Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Gary Gasaway (USA)

In my practice as a professional life coach, one of the most common areas of conflict regarding my clients is living a complicated, stressful life. To combat this undesirable living condition, I focus my attention and coaching efforts to have the client first; acknowledge themselves, second; believe in their abilities, and then lastly; selecting and using the right values and virtues to live a simple, but a much more effective life. Then, together, we discover how important personal values are in leading a happier and more fulfilling life. The fact is, it is our individual values; if used effectively, that initiates a focus upon being our best in all situations.

Values-based living is a life that includes the use of the right values and certain codes of ethics, that create essential personal acknowledgement, then is transformed into action-oriented responses that leads us down the path to a happier and more fulfilling life. These responses act as our inner voice of what’s right regarding our thoughts and the way in which we behave intentionally using our own personal values. It is these personal values that become our primary beliefs. Further, it is these same primary beliefs that become our values-based living environment. It’s these values-based approach that acts as a guide regarding decision-making abilities that leads to responsive behaviours that are integrated into our daily lives.

First, yet utmost important, is for the client to acknowledge and value themselves. It only makes sense that we must value ourselves to make the best of the values we hold on to. So, we start with valuing ourselves. Once I coach my clients to value themselves, we then move to self-acceptance, valuing others, and lastly, choosing the right values theses clients want to live by.

Valuing Yourself

When you suffer from low self-esteem, the negative vision of yourself and the undesirable thoughts about yourself are likely to be programmed in your mind. These thoughts and feelings may well have been going on for some time, and maybe even more than you can remember.

There is good news – these thoughts and feelings can be changed by simply valuing yourself. This is accomplished by taking responsibility for your life and the choice to change your personal identity. To change your identity, you must take back your pride and take back ownership of acknowledging who you really are, and only then will you begin to recognize the true value of yourself.

Having a focus on simply the best is truly all you can request of yourself. If you know deep within that your focused efforts are striving to create the full capability of passionate feelings to be your best, then you can ask no more from yourself. It is this kind of motivation that moves you to be your absolute best you can be. When you experience these heart-felt emotions, they will transform your life. To simply be your best is a commitment to yourself in which all possibilities will be unleashed in an effort to reach your full potential in life. As you focus on your true value, all paths will then lead you to more fulfilling and yes, a less complicated life as well.

When it really gets down to being true to yourself, it’s just a choice to be your best. That is why it’s simply the best because it is you that chooses to give that level of effort. And it is the level of effort that will result in the amount of success you will experience. Being your best starts with what you think – then what you feel – that in turn moves you to respond by creating positive and meaningful actions. It is when you learn to value yourself and what you represent that you can lead a more fulfilling life, but it must start with you. As you will always continue to work on yourself, you will also have a natural set of values and virtues that you live by. These same values are the foundation of responding to living a simpler, yet effective life.

Valuing self leads to self-acceptance

To value self, you must do it regardless of your past mistakes and any less-than achievements you have made in life. Let’s stop there for a moment. Not one of us has achieved all of what we want in life. Not to mention all the unsuccessful ‘things’ that didn’t work out. The most lasting kind of self-acceptance involves recognising that although you have made a few mistakes and have some flaws in your abilities; you still believe in yourself and have strong self-esteem. The key is to accept who you are and see yourself as having genuine worth whether or not you have achieved all your personal goals you have set out to achieve. With this, avoid judging yourself or gaining the approval from others. Self-acceptance is knowing who you are and acknowledging yourself, simply accepting ‘you for you’. Being self-aware and self-accepting is not anything other than strengthening your own individual character – nothing more.

We also need to value others as well

Just the values and virtues of caring, loving, trusting, and respecting brings about thoughts and feelings regarding the people in our lives. It is these special relationships that are an important part of living a simple, effective, and fulfilling life. For example; take the people in our life – the ones we truly love. When there is this kind of special caring and loving, we respond with simple things such as a smile, listening instead of speaking, or observing instead of doing. It is eye to eye, heart to heart in the moment. It is making the effort in lifting someone’s spirits to make their day, not yours. Valuing others leads us to believe that we need each other, and that love for one another is unconditional.

Your Individual Values

Once the client is comfortable and confident regarding who they are, I then coach them to identify and acknowledge their own values. We all live with some version of a value-based life. Then it stands to reason that it is our own individual values that are the principles we live by. These values are created within but shown as our behaviours on the outside. Using the right values and virtues in our lives creates a less complicated, more effective, productive life. But before a more productive life can be realized, we are tested on our values and how we demonstrate them. The test is created when we make the attempt to live these values regardless of the circumstances we encounter. Whether it’s from moral standards or just natural behaviours, we live these values until we end this life on earth. We all have different and unique values that establish who we are. Many of these values match others that we have relationships with – trust, respect, honesty, integrity, patience, gratitude, humility, and generosity to name a few. Because our relationships with others are so important, we must remember that the life we live may be created by us but shared with the people in our lives.

It’s important to stay true to our individual values – they are ours. Our values, and how we live them, defines us. We are not perfect as we live these values, but we can always improve who we are by identifying the enhancements we want to make and create change if necessary. Unfortunately, some of my clients will attempt to live other than their own values. For those that try to be someone else will only put extra efforts into something they cannot change. Regrettably, the results make them feel more confused than they did before they got started trying to change themselves. To this point, there are times that I must then redirect my clients to be true to who they are and to only use those values that serve them best. Then finally, I coach the client to take a personal inventory of their values and virtues and how to better integrate the right values into their daily lives.

The key to success is to again, simply identify areas of improvement regarding our own values and take necessary actions to create a better person. We should be happy with the person we are – that’s what truly matters. Find areas of improvement regarding our values and focus upon them to be the best we can possibly be. Our values make up who we are – we should never stop trying to improve ourselves and the values we live by.

About Gary Gasaway

Gary is the founder of Conflict Coaching Solutions, LLC, a professional life coaching business that focuses on inspiring individuals, couples, and/or groups to transform their conflictive situations into positive solutions.

Before creating his company, Gary was a “corporate coach” for a large utility in Southern California. During his 32 years with this company, Gary designed and developed several coaching courses and workshops that he facilitated to supervisors and managers throughout the company.

Gary also has written and published three books; The Coach’s Chronicles Trilogy. For additional information regarding Gary and his business or books, go to: www.conflictcoachingsolutions.com

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