14 Jun 2018
So there I was, at the beginning of session 2 all keen to get started and set up more tasks to get me closer to the ultimate goal, but Georgina quickly told me in this session we wouldn’t exactly look at tasks to begin with. She wanted us to do an exercise on values. This sort of caught me off guard. What did values had to do with achieving my ultimate goal of earning a living from creative work?
It turns out that finding out what your values are can be fundamental to actually achieving your goal, because sometimes after you go through the process, you might find out that your values don't align with your goal, and this may get in the way of achieving it, even if it is just on a subconscious level.
To find out what my values were, Georgina gave me a worksheet with 60 values and asked me to pick 10. The list included things like peace, self-respect, stability, family and growth. I really struggled to pick only 10 and after a lot of thought l managed to pick 11. Fairness was the odd one out, but l thought fairness was quite important in my top 10 because it was one of the values my Dad taught me by example, and l just could not leave it out. Eventually l realised that love and passion could be encompassed in love, because passion to me meant doing what l love.
I finally arrived to the top 10 and just as l started to feel proud of myself, Georgina asked me to get 10 down to 4. My 4 core values. If getting them down to 10 was hard, 4 seemed beyond impossible! I told Georgina l was giving up after getting them down to 6, l just couldn't get the number down any further. She completely reassured me and said ‘It’s ok, why don't you write your top six down and then write a definition next to each value? Not what the word actually means, but what it means to you’. I made the list and something incredible happened, suddenly my top 4 jumped at me. I knew exactly what they were, and l had no doubt about it, however l felt a bit uncomfortable with one of my values, and it was the first one l picked out of the top 10: achievement.
I told Georgina about my discomfort and she wanted to know more. I told her l was a high achiever and it was really hard to turn it off, that l didn't necessarily like it because l wasn't the kind of person that could just relax and go with the flow. l always needed to achieve things and if l didn't, my self-worth diminished. It was precisely because of that l was moving into copywriting, in an attempt to get myself some achievements so l could feel l didn't waste away my 20s by retraining as an actor after graduating from business school.
Georgina asked if the need to achieve was really mine, or if it was imposed on me by society and my upbringing. After thinking for some time, I knew achieving was completely ingrained in me. It wasn’t my parents or society saying I had to do it, it was all me and I felt I needed those milestones to look back on. I’m driven, which means I make things happen and that’s great, but it can also be a cause of extreme anxiety. This anxiety started to come to the surface during the session. What if I don’t achieve anything? What if I don’t make it as a copywriter and all of this work setting up a new career will be for nothing? ‘Every time we try something new it comes with a risk’ Georgina said. ‘It could all go wrong but it could all go right, that’s why we try, and even if it doesn’t work you’ll still learn something along the way.
Once we established the 4 core values were all mine, not someone else’s perception of who I should be, we moved on to filling a work sheet on career values. The values listed were along the lines of helping society, helping others, competition, public contact and so on. I had to give each value a number out of 4, 4 being very important. As I started filling in the worksheet I was only writing down 3s and 4s. I felt like I was doing one of those quizzes in which you try to lie and second guess the answers so it tells you you’re the type you think you are, rather than the type you actually are. However as I went further down the list, I realised there were things that truly weren’t important to me at all, and I wasn’t even ashamed to admit it. For example, power and authority scored 1. I am not a leader, I can be if I have to, but if I don’t I am quite happy for someone else to take the lead, and in fact I am much happier when someone else does.
Looking at the results of the career values sheet I was sure that my ultimate goal was in alignment with my values which was a relief. The only thing left to do was set a task to be completed by our next session. I set a few extra challenges for myself this time, I’m going to complete 4 courses to keep enhancing my copywriting CV and get in touch with 2 contacts about developing a portfolio.
I set goals for myself before but having a coach asking me to set dates and keeping me accountable for actually making the deadlines, has been a massive help to get things done.
I am now off to do my tasks, excited to see what our next session will bring.