What Are Your Values and Why?
August 10, 2022 - Shauna Jurczak
“It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.” – Roy E. Disney
Sounds great, right? Except how do you determine and understand your values? I think the easiest way is though experience (great, another really open-ended word!) Let’s dig deeper.
First, I’m not expecting anyone to finish reading this post and instantly develop their personal value statement. Instead, I hope to inspire you enough to start looking within to start to understand where your values lie and why. Maybe my story can help.
Understanding my core values
I’ve been asked many times why I chose to structure my dance programs at Maples Academy of Dance the way I do. I offer a more holistic approach to dance, choosing to teach the dancer as a whole. Not just to go out and win dance competitions, but to build their confidence and give them tools to win at life too. This structure was based solely on my own experience as an athlete. I found strength, balance, and value in a coaching style that fostered my talents as a young athlete (gymnastics) while also nurturing me as a person.
I was blessed to have a long-time coach who worked with me – we were a team – to create a training program, a style of routines, and a practice environment that all worked for me. There was a lot of communication, goal setting, and I was always heard, encouraged, and celebrated. It had a huge impact on my success today. Don’t get me wrong. I was pushed a lot as an athlete, but through it, I learned to excel in my sport and life. In turn I gained skills that I still carry with me today that have helped me excel as an adult.
That’s a positive example. What about the flip-side?
I’ve also been asked why I chose to become a Beauty Guide with LimeLife or an Empowerment Coach as opposed to aligning with the fitness/wellness industry. After all, I graduated from Kinesiology and it would make sense for me to go the “health and fitness” route. Well, here is a less glamorous story that really helped me solidify my values, and help me identify who and how I aligned myself and my brand with in business.
I’ve had high cholesterol since I was in my early 20’s. I’m not a typical “at risk” patient. I’m fit, active, eat very healthy, my weight is exactly where is should be for my age/gender/etc, I do everything right. I just have bad genetics.
A few years back I also developed high blood pressure. Again, not something anyone would expect looking at me. To put it into perspective, a nurse taking my blood pressure once thought the machine was broken. It wasn't. It was just me and my high blood pressure.
As these two health concerns came to a real precipice around 2019, I became obsessively afraid of food. I ate, because I knew I needed to eat, but I was terrified that what I’d eat would in fact lead to me having a heart attack. I’d research every food to see how “heart healthy” it was. I’d measure portions perfectly. I replaced the “bad” food in the house with “good” food. I ate very healthy, but not very well. I felt stressed at every meal, fearing the result my food intake would have on my cholesterol, blood pressure and overall health. On top of that, I’d exercise a lot because it was what you’re supposed to do when you have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Right?
I was never trying to “get skinny” or look a certain way. I just wanted to do everything I could to prevent my cholesterol and blood pressure from getting worse, and in my mind, prevent an early death. Unfortunately, the end result of my fear meant I wasn’t getting the correct nutrients or enough calories to sustain myself.
It was all very overwhelming. So much so that I sought help from a dietitian who helped me completely change my perspective on meal planning, eating, my cholesterol and blood pressure, and my overall health. It was all things I knew, but to hear it again in a fresh new way really helped. I had a lot of re-learning to do.
First and foremost, I learned about the downside of labeling food as “good” or “bad” (It’s a really bad idea to do that). I learned to look at meal prep differently, to ensure I was getting enough nutrients and calories, while still limiting the risks for my heart health and making it a fun and enjoyable experience. I learned to appreciate food and how if fuels my body so I can run, dance, do yoga, and enjoy life. I learned what I needed to eat to have healthy hair, skin, nails, muscles, joints, and a good night's sleep. I learned to make cooking an activity, not a chore.
I know that sort of veers off the topic of learning your values, so to come full circle, the most important thing I learned was things like reading labels, promoting exercise and weight loss as it connected to diet, counting calories, and following any diet other than what is directed in Canada’s food guide, were all triggers, They would take me back to worrying that everything was going to negatively impact my heart health. Instead, I wanted to focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle overall. Not about having a diet or exercising to be a size 2, but to eat well and be active in order to live well, live long, and live happy. By turning my fear based actions into a positive way of living, my whole life changed.
As I slowly, and for the better, changed my mindset, focusing on limiting stress, becoming more mindful, following a healthy eating plan, but not a “diet”, and exercising for fun, I made a promise to myself that I’d never, ever, promote anything that was connected to diet supplements or weight loss, because I knew first hand how easy it was to fall into a negative, obsessive, fear based head space. Instead, I wanted to focus on the fact that, fruit was delicious, and a smoothie was a refreshing way to start your day while giving you nutrients to build you immune system and make your hair shiny, for example.
When I chose to become a life coach I was asked if I’d be prescribing diet and fitness routines for clients. I responded with a firm no! I chose to go the empowerment route to help people see their potential and embark on a bright and beautiful future. Now, if that includes some form of diet or fitness needs, I have a some great coaching tools to help clients, but if they need to connect to something more specialized in the area of diet and fitness, I have great contacts I'll can refer for those specialties.
With becoming an LimeLife Beauty Guide, it was like the stars all aligned. The holistic approach I take with my dancers, promoting confidence and being amazing inside and out, and combing it with the self empowerment and mindfulness I came to value along my own wellness journey - It all came together like a cherry on top. As a Beauty Guide, I can say I’ve never met a more inclusive, encouraging, and empowering community, working to help others find their beauty inside and out, while living their best, most positive life.
Understanding my values
Now here I am at age 40. This is the first time I've really sat down to explore where and why my values are the way they are. While I gave two examples here today, I can admit I have values connected to my childhood, experiences in my teens, young adulthood, and early days as an entrepreneur. They have all come to help shape me, my value system, and my purpose today.
Thankfully, the quote I started with is so very true. I was recently faced with a few business decisions. Those type of “go big or go home” type decisions. It took me about 45 minutes to figure it all out, and without hesitation, I choose to go big, grow on my values, trust who and what I am, to make amazing things happen. Knowing and trusting in my values made everything easy.
You can do it too. Sometimes it just takes a little push. If you need an extra little push, connect with me for a consultation to see if empowerment coaching can help you propel yourself onward and upward to be your most amazing self yet. Let’s chat!