DevelopHer | Your Bravest Year in partnership with the Bravest Path

Defining Values … who are we?

I was scrolling through Instagram one Sunday evening, lazily observing how ‘together’ everyone else’s lives looked and internally chastising myself for wasting time, when I saw the advert for the DevelopHer “Your Bravest Year” programme. Instinctively I knew I needed to apply. One huge appeal was that it was based on the work of Brené Brown, someone I have been inspired by over the last couple of years and who has had a profound impact on my journey of personal growth (a quick recommendation to “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown, an incredible book). Both my desire to learn more about Brené Brown’s work, along with my interest to learn more about coaching, meant I was immediately drawn to applying. I was determined to make some fundamental changes to my life this year.

Vunerability, Brene Brown

With a few of my new year resolutions in mind, those being less inertia, deeper personal connections and to find a meaningful career path, I immediately completed the application process and felt a hint of excitement that I could gain the support to actually achieve these resolutions, and to truly embrace my “Bravest Year”.

Life is an adventure, take risks

It goes without saying I was exceptionally pleased when I received the e-mail saying I had been accepted, it was amazing news and thank-you DevelopHer!

My first call with Denise, my coach, was about identifying my values. While it sounds simple (surely, we should all know who we are), it’s harder than it seems to actually pinpoint and condense them into a few words. I’ve been trying to define mine over the last couple of years, and while my usual approach is to immediately jump to an internal fear-stricken panic of having to conduct some self-evaluation, followed by an immense amount of research to ensure I have a good sample set of example values (for fear of actually getting mine wrong …. ridiculous, I know!?!), ruminate on them for a while and then whittle them down over a period of time, Denise was wonderful and very calmly suggested I just say a few things that are important to me. Encouragingly, once started I found it easier than my initial ‘rabbit in a headlight’ reaction. Denise also kindly suggested some adjectives that she felt described me, which were incredibly accurate after only 30 minutes of conversation. On a side note, for anyone who is keen to define their own values, I recommend “Legacy” by James Kerr, a great book that focusses on the importance of values.

Within the hour I had written down approximately 20 values, reduced these to a few, then prioritised the top five. I’ve also since added further definition to these to resolve ‘my truth’:

- Innovative — intellectual curiosity, creative thinking and designer of solutions

- Integrity — know yourself, be authentic and treat people how you want to be treated

- Adventurous — explore your boundaries, keep an open mind and remain curious

- Connection — establish relationships, be true and embrace who you are

- Positivity — let things go, think the best of situations and positivity is contagious

I am pleased with these, and the beauty is they can change over time (thank goodness, my indecisive self will still have a role to play). That’s a complete joke, it’s actually comforting to be reminded that everyone and the way in which we interpret things will change based on life experiences … thank goodness we’re all evolving.

With clear values, decisions become easier.

I finished the conversation with a paradox of emotions, feeling calm yet excited, feeling grounded yet inspired. I came off the call with Denise with renewed energy of knowing my values, and therefore myself, the first step to authentic living.

After a successful first session, I feel I’m a step closer to reaching my resolutions and I’m looking forward to the rest of the coaching programme, with an inkling of hope that this really will be my “Bravest Year.”