Core Values and an Eagle Painting

A painting of an Eagle

An older piece of artwork was chosen to accompany today’s episode. It’s the first painting that I had done in 2020 after a break of several years and was inspired by the work that we were doing in my Personal & Business Performance coach training class with Canada Coach Academy.  We were asked to draw a coach selfie as we considered how we saw ourselves as coaches. Never having considered myself skilled at drawing, I decided to dust off my paint brushes for the exercise. Eagles were flying around my consciousness frequently at that point (pardon the pun). 

It was created during the initial writing stage of Round Trip in which I related a couple of stories about these majestic birds. A little time researching revealed the symbolism that goes along with this particular creature and I saw my coach self as someone with a bird’s eye view of what the client lays out. Sharp eyes would be used to pick out the significant parts of the story and the talons to hold that part sturdy while the client focuses on the issue at hand. I hoped to help clients soar – that can only be judged by the client who is really in charge of where they want the coaching discussion to go.

Change and Growth are Never-ending

It’s struck me recently that this painting represents a milestone for me as I continue along the path of my own evolution. I thought, up until then, that I was cleverly self-aware. In the two years since that painting was created – my world view has changed in ways that almost defy  description. It’s like the eagle was another starting point for Wendy 2.0. I’m not sure what version exists today but suffice it to say that that path of change and growth is never ending. I see myself as a life-long learner, reading and exchanging ideas with people on a daily basis. It’s actually a little embarrassing to admit that the last 2 years have been an amazing gift for me as I simultaneously witnessed others struggling on so many levels. 

Writing and publishing a book, coach training, ICF Coach certification, an amazing new job, a core group of people that mean the world to me as well as a return to creating works that bring me joy.  And I’ve continued to attend workshops – 4 week-long workshops, in fact, that helped me consider, reframe and sometimes eliminate old beliefs, values and attitudes that were not helping me to move through my world in a way that was serving me or anyone else. As a result, the person that I am today was not previously available, in any way above superficiality, to meaningfully experience life or to contribute to the lives of others.

Core Values and Light Bulb Moments

A light bulb moment, blasted all bright and shiny recently, during a discussion about core values. There are a few Core Value exercises out there – Simon Sinek has “Find your why”, Brene Brown talks about this as well and I’ve considered this concept frequently over last little bit. My favourite is one developed by Louise LeBrun who pioneered  WEL-Systems®. defines Core values as “personal ethics or ideals that guide you when making decisions, building relationships and solving problems. “  Values are not nominalizations – words like family and money. Rather, we are looking for the underlying significance that those things elicit.  So family is not a core value but perhaps “connection” or “a sense of belonging” are the meanings that the person is striving to identify.

I’ve done a few of these exercises over the last two years. This is not really a “one and done” assignment as we change over time and different things may guide us at different stages of our lives. For me, came the shocking realization that I was kind of lying to myself until I dug deep enough to be completely honest. Initially, the values identified were ones that I wanted to believe were guiding me as opposed to the ones that actually were. Creativity and authenticity eventually emerged as my true north once I removed the cloak of how I thought I should be living.

Creativity and Authenticity

Which brings me back to the eagle. Creativity is of the utmost importance for me. Consider that the word “create” it is defined as “bringing something into existence.” I create every day in so many ways – through conversation, preparing meals, and even myself through every choice and action. That aligns perfectly with coaching and with my obsession with my own personal development and my utter joy at creating pieces of art the reflect some aspect of me. 

For authenticity, it also lines up with the way that I live my life. Not too people advised me, or modelled for me, a map to leave my marriage, quit my job and take a solo tour of Canada on a Spyder – I had to act in my own way, on my own time. And, in the last 2 years, I have come to know, without doubt, that those actions were absolutely necessary for me because I was not living according to my own personal values. I was, earlier in my life, and then got caught up in how life “should” be lived. I stopped painting and stopped enjoying my journey. It was only when I blew it all up that I realized that I always had the keys inside me – I had simply stopped using them. Now that I’ve figured that out, I also realized that my marriage and my job were not the cause of my misery. What was – was my refusal to be me.  No longer acting as a projected image of someone and actually like myself means that I can be there for others, in many capacities.

Everyone has different core values

Everyone will have different core values and that is exactly as it should be. You all have special gifts and talents that need to be true to you. I have a new lease on life and I welcome every day with its’ ups and downs, joys and sorrows and unlimited opportunities to co-create with everyone that I meet. I can be me and let everyone else be themselves. With my own core values – a personal guidance system, I am rarely threatened by differing points of views or by the people who do not view me as their “cup of tea”. I can internally reference and navigate my world with joy. It’s all perfect – I do me and they do them.  We really all can get along and much better, I think, when we stop being someone that we are not.

So – what are your core values? Which ones make life worth living? Contact me if you would like to know more.

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