The inspiration for this blog post comes from a client I saw last week, who described himself as a ”serial non-monogamist” and – having hit the big 40 – was confused and frustrated that he’d yet to find ”the one”; the soulmate, or at least someone who could keep his attention for more than five minutes …
For the sake of this article, we’ll call my client Lee. He’s 42. Lee runs a chain of motor vehicle workshops in the Home Counties. He’s a successful businessman with a hands-on attitude, physically attractive, drives a Land Rover Sport, owns a Ducati motorbike and lives alone in his new build 4 bedroomed neo-Georgian home. Well, not totally alone – he has a tortoiseshell cat called Molly. He was married for 8 years at 22 and has a couple of teenage kids who he sees rarely. So you have a good picture of Lee so far, right?
Lee came to see me as he felt depressed. There are many levels and extremes of depression and self diagnosing yourself with that label isnt generally a good idea! Drilling down and asking a myriad of challenging questions in my usual form in order to get a precise understanding of what was really happening for Lee, I soon discovered that far from being depressed, he was lonely, unfulfilled and discontent with his world. “People look at me and think I have everything, Faz,” he explained. “They see the business, the cars, the house, the holidays, the lifestyle. My mates all think I’m some sort of player and envy me cos I usually have a string of good looking women on the go. But none of that really matters anymore. Money can’t buy what makes you feel good in here, can it?” He gestured at his heart. “I just feel empty. I put on a show, wear the designer gear. But I know every night i’m going to bed on my own and every morning I’m gonna wake up alone. See, I can’t even be bothered bringing the birds home now. I just don’t get what’s wrong with me. I dunno if I’ve ever been in love. I’ve loved people, but in love? Why can’t I find someone to share my world with for more than a night?”
Good question. One of the things that we needed immediately to explore was Lee’s relationship values. Values are one of the most important and influential information filters that we have and they operate generally at an unconscious level. You may recall I mentioned them briefly in my post earlier this week, Selective Attention. So what is a value? Simply put, it’s what’s important to us. We have different sets of values for different areas of our lives: relationships, business, family, health and fitness, for example. We don’t consciously make a decision that something is a value, it’s more of an unconscious organic process.
So back to Lee. I asked him: “In the context of your personal relationships, what’s important? Don’t labour the point or think too much, just let your answers flow off your tongue easily”. And flow they did … like this: good looks, good sex, a laugh, fun, passion, excitement, up for it, lust, adventure, not boring, freedom, independence, space … and a list of words with similar meanings … then somewhere down the line came partnership, trust, stability, soulmate, intimacy and – yip – finally the ‘L’ word emerged. I smiled to myself as I asked Lee to pick out the eight most important values and put them in order of how they are at the moment.
I then sat back and asked Lee what correlation those top 8 values had with his desire for a meaningful relationship. He frowned and repeated out loud “Passion, lust, fun, excitement, freedom, space, sharing, independence. That gets me what I’ve got, doesn’t it? A shallow empty superficial world on my own”. The penny had dropped. Back to the paper. I asked Lee what – in a perfect world with the perfect relationship – would be the most important things. His list went: love, trust, intimacy, passion, fun, soulmate, adventure, independence. I could tell by the change in Lee’s physiology that this was all making perfect sense to him. I asked a few more questions to play Devil’s Advocate to ensure that we were both sure we had the values list right for Lee and then we set about changes Lee’s values to cement in the new values. To do this, we use an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) technique around sub-modalities. More about sub-modalities in a future blog post, suffice to say its the way our neurology encodes and gives meaning to an experience.
Lee left my office feeling and looking very different to the heavy hearted guy who’d walked in a couple of hours previously. He was smiling and exuding a genuine confidence and spring in his step. It’s early days yet, I know, however in a subsequent catch up I had with him yesterday, he said that things were really positive in his world and he felt as though a massive emptiness had somehow been replaced with an inner knowledge and feeling of well being for the future.
Values are key drivers in what we do and how we do it! If there’s an area of your world that isn’t working the way you’d like it to, perhaps your values aren’t aligned and need some work! It’s always really interesting to work with couples on relationship vales – it can explain a lot and really positively change dynamics! It’s the same with business partners – it’s essential that their business values are aligned for them to remain focused and achieve great outcomes.
Interested to know more and understand how your values influence your world specifically? Give me a shout on 07932 060360 or drop me an email – and remember, if something isn’t working for you, it’s really easy to change!
Be outstanding …