This month we continue our 3-part series on Goals. Now would be an excellent time to curl up and spend some time reflecting on your values and answering the question, “Who am I?” Your coach can help you.

The Art of the Goal: (Part 2)
Aligning with Identity and Values

"Begin with the end in mind," encourages Stephen Covey. When you look at your life, there are so many goals your could pursue. But before you can set meaningful goals for yourself, you need to know where you want to go. If you clearly understand where you want to be, you can make sure your actions bring you closer to that place each and every day.

Corporations spend billions every year on strategic planning. They align their business goals and operations with their mission and values – their core reasons for being in business. Executives also involve themselves in similar planning sessions with their executive coaches. They examine their strengths and weaknesses with their coach, they look at their career and personal goals, and make strategic decisions about where and how to spend their time and energy.

Life coaches do the same thing with individuals. They explore and clarify with you your identity, your values, and your true purpose in life. How can you know what you need to do, where you need to spend your time and energy, if you don’t know what is most important to you? This is difficult and important work. And it is hard to do alone. Taking the time to make personal definitions for yourself will make the process of goal setting and staying on track much easier.

Regardless of whether your goals are to finish a college degree, get a better job, buy a home, or lose weight, the process is the same. Goals you set must be consistent with your true identity if you want to sustain your motivation over time.

Here are three essential elements you must consider before writing down your goals:

1. Examine your identity: Quite simply, who are you? Self-awareness is the cornerstone to emotional intelligence and so important that this one feature will do more for your success in life than any other social competency. If you know yourself well, you can choose a path aligned with your strengths and weaknesses. You will not get distracted by people, places and things that are not congruent with your true self.

How do you improve your self-awareness? Through working with your coach, doing assessments, examining your attitude, your passions, your self-image, examining your assumptions and beliefs and being willing to ask for and receive feedback.

Avoid defining yourself in terms of external things (job titles, education, family roles, etc.) and look at your personal integrity, ethics, and things that are important to you.

There are several behavior styles and personality type assessments available through your coach. Learning about your own preferred, natural way of behaving and thinking can greatly improve your understanding of yourself. As a side benefit, it also improves your understanding of others different from yourself. Ask your coach about the DISC, PIAV, Meyers-Briggs, or other assessment tools. I would be happy to provide you a DISC and PIAV report. If you are interested, please give me a call or drop me an e-mail.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to gain clarity about your identity:
When thinking about myself, what am I most proud of?

How would my friends describe me?

How would my co-workers describe me?

What does my family say about me?

What are the three most important areas in my personal life?

How have I changed over my adult years?

What are my strengths?

What do I avoid or dislike doing?

2. Define your values: What are your most fundamental beliefs? Identify three important moral values that are important to you. The more clearly defined your values are, the more energy and focus you will have for your goals. Values provide the basic structure you need to build your personal life, your career, your business and any other aspect of your life.

Consider your attitude towards other people. Think about your current obligations to your community, family and friends. Reflect on the core beliefs you have that you would want to pass on to the younger generation. If you were to mentor someone, what values would you project as being most important in the world?

Here is an exercise to help define your values. Look over the following list of values and rank each from 1 to 10 (with 1 representing values most important to you). Be sure to add any that are important to you but not on this list.

Good health
Relationship with spouse Relationship with children
Relationship with family
Owning your own business
Long life
Respect of peers
Spiritual fulfillment
Having fun
Artistic expression
Community involvement

What are the five values you ranked the highest? Those five values should be receiving 80% of your time and energy. Write down your five most important values on a separate sheet of paper and post them somewhere you will see them every day. This will drive your actions and keep you focused on what is most important.

These values are the foundation of your success. They help you prioritize the goals you set for yourself. Without values clearly defined and prioritized, it is difficult to prioritize goals. This makes it easier to make a choice when commitments compete for your attention.

3. Establish your goals: Goal setting is not easy. It is hard work requiring time and thought. It means soul searching. Fear of failure – and fear of success – can stop people from setting clear goals and interferes with the process of actually putting them into writing.

If you have completed steps one and two – you have examined your identity and clarified your values – then you have already done the hard work. The goal setting should be a natural extension of your values.

If you value good health, then your goals of eating well and exercising regularly follow naturally. Focus on only three goals at a time, in order to be focused. Break each goal down to two or three components, along with specific, measurable, realistic time-frames.

Final Thoughts:
Please forward this to anyone who might enjoy the opportunity to spend time thinking about their values. I have a couple of openings on my coaching calendar, so if you know of anyone who would like to work with a coach, please pass on my information. As always I offer a couple of free sessions to any new client.

I love working with my clients and love being a part of your world. Please be in touch anytime.
Coach Jerry

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Jerry Pinney

For the last twenty-two years Jerry Pinney has been president of his own consulting firm. Currently he focuses his efforts on providing executive and personal coaching to persons who are interested in improving their quality of life and consulting to small and mid-sized companies and nonprofits. He is a facilitator for peer advisory groups with The Alternative Board and is a Certified One Page Planning Consultant. Jerry has over three decades of experience in the food industry, and possesses a unique perspective of customer service, marketing and strategic planning. In addition to overall general management qualifications, Jerry has proven expertise in operational planning and business development. His food industry career started at Jewel Food Stores followed by a long career with IGA, with their retailers, wholesalers and ten years as Vice President of Marketing. In addition Jerry has served as Vice President of Membership for the National Grocers Association, Sr. Vice President of Procurement for Shurfine International and Executive Manager of The Zenon Hansen Foundation.

Jerry has also served on a number of nonprofit boards including: President of the Volunteer Center of Northwest Suburban Chicago. He is currently a Project Manager for the Executive Service Corps of Chicago. Jerry’s ESC assignments have included coaching for several Executive Directors, and consulting on various Board Development projects and on a number of strategic planning projects.

Jerry Pinney & Associates
102 East 32nd Street
Chicago, IL,
phone: 312-842-4577,
fax: 312-842-4705

e-mail me by clicking here


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