4. Jun, 2017

Are you unhappy at work? Perhaps you are disconnected from your values

We have done everything right, we have the perfect life, the perfect job and everyone says how lucky we are. We know we should be happy, yet we feel like we are living someone else's life. We are unhappy and frustrated but can't explain why.

Here are 7 examples to understand how it may have happened and here and exercise to review your values :

Negative associations with a value mean we go out of our way to avoid expressing it - even though it's important to us deep down.

A small child expresses wonder, or a teenager is being idealistic about the world, and a parent makes fun of them or angrily points out that they're wasting time or being stupid. We learn to shut down and stop expressing our wonder or idealism but later in life feel miserable, like something is missing in our lives.

We're afraid and unsure how to integrate a major life changing realisation, so we go back to living our life the way we always have.

During recuperation from a major health threat we learn how important rest and relaxation is to us, yet once recovered we go back to working late evenings and weekends. We have more health issues, arguments with our spouse. We feel trapped and don't know how to break the cycle.

Outdated values: We live our lives according to a value we were taught - but no longer believe in.

A parent taught us that "Hard work, that's what it's all about!" Lately, fun has become incredibly important to us, yet we keep pushing ourselves harder and experience increasing levels of dissatisfaction with life and internal conflict.

Blinded by habit: We CONSCIOUSLY reject a value we have been taught, but still UNCONSCIOUSLY express it in our lives.

We had a parent who taught us that "one-upmanship" was where it was at - to always be better than those around us. Our parents divorced as a result and we decided we would be different. Yet, we keep upsetting our spouse and co-workers through our unconscious habit of having the last word. Why are people upset with us? What's wrong with everyone?

Value obsessed:

We put so much effort into one value that it prevents us from expressing other important values.

A value of excellence could become so important and extreme that we sacrifice our weekend (and attending our child's football match) to finish something to an excessively high standard. Excellence has become perfectionism - and has trumped important values like love, family and happiness. We feel miserable but don't know how to let go.

Who am I? We observe qualities in someone we admire and try to emulate their values - when it isn't really who WE are.

We admire John's devotion to helping others. We think we want to be like him so we're continually volunteering which leaves us no time for our own passions and activities. We end up tired, grumpy and unhappy - but don't know why.

Should Values:

We grew up in an environment where we were constantly told how to be and were rewarded with love and affection when we did what was expected of us.

These are just some examples of how we can become disconnected from our values and our 'selves'. The next step is to understand how we are disconnected from our values - a stepping stone to claiming our power and create truly fulfilling and meaningful lives at work.

All the best. Nieves