Why You Need to Understand Your Values | READ

Have you cried lately?

I mean, really cried? Unstoppable tears streaming down your face, causing you to have a hideous snotty nose, red ‘panda’ eyes and lots of bodily shoulder shuddering? Meanwhile taking lots of deep ugly breaths in to try and stop, which doesn’t actually work? My superhero Oprah Winfrey calls that “The Ugly Cry”. The type where you don’t want to open the door to anyone or go to that meeting in case someone asks, “are you okay?”, which you absolutely know will set you off crying again!

There are a range of ways that people cry. As a Coach and Clinical Hypnotherapist, some of my clients start crying immediately when they sit in my ‘wishing chair’. Others say, ‘I am not really crying’ as they keep wiping away the tears rolling down their cheeks. Women tend to try and not disturb their mascara, neatly dabbing a tissue underneath their eyelashes, whilst men cough and splutter whilst using the back of their hand to brush their exposed emotion away.

Personally and professionally, I love tears.

I think they are our bodies unique way of cleansing our mind, body and spirit of sadness, disappointment, frustration or anger. It’s wholly cathartic and a proper release and let go. It leaves you feeling lighter, calmer and generally in most cases, more resourceful.

I had a fabulous MasterMum client recently (to be fair I do attract the most marvellous clients to work with) who arrived for her first MasterMum Coaching session and quickly noticed that amongst the Wedgwood china there was a box of tissues. I always have tissues available for my clients as you never know when the water may start to seep from their eyes. She immediately said “I don’t do crying, that’s why I haven’t ever really visited a Coach or Therapist before as I don’t cry”. As an expert in observing people crying and being a good crier myself, my professional alarm bells started to ring. Pent up negative emotions can get stuck in our mind, body and spirit. This particular client was overweight, lacked inner confidence and had a massive negative inner critic to boot. And of course I was excited to help her!

But what is sadness, disappointment, frustration, anger?

It’s usually a sign of when things don’t go the way we expect they should isn’t it?

The only expectations you need to live up to are the ones you expect of yourself” – Mary Barrett

But do you ever wonder what is driving your ‘should’ behaviour? Let me tell you, as unbelievably, it’s really simple.

It’s your values and your beliefs and what you think ‘should’ happen in that situation with your unique programming and conditioning. We ‘inherit’ our values and beliefs in our conditioning period between ages 0 to 21 years, from the people who we spend the most time with. The majority of people don’t question them until they have maybe have a significant emotional event in their lives, like a divorce, a life threatening illness or accident that changes their whole perspective on the world to what it has been in the past.

Trust me, I am not saying that your values and beliefs are not right but the reality is that they are yours and yours alone. Our values define what is important to us in OUR world and our beliefs tell us why they are important. They are housed in our unconscious minds and are only recognized externally by our behaviours. Imagine an iceberg and your behaviour is at the top, peeking out of the water whilst your values and beliefs are submerged underwater, deep and hidden to all but yourself.

As the wise Brene Brown says,

“A value is a way of being or believing that we hold most important. Living into our values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them. We walk our talk – we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviors align with those beliefs.”


When our values get crossed, it can feel like we are being ‘Zorro-ed’. I named this ‘technique’ after the Saturday morning show I used to watch as a child (back when it was just 2 channels, one black and white 🙂). In it the masked bandit Zorro used to wield his fencing sword and mark his victims with a large Z across their torso. And that is exactly how it feels when someone has ‘crossed’ your values, deeply cutting and gut wrenching. No wonder you want to get angry, get revengeful, get sad, get depressed, get disappointed.

Crossed values

It’s like the MasterMum client who found me after she was asked to leave the organization she had worked in for over 10 years when she ‘whistle blew’ another Director’s inaccuracies with the client expense account. She was asked to leave under the made up disguise that it wasn’t company policy for her and her husband to work together – although they had been doing so very successfully for 10 years already. Yes, her husband kept his job.

Or the MasterLeader client who got overlooked for promotion because although she was achieving amazing results, “it wasn’t time for her to get to VP yet. She would need to prove herself in another role first”. It’s like taking your top sports person and making them wait on the bench isn’t it?

This can feel just as savage if we even cross our own values. Like the MasterLeader client who whilst in the middle of leaving one relationship slept with another woman and was really beating himself up over his behaviour. Fundamentally he had violated his own value of kindness, not just to his ex but also the 3rd person who had unknowingly entered the relationship triangle.

I remember back in the day when I was an employee in the Corporate world, I had my quarterly review and my team leader told me, although I was getting the best results and working my arse off, that he felt I wasn’t fully committed. Well, it was such a slap in the face to me as it was untrue. The reality was that I had actually engaged and educated all the Leaders in the Businesses to deliver tremendous results so much so that my actual presence wasn’t required 14 hours a day. Personally I would call that a success story and the real meaning of being a Coach, not one that isn’t showing commitment.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

It’s wonderfully empowering when my Coaching clients get to understand, sort and review their values and beliefs. They realise that just because they have their values, not everyone else has the same ones (even though of course our ones are the best ones😉).

Maybe it’s time to update and change your values and beliefs of who you are now and who you are becoming in the future. To realign and redirect yourself moving forward.

“Decluttering and designing the ‘Wardrobe of your Mind” – Mary Barrett

Having a pity-me party

So I went home from that review and yes, I did ‘The Ugly Cry’ for two whole days. I luxuriated in a self indulgent ‘victim mode’ pity-me party. I drank a whole bottle of champagne, gorged on an Indian curry, took myself to bed and hid under the duvet for the next 2 days. Oh yes, I thoroughly indulged myself. I  licked my wounds and planned revenge. I’d like to say I was a bigger person but it was over 20 years ago and I’ve since learnt how to handle value crossing much better! I didn’t realise at the time was that I had been ‘Zorro-ed’. My values of commitment, hard work and achievement had been sliced open and the untruth of it all was painful and thoroughly disappointing.

From my experience, most employees join organizations as they are attracted by similar values of the organisation and/or the Leader but leave in many cases, because their immediate boss or the business doesn’t demonstrate or live them. It can feel quite heart-breaking when you realise that the values that are written on the office wall, the website and brochures are just token marketing spiels rather than what the organization truly lives by, can’t it.

A brighter future

The great news about my ugly cry and being Zorro-ed is that it finally gave me the leverage and momentum to leave the corporate world (within 6 weeks!) and to start working for myself, doing work that I love, with people I like, the way I want to do it. And it doesn’t get better than that does it. Reminding us that there can always be a rainbow after the rain.

So if you are feeling battered, bruised and ‘cut up’ about where you work or the relationship you are in, maybe its time for a ‘wardrobe values cleanse’. Come and join many of my Happy Clients doing work that they love, with people they like, the way they want to do it too!

“Every time you make a choice you change the direction of your life.” – Mary Barrett

If you’d like to discover your values and why they are important to you, I’ve created 3 quick and easy exercises to help you discover your values and why they are important to you.