By guest author, Arielle Essex (

Every so often, it’s a great idea to re-evaluate where we are going and what we are doing. To take stock of what’s what and get clear on our priorities helps prevent getting stressed and overwhelmed.

“The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.” R. D. Laing

As life seems to be moving at ever increasing speed, it’s getting harder and harder to keep up. There are so many choices, so many decisions, so many options to consider every time we take a step forward. By de-cluttering our minds of conflicting desires, needs and values it becomes easier to clear the path. In fact, clarifying our values is possibly the most important process we can do to improve our health, our careers and our relationships.

The classic NLP Question for eliciting a Value is very simple: ‘What is really important to you about…..your job, your career, your relationship, your health etc?’ Just keep repeating the question to obtain a full list of your values.

What’s funny is that we often think we know exactly what we value. So we quickly reel off a list of what we consciously aspire to achieve and what’s most important to us. However, arranging these into a hierarchy starts to reveal the reality of the situation. What deserves to be top of the list? Weighing one important value against another is not as clear-cut as we might think. Choosing one above the other feels beset with internal conflicts and lots of wooly reasoning. What makes each value so meaningful? Tread carefully because these are hot buttons.

How well do we live by these lists of values we elicit? How do we demonstrate our values towards ourselves? How often are important things missing from our lists altogether? It’s surprising how many people don’t even include ‘Health’ on their list. At a Tony Robbins Seminar on Values, Tony shared his story about how he used to have ‘Motivation and Success’ at the top of his list. Not surprisingly, he found himself working incredibly hard and his body paid the price. After nearly burning out, he decided to keep ‘Health’ at the top of his list. Of course, anyone who has had a serious health issue knows that without good health, it’s hard to do anything. Life grinds to a halt.

Each person’s values are unique. Thankfully they are not written in stone and can be changed when necessary. When what someone aspires to is not reflected back by life, this reveals an interesting discrepancy between conscious and unconscious values. Most of our thoughts, desires and actions are driven by unconscious values. So how can we find out what these are?

Here is a list of questions to play with:
1. How do you fill your space?
2. How do you fill your time?
3. How do you spend your energy?
4. What do you spend your money on?
5. Where are you most disciplined and reliable?
6. Where are you most ordered and organized?
7. What do you visualize or daydream about the most?
8. What do you think about most?
9. What do you talk to yourself about the most?
10. What do you bring to conversations with others?
11. What are you most inspired by?
12. What are your long term goals?

Answer each of these questions and then ask yourself what is important about that, or what each answer seems to value. Once you’ve identified your unconscious values, you’ll know what is really running your show. Then you have choice about whether these indicate values you want to keep or change.

“The ideals that have lighted my way and time after time have give me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty and Truth.” Albert Einstein

Love and blessings,

© Arielle Essex