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Issue 80 [ISSN 1712-468]

By distinguishing types according to their own striving and values, we are trying to develop knowledge that increases compassion, respect for differences, but also understanding of what we like and dislike in ourselves and others and why...

Michael Maccohy


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Focus on Professional Development
Why Aren't You More Like Me?

The Chapter on Values
Part Two of Two

Have you heard people say their family is important to them, yet they never spend time with them? That is a simple example of stated values that are incongruent with actions.

What about you?
  • Are you aware of your core values and the related needs and fears that underlie each value?
  • Are you also aware of the core values of the people in your most important relationships?

If your values and needs don’t match exactly with your PSI score, don’t worry. You have permission to have flexibility in your values list.

Values Have Related Needs and Fears

Needs and fears are opposite sides of the same coin; they function as a balancing scale. When needs are adequately met, fears decrease. If needs are consistently unmet, fears increase. For example, if you have a high need for acceptance, you will have a greater fearof rejection than a person with a low need for acceptance.

When I use the word fear, I mean the fears common in everyday life that produce feelings of insecurity and stress and that reduce our levels of personal effectiveness and fulfillment.

Your values, needs, and fears are conveyed through your feelings and through your behavior and decisions. You have positive feelings when your needs are being satisfied and negative feelings when your needs go unfulfilled.

For example, I feel better when I achieve a goal than when I fail. Negative feelings are signals to you and to others that you are not satisfied with something in a particular situation.

When needs are consistently unfulfilled, fears develop. Those fears have their source in particular needs that, over time, have gone unmet by people or situations in a person’s environment.

Note:    The fears we are discussing here are quite different from phobias, which are fears deeply rooted in a belief system.

Small fears that are based on internal needs from within your personality can develop into larger ones if negative conditions prevail for a long period.

Individuals who have high levels of fear about something
usually have a history of chronic neglect.

High-level fears, once established, can have ongoing repercussions in a person’s life and they continue to reflect the unmet, intensified needs of the past.

Needs Prompt Behavior

In contrast, fears can override or stem our natural impulse to take action. Fears also can provoke less desirable behavior, such as dishonesty and deceit.

During one of my consulting visits at an auto dealership, a sales rep said he valued honesty. But, according to him, if he were 100% honest during the sale, his sales manager would fire him. He insisted he valued honesty and that’s why he felt physically ill when he was directed to omit certain details about some of the used cars being offered to potential clients.

My challenge to him was that he was living situational values—important only at certain times and negotiable at others.

Was honesty really a value for him?

Fear of losing his job threatened that sales rep’s value of honesty. By his actions, his value of job security was more important than honesty. In other words, he sold out on his value of honesty.

Many individuals allow fear to control their decisions and behaviors, rather than engaging their primary needs and the values that will fulfill them.
We need to inentionally move toward and put the most value
on what meets our core needs (fulfillment).
We should avoid situations where our needs will not be met (unfilled).
If we have a low need for something, not getting it will be less of a threat to us than not getting something we consider important. For instance, I have little need for tranquility and, when it is not present, there are no repercussions.

What Happens if You Are Not Living Your Values?

It is amazing how many people are not living their core values.

In a lively discussion during one of our values seminars, a participant suggested that if people really valued something other than what they are doing, they would choose to do it. He stated that each of our lives, at this very moment, reflects our true values.

Although that seems a logical concept, it assumes

  1. people know their values, and
  2. they are consciously (willing and ready) to choosing their path.

In my experience with thousands of individuals, those two points are simply not true.

When we are not living in alignment with our values,
our personal energy is disrupted, our internal drive is hindered,
and our fulfillment is diminished.

No matter what approach I tried, the cultural pressure and expectations were greater than the lifestyle that would have been fulfilling to the son and his values.

What about you?
Are you living your values...or someone elses?

Because there can be considerable variation in our personal values, there can be vast differences in the values we attach to an event. For example, I may rate variety highly. That will be manifested in the number of new experiences and activities I seek. It may be revealed in my choice—or my desire to choose, if the means and opportunity presented themselves—to travel all over the world, visiting or living in many different countries.

In contrast, perhaps you prefer security. You may desire freedom from debt to other people—both financial obligations and moral responsibilities. As a result, you may be more likely to avoid risks and to settle for your existing circumstances and routine. That may be reflected in your being content to live in the same house for 20 years.

Differences in values will affect behavior.

I may be more willing to take chances than you are, especially ones where I risk security to get variety. On the other hand, you may be more likely to move cautiously when dealing with financial matters, particularly ones that have a long-term impact, such as mortgages and insurance policies.

Whether our lives turn out successfully and we achieve happiness and satisfaction is determined by many other factors, not the least of which is the amount of information we have available at the time we make the choices.

Most people learn to accept values differences in others as a “fact of life.” Yet often, when adjustments cannot be made, conflict occurs.

Conflict can occur when there is a clash of values
and a lack of understanding or appreciation of our differences.

Anger often indicates that one or more individuals in a conflict strongly value whatever issue he or she feels is at stake.

People tend to get angry only when
something is important to them.
Personal values are very powerful in directing behavior.
Most people tend to invest their time and energy in areas
that will bring them the most personal rewards.

What you consider most rewarding is directly related to what is most valuable to you. Consequently, values are like inner goals that each individual hopes to achieve while interacting with others and the environment. An example of this concept in action can be seen when groups of people get together for a collective effort. Teamwork is accomplished when the individuals on the team have common goals and values.

Groups that have members with similar values and goals work better together because motivational drives within the individuals in the group are going in similar directions.

It is safe to say that, given a choice, most of us would probably choose all the values listed. But we are limited by the amount of time and energy we have. When we work hard to acquire one value, we often eliminate opportunities to obtain other values.

For example, valuing “challenge” might encourage one father, but not another, to seek out personal experiences—such as flying alone to Africa for a safari vacation—that would take time and resources away from his family. While that meets a personal need of his, it comes at the expense of the needs of other family members.

We have linked the values to their related needs. Reflect on how your needs and values are being realized or omitted.

Personal Values according to Personal Style

The Behavioral Person

The Cognitive Person



The Interpersonal Person

The Affective Person

Applying the Time and Energy Test to Your Top Values
Much of our personal and professional fulfillment in life comes from living and embracing our top values.

You would think that the way people invest their time and energy would reveal what is important to them. But, as I mentioned, many people’s lives/actions are not congruent with their core values. Based on research, that is more common than we would like to think. Many individuals, for whatever reason, are living lives that do not reflect their core values and needs.

What about you?

Have you been proactive and intentional in all your values choices or have you been living someone else’s values?
The only person who can confirm
whether YOUR values are being met is YOU.
I suggest you use two measures to confirm that your values and needs are being met—time and energy. For example, even though two people value friendship, the amount of time required to feel fulfillment in this value is intensely personal. I suggest 

One individual may find that seeing good friends for a couple of hours once a week is enough to satisfy that value and have his or her needs met. Another person might require double or triple that amount of time to meet the friendship need.

The energy we invest also influences our needs level. Going to a private dinner with close friends is much different than attending a large party or a BBQ with them.

As you proceed with the next step, please be as honest as possible in determining whether your personal needs and values are being met from the perspective of both time and energy.

During our values seminars, we get individuals to confirm whether or not their values are being met, using the time and energy test to each of their top 7 values.
Even if two people have the same value,
they each might require different time and energy
to have that value fulfilled.

During this exercise in one of our workshops, a 23-year-old male at the back of the room was in tears. I went to talk to him at the break to find out what was happening for him. He had concluded that not one of his top 7 values was being realized. I asked if he had any insight into why that was the case. He said he lived at home with his parents and that for his whole life, he had been doing what his parents wanted—not what was important to him.

His tears came from the realization that his life did not reflect his core values.

Instructions: Values, Time, and Energy Exercise

Review or transfer your top 7 values to the following blank list. Place your number 1 value in the number 1 position and so on, up to 7. Once you have completed the transfer, carefully reflect on each value to establish whether you honestly feel that your needs related to that value are currently being met, from both a time and an energy perspective.

Make sure you consider your entire life—not just work and/or home.

  • If your needs are being met, answer Yes and place a (+) in the status column.

  • If No, then place a (-) beside that value.

If you wish, you may rank your values from 1 to 10.

  1 = not met at all

10 = being completely fulfilled

Once you have confirmed your current time and energy status for each value, summarize what you need to do to continue to keep a (+) there—or, if you responded with a (-), what you need to change to make it a (+).

1. __________________________________
2. __________________________________
3. __________________________________
4. __________________________________
5. __________________________________
6. __________________________________
7. __________________________________


If you placed a (+) beside each of your top 7 values, you likely feel satisfied with your life. Your life is a reflection of your values, so you will feel fulfilled and you could feel even more aligned with your values as additional opportunities arise.O

Having mostly (-) signs beside your values might indicate 1 of 2 possibilities.

  1. First, you are investing time in areas not related to the values that are important to you. If so, you may be dissatisfied with what you are doing. Perhaps situations and/or others have sidetracked you from what is really most important to you. In that case, re-assess your priorities and decisions about your current activities.
  2. The second possibility is that you are investing your time in areas that are valuable to you but those particular values are not on this list. If so, the values you selected on the inventory may not be your main values. You may have chosen values you feel are more socially acceptable or you selected family values—values based on what other people want, not what you need.

The power of values clarification means you can make the right decision in most circumstances in the future.


Instead of making situational decisions, you will make values-based decisions.

Use your top values and your style as filters to make your choices in life.

One of my top values is independence. When I got a job opportunity to join a successful organization, I used my values to screen its potential. I quickly realized that no matter how much money they would offer me, my core value of independence would not be met. I would not be able to sustain my interest in the job without compromising my values and I was not willing to do that.

It also is important to learn the values that are important to the people in your close relationships. If their values are different than yours, are you accepting their need to live their values while they accept yours? That can be a freeing and powerful exercise. 

A forced-choice matrix is part of the assessment process in the Values Preference Indicator. You rank every value against every other value five times. That requires you to make over 300 decisions. The result of the exercise is that many people’s top values from the forced-choice matrix process do not match the top 7 values they selected from the list provided in this book.

There are many reasons for the differences. The key is for you to filter through all the outside pressures and get connected to the core values that truly motivate and fill your needs. If this is of interest to you or others, please go to www.crgleader.com to learn more about the Values Preference Indicator . 

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