I said these words at the end of my winning speech at the International Mr Leather contest in Chicago, May 2003.
Despite values being so central to my speech, I never thought about my own values in detail until 2020, when training as a life coach and we were asked to complete this values exercise.
I found it incredibly useful - so I've copied it below.
If you'd like to give it a try, the first step is to look at the values_list.pdf below:
- Make a list or circle on a printout all the values which are important to you, you admire in other people, or would like more of in your life.
- You decide what each word means. If you think two words have the same definition you can combine them, but please don't combine more than two words at a time.
- Once you've done that, narrow the list of chosen values down to your top 10.
- Now choose your top 5.
- Then your top 3.
- Now rank the top 3 in order.
This list may change over time, but it represents where you are now.
The benefits of knowing your values
Some people feel that they don't know who they are because they've spent a lifetime masking, only live for other people, or maybe they are discovering their gender identity. Maybe your life is going through a big change or upheaval, such as the ending of a long relationship, or you are feeling "unteathered".
Discovering your values can be useful for working out who you are now and accepting yourself.
We are happiest when the elements of our life (work, friendships, hobbies, relationships) align with our value system. Where there is conflict between something in our life and our values that will cause dissonance. You may not know why you are unhappy, but by working out what your values are we can see if there are any clashes.
If you feel you are being pulled in different directions, or have a big choice to make, we can see which direction would align more closely with your values.
You are more likely to succeed at goals or keep resolutions if they match your highest placed values.
If someone is reacting strongly to a situation we can see if any of their values are being "poked".
HELP WITH ORGANISATION
If you have an overwhelming 'to do' list it can be useful to work out which jobs are urgent and need doing because they are time specific, and which jobs are important to you because they align with your values.
If a task is neither urgent not important to you, we can look and see why it's on the list.
(I mark jobs that have a deadline in red, work tasks are purple, self-care is blue, and things I want to do because they align with my values are green. Tasks that haven't been given a colour I can then ask: "why is that on there again?")
People who feel like outsiders often score highly as "people pleasers". As a result they may take on other people's tasks as their own, and tend not to delegate or ask for help.
This exercise can help you understand your "to do" list priorities, and be a starting point for saying "no" to things you no longer want to do.
"John has helped me to find a lot of clarity and perspective around things that have bothered me for years" - Lawrence, London
If you would like an introductory call with John please fill in the form here.
Page updated 15 July 2022
Page updated 15 July 2022