what are your values?, what are my values?, am I in alignment with my values, what do I value most?, values alignment, be a better lawyer, be a better lawyer podcast, how to be a better lawyer, dina cataldo

#263: Values Alignment

Do you have values alignment?

A value is something we hold dear to us.

It’s part of an image of who we are and what we want to project to the world.

Most of us think we know what our values are, but if we take a closer look, a lot of our actions may prove otherwise.

We may find we're not living in alignment with the values we tell ourselves we have.

By the end of this episode, you’ll think differently about how you show up every day in your life and in your law practice.

This episode on values was inspired by a conversation I had with one of my clients.

She wanted to do a reset, so if you’re in that camp, or if you want to know if you’re living in alignment with your values, or if you're looking for places to uplevel your life, this episode of Be a Better Lawyer Podcast is for you.

I’m going to walk you through how to:

  • think about values
  • determine what your values are currently, and
  • think about what you want your values to be and begin embodying them

Listen in to gain new awareness about yourself, your beliefs and what you want in your future.



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Values Alignment

Update on me:

A couple trips coming up to the Rock in Roll Hall of Fame and Pennsylvania in July and Sedona in September, so those will be fun.

And I’ve been loving the warm weather we’re having in Sacramento. The city really comes a live for me because I go out and enjoy more time at the outdoor markets and outdoor seating is my favorite.

And I’ve been thinking about my business in new ways and thinking about how it’s going to change in the future and who I’m going to be in the future, which is a lot of fun and a little scary at the same time.

We’re actually going to be talking about change in this episode and whether you want to make any.

My guess is, by the time you finish this episode, you’re going to think differently about how you show up every day in your life and in your practice.

This episode was inspired by a conversation I had with one of my clients about values.

She wanted to do a reset, so if you’re in that camp, or if you just want to know if you’re living in alignment with your values, then this episode is for you.

In this episode, I’m going to walk you through how to:

  • think about values
  • determine what your values are currently, and
  • think about what you want your values to be and begin embodying them

A value is something we hold dear to us. It’s part of an image of who we are and what we want to project to the world.

Most of us think we know what our values are, but if we look closely a lot of our actions may prove otherwise.

For instance, if you value family, but you’re spending your time at the office and not making time for date nights or time with the kids instead of thinking about work, you have some work to do to align your actions with that particular value.

Or if you say you value financial security or money, but you’re discounting rates or not sending bills in a timely manner or not consciously thinking about where your money goes each month using a budget, your action aren’t completely aligned with that particular value.

I was thinking about this in my life as I check in with myself.

Where am I not acting completely in alignment with with my values and where have I really changed, so that I AM in alignment with the values I want.

This is important: It’s easy to say we value something, but ask yourself whether YOU value it because it’s a value you want to embody or is it a value you think you SHOULD have.

For example, your parents may have valued having a prestigious career or value what other people thought, but do you want to adopt those because you think you SHOULD value those based on what your parents taught you or you you want them because YOU want them.

Ask yourself if you like your reasons for each of the values you have, and then you can see if you want to keep it.

A great way to determine what your values are currently is to observe where you’re spending your time, you money, and your emotional energy.

If you want to see what your values are, pull out a piece of paper and write down the top ten values you think you have.

Here’s the list I came up with for my current values in no particular order:

  • Freedom
  • Love – includes all the people including myself and the planet
  • Honesty – which I’ve defined as honesty with other people and honesty with myself
  • Financial security / money
  • Physical well-being
  • Mental well-being – peace in myself, peace in my house (meditation, salt water floats, infrared sauna, spending time in my garden, keeping my house organized)
  • Personal evolution – this includes spirituality for me, meditation, coaching myself and getting coaching, my business because I look at my business as a tool for personal evolution and watching where I’m in balance with myself. I did an episode about balancing yourself in your work that I’ll link to in the show notes called Feminine and Masculine Lawyering you can check out to learn more about this.
  • Service – Being of use in the world
  • Pleasure

And when I got really honest with myself, I recognized I value comfort. I love my Netflix evenings, bread, sugar, scrolling Instagram for no particular reason but to veg out.

It doesn’t mean that’s a bad thing, it’s just something that I noticed and I asked myself, “Do I want to keep that? Is it in alignment with my other higher values? The values I want to keep for sure?”

The answer is no. That doesn’t mean I cut out Netflix entirely or stop eating all bread and sugar, it’s that I watch myself and ask if I truly want to be having this experience or do I want to say no because it’s not in alignment with who I want to be. There may be days I choose Netflix because I want comfort but maybe it’s not 4 hours it’s 2.

Personal evolution is uncomfortable, so do I want to value comfort more than personal evolution? Do I want to choose 4 hours of vegging out with Netflix or do I want to create more balance and self-coach myself and see where I may be numbing out today instead of feeling my feelings? Do I want to choose to step outside or meditate or read instead?

As you do this work, you’ll also notice that some of your values may have changed over time and to celebrate them.

It used to be that I valued hard work over everything else to the detriment of everything else. I also valued other people’s opinions over my own. I used to value self-reliance, which prevented me from seeking the help I needed to get aligned with the values I wanted to have. I like the direction my values have gone in and how my actions have become more in alignment with who I want to be in the world.

You’ll also notice that a lot of your actions ARE in alignment with where you’re spending your time, money and emotional energy, but they’re not 100%.

That just means there’s a conflicting value.

For instance, if you value freedom but you don’t feel free in some areas of your life, there’s something to look more closely at.

I was talking to a lawyer recently who said she valued freedom, and the only time she felt it was when she was in school and she had a schedule determined by other people.

That’s because all she had to do was to follow someone else’s plan for her. Someone was telling her what to do. Which, of course, is the opposite of freedom.

She said that thinking about making her own calendar made her feel less free, but that was untrue because the only time she ever felt free was WITH a calendar.

She really just had thoughts she hadn’t explored about herself in relation to the world. Her belief system didn’t yet account for her making decisions for her own life and taking aligned action using a calendar.

I know that  lot of lawyers tell themselves that a calendar feels like it boxes them in, but calendars can’t box people in, my friend. Only we can do that to ourselves by not giving ourselves time to do what want and need in our lives to live in alignment with the rest of our values.

Once you’ve come up with a list of your values, then ask yourself where do you have evidence that you are taking action in alignment with your values and where are you taking action out of alignment.

This is something you sit with over your morning coffee or before you go to bed. It’s something you keep in mind as you observe how you walk through your day.

If you’re a client listening to this, this is something we can take deeper in our next session to help you uncover where you may or may not be in alignment with your values. Let me know if you want help with this.

Finally, ask yourself what you want your values to be and see where you can start making small shifts to be more in alignment.

Put them in order of importance to you. Sit with this order and think if it’s true that you want it to be in that order.

I was thinking about my list, and I thought freedom was my highest value, but is that true? I actually value personal evolution more because it personal evolution meant taking another job to pay for something that would contribute to my personal evolution, I’d do it.

I also want to keep the values I have, but I want to tweak them a bit to see where I can be even more in alignment.

In the example I gave of valuing comfort, I do value comfort in a way. I’m not going to live out in the woods somewhere and start foraging my food. I like going to nice hotels and eating delicious foods. But is it comfort that I value or is it pleasure? And how do I define those two different concepts?

Netflix might be a pleasure for an hour but if I’m there for 4 hours it becomes a comfort. It’s a pleasurable experience being in a nice hotel and enjoying my experience, and it may overlap with comfort in some ways.

I’m also not going to let comfort get in the way of a higher value like personal evolution. I’m going to observe myself and see where I’m leaning into comfort more than personal evolution.

And for my perfectionists out there, I see you.

This is not a practice of perfection. It’s a practice of getting to know yourself.

Don’t use this exercise as a way to beat yourself up because you’re not acting in alignment with what your highest values are.

Perfection doesn’t exist, and it will just hurt your ability to embody those values you want to embody.

Love yourself completely as you are and on your path. Take this as an opportunity to get to know yourself better instead of berate yourself for not being better.

It can feel tough sometimes to do that, but the path becomes a lot easier when you accept what is and begin moving with complete love and compassion for yourself in the direction you want to go.

Appreciate and focus on how far you’ve come to be where you are today instead of thinking about the distance between here and where you want to be.

If you enjoyed this episode and want to take this work deeper, come to a Strategy Session with me. When we work together, you take what you’re learning on this podcast and multiply its impact 100 fold.

There’s a big difference between passively listening to a podcast episode and actively engaging your brain with these concepts and putting them into action.

Working with me means you’ll have a personal guide to help you implement these in a way that’s most effective for you.

I’ll tell you more about what that will look for your particular situation in our Strategy Session together.

You can book one at https://dinacataldo.com/strategysession

Thank you for listening, and I will talk to you again next week.