Know Your Core Values
I met up with Francesca for coffee, as we do once a month, just to catch up. As usual, we talked about our kids and our interests, but as she explained about the nutritional program she had just finished, she said, "the difference is knowing your core values". My ears perked up as I had just started compiling research for this blog.
Francesca is the founder of the immensely popular Facebook group and Website, Sevenoaks Mums. Two years ago, Francesca welcomed me to the area when I moved to England, immediately making me feel a part of the community. She is a community builder at heart and like me, a very open, honest, and to-the-point Mum who loves a good chat. I asked if I could interview her about her thoughts on knowing your core values and here's what she had to say.
Finding Your Drivers
How did you come to find your core values?
"I went on holiday to Portugal with some super confident friends and saw how one friend went from being overweight to exuding confidence by losing 2-3 stone. This was a bit discouraging because I have been on every diet under the sun but couldn’t take off the weight. About six months ago, I met Jennie Gough, a nutritionist who uses psychology to help you make sustainable change."
You can visit Jennie's site here: www.jenniegough.com
"She taught me to understand the drivers behind Me. I was brought up to be polite, don’t spoil the party, and keep up with the boys. That's all fine until it affects your health. I began to gain weight and the perception of myself changed. I was not who I wanted to be."
Most Mums and/or women in their 40's can relate, I certainly did. I asked her how she found and identified her core values. She talked me through a very easy process, that anyone can try.
Finding Your Core Values Process
The exercise focused on four questions.
Write out one experience or memory from your personal life that made you really happy and one that made you unhappy. Then write down one from your work life that made you really happy and one that made you unhappy.
"You have to take the time to answer these questions truthfully. To really think about those experiences and especially the feelings attached to the memories. Once you have these written down, look at a list of core values and identify the top 7 that are aligned with the experiences. Then narrow them down to your top four." (You can find a list here on my post How To Find Your Core Values)
Francesca outlined her values as: Honesty, Trustworthy, Community Driven and Communication, Contribution
She told me the story of how in work reviews, she would be told that she “comes across as forthright”. She can now see why as she considers honesty as a top value. This identification gave her the confidence to never look at this trait as a negative. It also gave her the language to now easily explain to people, well, this is who I am (like it or not).
"If you understand yourself, it helps you understand other people. It takes away the anxiety of trying to be someone else. You don’t try to battle people because you understand it’s not their thing - it’s not important."
The core values exercise shifted Francesca's motivation. No longer is she trying to lose 2 stone. Her motivation is now focused on the decisions she makes to be the person she wants to be.
"I want to be fit and healthy, for the sake of my children, in my old age and so I can climb Mount Kilimanjaro. I've become much more self aware of what I'm doing, what goes into my mouth, and how I react to situations. I'll ask myself, does this decision align with who I want to be? Decisions have consequences and if I do X… X will happen. All those decisions are the foundation to who I want to be and those are defined by my core values."
Francesca has taken her core values and realigned her professional goals. She's expanded the Sevenoaks Mums community, knowing now that community is completely in line with her core values.
She is eating better and thinking about what foods go into her body, making her happier. And she's sleeping better, giving her the energy she needs for her two kids and work.
"My brain is not muddled with unwanted anxiety and “thinking” stuff. I now, concentrate on myself and know that it’ll trickle down to the family and to everyone else."
Because Francesca spent the time to find her core values, she is reaping the benefits.
"When you fit your habits into who you are at your core, you stay true to them and make a difference. This is how to get what you want."