The Value Compass - Act or Die!

You are in a dense forest, you have no idea how you got there and are desperate to find your way back to civilization. You have seen enough reality shows and movies to have some idea of what could help you and what dangers may exist. You start looking around and see a green duffle bag with a message on it - Act or Die!

What is the one thing you wish this bag would have? Perhaps a working satellite phone! To your utter dismay, all you find in this bag is a compass and a note. The note describes that the compass is unlike any you have seen. It is voice-activated! You simply say 'Hey Compass' followed by a question and it will tell you exactly what you need to do, to survive. All you need to do then is follow its instructions to get out of the wilderness and survive. Thrilled to have this device - you shout 'Hey Compass' and you wake up!

Waking up from a such a dream could leave you with mixed emotions. Happy for finding yourself safe and cozy in your bed, happy to have made the choice to live! Yet, sad for not having a voice activated compass that would tell you exactly what you need to do in a crisis situation. This dream would get you reflecting on, 'What currently guides your decisions in tough situations?' 'What if you had a compass that could guide your actions?' 'What would it change in your personal & professional life?'

Having discovered this compass at the beginning of my coaching journey, I am testament to the positive impact it has made on me and on numerous coachees. The Value Compass ensures that our actions are guided by, deeply personal values. This makes us feel more alive each day, acting, behaving and living by these values. We choose to use this compass and really live rather than continuously compromise on our values and die a slow and painful death.

Outlined below is the path to creating your destiny by discovering your Value Compass. This method can help you as a coach with your clients, as a manager with your team and as an individual for self-coaching. Each of us has certain values we have been living by for years. This tool would help bring this knowledge to the fore and use it effectively to make decisions that make you feel alive!

The Value Compass Process

1.   Define Values - The first step is to ensure you understand the meaning of values! The oxford dictionary defines values as 'Principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life.' During my coaching conversations, I define it as something you cannot do without and aren't easily willing to compromise on.

2.   Identify Values - Once you are clear on the definition of values, you would now review a list of values and pick your values based on past life choices and experiences. You don't want to arrive at a list of "Want to Have" values, rather you want to arrive at a list of like it or not here are "My Values". Here is a link to get a free list of values and other great coaching tools - Sample Values List from The Coaching Tools

3.   Prioritize Values - At this stage, it is important that you prioritize your values to arrive at your most important value and eventually arrive at 3 - 6 values that form your Value Compass. The best way to do this has been outlined below -

  • List your Values on small A5 Cards and stack this list facing down.
  • Pick one card at random and place it on your Right Hand (The Right Choice)
  • Pick up an alternative card in your left hand and ask yourself which Value would you say YES to and which would you say NO to (this is the hard part, imagine you had no other choice!)
  • Keep doing this Yes and No and make the right choice, till you go through the entire stack. You would then have you Top Most Value (Pointing North!)
  • Finally, to prioritise the remaining values, ask yourself "In your world, if everyone (including you) had to follow 3 rules, what would they be?"
  • Pick 3 other cards based on the above question and you now have your East, South, and West!

During this stage you might think 'This is hard', 'I can't do this', 'Why do I have to choose?'. If these are your thoughts, or are responses from your client or team member, then you know you are on the right track. The short term pain of this process will lead you to the long term gain of having a Value Compass.

4. Live by Values - This is the final stage and is focused on application. Having found your Value Compass, you just need to commit to applying this knowledge for the next fortnight, month, year or even life. All you need to do is ask yourself a question every time you are in a tough situation. 'What would I, who Values (Insert your Value) do in this situation?' After being through this process, you will end up with 3 to 6 questions that you can ask yourself when you feel lost in the wilderness of your Personal and Professional life.

My journey with the value compass has been positive and the question What would I, who wants to 'Make a Difference' do? is what inspired me to share my experience. You are also on your own journey and the challenge is, Do you want to live each day by your Values or let each day define your values.