To create a worklife balance that works for you, you need to understand you.

The first part of the tree that we need to look at are the roots.  You need good strong healthy roots to be able to grow a good strong healthy tree.  You also need the right roots to grow the specific type of tree that you want.  There is no point in planting an oak tree when you are expecting an apple tree.

Everyone is unique, and therefore everyone’s values are unique to them. Its no good wishing for a specific value as if it doesn’t fit with you, you will always be in conflict. Once you have identified  what it is that drives you and makes you tick, then you can plan for how to make a situation work for you.

The first part of you that is intrinsic to you, are your values. Think of them as the roots.  They supply what and how something grows.

I would like you to start thinking about what you enjoy, what drives you, what you are passionate about, and what brings you joy.  The more time and effort you put into this today, the easier the rest of this challenge will be!

Grab yourself an old fashioned pen and paper and try to fill the page with words all about you. Think about what you like, what you miss, what excites you and what scares you. When were the times that you were the happiest, and the saddest. Write it all down as it springs to mind, and don’t spend too much time thinking about your answer, just get them down on paper.

The Tree Roots – Value

1) List your values.

Out of all the words that you have written down, you now need to start to putting them in some sort of order. I suggest putting them under headings of:

  • Thought
  • Feeling
  • Action

Next, you need to start picking out the the words that are the most important to you. Which words really resonate with you? Compare the lists to each other and think about how they make you feel. How important are they if they were taken away? What is it about a certain action that means so much to you? What characteristics draw you to someone as they make you feel safe, secure and trustworthy?

Once you have your lists, take some time to look at everything that you have written down and start to prioritise them so that they rank in order of most important to you. I suggest capping it at 15 as otherwise it all becomes rather overwhelming!

2) Reaffirm your values.

Check your list and make sure they fit with your life and your vision for your future.

-Do these values make you feel good about yourself?

-Are you proud of the top 5 values on the list?

-Does anything make you feel uncomfortable or guilty?

-Would you be comfortable and proud to tell people the values that you respect and admire?

-If you look at the list, does it feel right for you?

-Do the values represent the things that you support, even if your choice isn’t popular and puts you in the minority?

Keep going back over the list until you feel completely happy and content with the list and you feel that the top 5 values really define you.

Values can be difficult to identify as it is very easy to pick the ones that you think you want, or that other people have told you that you should have. The purpose of the next few questions is to really affirm that the values that you have listed, are your true values.

Have a look at the following questions, and then compare your answers with the values that you have picked out.

1) Identify the times when you were happiest.

  • What were you doing?
  • Were you with other people? Who?
  • What other factors contributed to your happiness?

2) Identify the times when you were most proud.

  • Why were you proud?
  • Did other people share your pride? Who were they and how important was it that other people took notice?
  • What other factors contributed to your feelings of pride?

3) Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied.

  •  What need or desire was satisfied?
  •  How and why did the experience give your life meaning?
  •  What other factors contributed to your feelings of fulfilment?

4)  Now have a think about your values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride and fulfilment.

Aim for about 10 top values.  If some cross over, is there another word that would encompass both of those values?  (see attached list for some ideas)

When you are completely happy with your list, look at your top 3, and write them on the tree to make up the foundations of who you are.

Well done! The first part is completed and you now know your values. Keep coming back to them every now and then to reconfirm. This will become easier over time as you carry out more actions in alignment with your values and so you have more evidence that they work for you.