because you’ll be investing your valuable time and energy. Without passion, you won’t perform to the best of your ability and be the very best version of you.
Passion comes from your values.
It’s interesting that in my 14-years in the corporate world, no one ever asked me what my values were, or even took the time to focus on my particular strengths. I think that not only will individuals personally benefit from this clarity, but it can have a positive impact on organisations. If my strengths could have been utilised in areas that matched my values, perhaps I wouldn’t have changed jobs so often.
Employee retention of great people can be a challenge, however there is a simple solution that needs an investment of your time.
It’s so important to take that time, to get clarity around who you are and what your values are. Only then can you define what success looks like, and only then can you confidently go about setting life and work goals and really achieve authentic success!
Danielle Drozd is a Confidence Coach. After 14-years in the Blue Chip corporate world, Danielle decided to change her life in order to achieve authentic success. Her life changing journey, in her debut book I Have a Dream (available through Completely Novel), ignited a desire to share her knowledge, empower others to be the best version of themselves. Additional resources can be found at www.danielledrozd.com