Last week, we began a powerful 3-part series on “How to Have it All,” by Centerpointe’s Director of Client Services, Marc Gilson.
Even though many people seem to “have it all” on the outside, there are many of those (over 50% of people in the workplace)...
...who feel unhappy on the inside.
By looking at what motivates you in life–those things that drive you at your deepest, most meaningful level–you can uncover a startling reason for your…
...sense of discontent or disappointment, if not outright unhappiness.
When your insides don’t match your outsides, in other words, when you’re motivated by someone else’s ideas of success, or aren’t tapping into your unique strengths and talents…
...you have what we call a "values conflict."
The feature article below explains how that happens, and how to fix it! Please don’t miss Small Change, Huge Returns, below.
P.S. If you want to take your dreams into action…
...I have a special offer for friends of Centerpointe, just like you. I’m sharing access to Bill Harris’ video-based course:
Secrets to Success (for a TINY fraction of what others have paid).
No matter how you define success–whether it be in the workplace, relationships, or the internal mechanisms of your own mind–this course will help you become the best possible version of yourself.Don’t miss the Check It Out section below.
How to Have it All, Part 2
Small Change, Huge Returns
by Marc Gilson,
Centerpointe Director of Client Services
You may recall that in Part One we highlighted some of the advice and feedback a young man just beginning a new job received in an online discussion forum. He had asked for tips on how to succeed as he embarked on his new job. While there were some practical bits of wisdom offered, most of it seemed a touch cynical.
There is a cost to success, it’s not something ever just handed to you. But the feedback in this particular forum discussion seemed to imply that health, sleep, trust, even happiness itself should come second if you really want to succeed.
This got me wondering whether success and happiness could ever really go hand-in-hand or whether it was usually a matter of choosing one over the other.
Then I introduced you to Chris, a client and friend of mine who seemed to “have it all” when it comes to the usual benchmarks of success. Wealthy, highly educated, respected and admired, and blessed with a wonderful family, Chris should have been one of the happiest guys around. But he wasn’t, and he (and I) wanted to know why.
Let’s pick up Chris’ story as we learn what he discovered and how it transformed his life.
Chris had already been using Holosync® (meditation technology) before he and I began our coaching work together. So he was beginning to experience some good breakthroughs and shifts. One of those shifts caused him to come face-to-face with the realization I mentioned a couple of times already:
He was not happy, even though he (and everyone else) thought he should be.
So he began to ponder this, and to cultivate his awareness through careful examination and meditation with Holosync. At the same time, he and I embarked on some coaching around Chris’ past. Slowly, something important began to emerge from our sessions and Chris began to realize something about his life––something that went to the very core of his upbringing and that had been overlooked throughout his life.
He realized that the source of his internal motivation–his drive to succeed–was not really his. It was his father's.
Now, we all know of people who succeed because a parent or authority figure has pushed them to do so. And not every such instance results in the kind of unhappiness Chris was experiencing.
But Chris had grown up in the shadow of a father who saw a certain kind of success as the true measure of a person.
His father taught Chris many valuable lessons about how to succeed, some of it very similar to the feedback in the comments I shared at the beginning of Part One of this article:
But Chris' father shared very few lessons about how to be happy. Perhaps he himself wasn't as happy as he could have been.
Or maybe he, like many others, assumed that success naturally generates happiness.
Whatever the case, Chris was facing what we call a "values conflict." I’m not talking about moral values here like “don’t steal.” In this context, a value is simply something that is important to us, so important that we make choices in our lives to make sure these values are acknowledged, protected, and maintained. We all have these values, some are overt (sometimes called “conscious filters”), some covert (sometimes called “unconscious filters”).
Most of us, for example, would rank "family" as very high on our list of values, along with "health," "financial stability," etc. Those are common examples of overt values; things we can easily point to that generally seem to make sense to us and be pretty obvious in terms of importance.
Covert or unconscious values are a different breed.
They tend to be things that are truly, deeply important to us but that we don't really let out into the light of day. They remain hidden or boxed up and are kept mostly to ourselves. In fact sometimes these sorts of values are so covert that we’re not even aware of them.
They exist in the shadowy world of the unconscious.
Covert values can sometimes surprise us when we uncover them, and yet we also often have an immediate sense of recognition when we do. Sort of like finding a beloved toy from your childhood in the attic. Even though you’d forgotten all about it...
...it is thoroughly familiar to you the moment you see it again.
Chris discovered that he'd stumbled into a values conflict by adopting his father's overt set of values and committing himself to them. And in so doing, he had repressed many of his own covert values. These values, these subtle, hidden things that were important to Chris…
...took a backseat to what appeared to be “more important” things.
Much of what we do in life–the choices we make and actions we take–are done in keeping with our overt values; those values we consciously know about. But covert values require our attention as well. In fact, when we ignore them, or have simply repressed them for so long we don’t even realize they’re there anymore, they can lead to a values conflict, or worse, dysfunction.
When your behaviors and values are at odds, you will experience conflict. It could be an inner conflict where you feel at odds with yourself, or an outward one in which your relationships with others suffer. Or it could be both.
In Chris’ case, the values conflict stemmed from the fact that he had never taken the time to identify or acknowledge his own values…
...causing many of them to become covert.
In a sense, he never had to examine or define his values because his father had been so good at providing Chris with a prefabricated, tested, and seemingly complete set of values already. So Chris did what a lot of people would naturally do in that situation: he adopted his father’s values and began to build a life around them.
When we adopt someone else's values–their list of "what's most important"–we put ourselves at risk of being unhappy because we spend our time working on behalf of values we may or may not share with that person. Even if we do share many of the same values, we aren't grounded enough in our own internal reasons (because we haven’t had all the same experiences) for why we share those values.
This is why so many of our accomplishments and victories can feel hollow.
We work tirelessly to meet the needs of values that aren’t quite fully ours, and with a nagging sense that we’re aren’t all too sure our efforts are moving us in the right direction. All the while, other values–the covert ones–are hiding in the shadows and rarely, if ever, acknowledged.
So was it Chris' dad's fault that his son was unhappy? Not really. If you want the best for your children it makes a certain amount of sense to instill them with the same set of values that you've learned via experience.
Chris must be to blame then, right? No. Chris had no reason to distrust his father or his motivations for sharing his values with his son.
But Chris did make a mistake and it’s one many people make.
For a long time, he ignored the internal feeling that what he was doing–whether it was leading to successes or not–was not making him happy. He simply kept on going and ignored that inner voice that was telling him–pretty clearly at times…
...that this was not producing a sense of happiness and fulfillment.
But once Chris had the answer, he had to take action. Did he do something radical like leave his family and move to a mountaintop to live off the land in solitude? No, not at all. In truth, he really only made a few simple changes.
But those small changes had a huge impact.
He closed one of his two businesses because he felt that doing so would allow him more time with his family––something he knew he valued highly but had not examined it closely enough to realize he could actually do something in keeping with that value.
Having discovered that values are the secret bridge between happiness and success…
...he finally released his attachment to his father's list of values and worked to create his own list; a list that reflected what was important to him. It turned out that some of those values stayed the same, some were moved up or down the priority list, and some were scratched off the list altogether.
He also found that there were some new values on the list––previously covert values that Chris had been ignoring. One that stood out was a value Chris simply entitled "Creative Outlet," which he defined as…
..."Some activity or hobby that allows my inner artist to come out and play around a bit."
This eventually took the form of sketching, something he had enjoyed many years ago as a boy. Chris went out and bought himself a big package of colored pencils and a sketchbook. Then he threw the items into a backpack and went to the park near his house where he would sit and spend an hour or so every other day simply sketching.
It might seem like a minor shift, but for Chris, the effects of devoting some time in his life to a passion like sketching was enough to help him feel happy. Getting clear on what was really important to him when it comes to his values gave Chris a confidence and certainty about his decisions and choices in life he hadn't experienced before.
You could literally hear this shift in his voice:
"I really can't believe that just by re-examining my values and giving myself a chance to do my artwork, it's totally changed my outlook. It's like my vision has been cleared! I don't feel like there's any distance anymore between me and happiness. It's all around me."
Chris had now something more valuable than success. He had a life of happiness and contentment. As simple as it sounds, for him, getting clear about what was really important to him was revolutionary.
So what about the person mentioned at the beginning of the article? The one just about to embark on a brand new job and who asked for tips on how to succeed. Is he doomed to fail? Will he have to sacrifice his happiness for success? What could we say to him that put him in the best frame of mind?
Well, for one thing, we should remind him that success and happiness don't automatically go together. Don’t expect achievements, no matter how impressive, to produce a genuine happiness. But don’t worry...
You can build a direct connection between success and happiness.
If you get conscious about your values, and consider which ones are really yours vs someone elses, and notice which ones are overt and which–like Chris' need for a creative outlet–are covert, then you're well on your way to a successful AND happy life.
Maybe you see a little of yourself in Chris' story. Perhaps you've had some success in life but don't necessarily feel happy. Or maybe you're busy striving for success in the hopes that…
...a pot full of happiness awaits you at the end of that rainbow.
Whatever the case, all of us, no matter where we are in life, could benefit by taking an honest look at our values––at what is most important to us. Doing so can be challenging sometimes because it might mean making some changes to how we live our lives. But if those changes yield more happiness, more fulfillment, more peace, and more joy, well, aren't those the best changes…
….the changes worth making?
Clarifying your values is a powerful process that can open the floodgates of change in your life. But why does it work so well? And how, exactly, do you do it? In the third and final part of our series, we’ll put values under the microscope and find out just why values are so important by revisiting some insights from Centerpointe Founder Bill Harris.
And then we’ll show you how you can get your own copy of a tool Bill designed exclusively for Centerpointe clients to help them identify and clarify their values. Thousands of people have used Bill’s method to identify and clarify their own values, including me. You won’t want to miss this.
See you next week!
Let Bill Harris, CEO/Founder of Centerpointe Research Institute, creator of Holosync, multi-millionaire and philanthropist...
...teach you what it takes to be successful––at anything!
• Get the most comprehensive explanation anywhere of how to succeed (at anything)...
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secrets to success
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Thank you, Bill, and all the rest of you at Centerpointe for all the long, hard work you have put in to offer a way for people like me to get out of that rut in life and be the happy, peaceful, comfortable, and successful soul…
...that all of us have the capabilities to achieve once we know and understand how to get there.
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