Lesson 3 | Values Exercise (6:40 minutes)

How do you actually help your clients discover what their values are? You could ask them, what are your values? The challenge is, they'll answer, and the answer is actually fairly typical. Most people will say their values are honesty, integrity, community, hard work, and family, or some variation of those. Why those values? Because those are social values. In general, those are common North American values that we're raised with. They tend to be the values that are respected in society. Honesty, integrity, community, hard work and family are fantastic and beautiful, but social values are often different from lived values, the values that are actually driving their day to day decision. What we want to get at is what are those lived values? How do we do it? We use the Legacy Values Cards System, which is a deck of cards that has a series of values with simple explanations on it, including a few blank cards in it as well.

You're going to provide those to your clients, and allow them to sift through those cards and look through them. You're going to ask them to pick out 15. Now, they may actually have all the values in the deck and then some, but what you're looking for are what are the values that show up the most in their life, which are the top ones? Not better than the others, but you just simply tend to interact with them more than you interact with the others. Have them identify 15 of those key values. Once they've got those, and they're in front of them, put the other cards to the side, then have them narrow it down further. Say, "Okay, of these 15, which are the 10 that you deal with more often than others, that might cause you to get more frustrated or when you see it in other people's behaviors that frustrates you? Which are the ones that carry a little bit more weight than the other?" Narrow it down to 10 if you can.

They may say, "Oh no, I can't do that. It's 11, for sure, or it's 12." It's fine. It's okay. It's an approximate, but go for 10, if you can. Once you've got to the 10, now push them a little bit more. Say, "Okay, of these 10, what are the five that if you didn't have these five in your life, it's not you anymore. Which are the ones you absolutely have to have? They have to be there in your life." Have them narrow it down to those five. Again, they may push for six or seven. That's okay. It's just going to take you a little bit longer, but what you're after are the things that they won't give up. Look for those five. Once you have that narrowed down to the five, we want to validate those and make sure that those are the real answers, not just the right ones.

We want to pressure test it a little bit. For each of them, ask for an example about how this one shows up in their life. Let's say they value sports. I value sports. Okay. Good. Sports. Where does that show up in your life? Maybe they say, "Well, it's something I think about a lot." All right. Thinking about it's good. "Do you play any sports?" "No". "Do people you're close to play sports?" "No. No, not really." "Do you watch sports?" "No." "Do you have a favorite team of some time?" "No, but I just think that sports are really good, and they're important." If that's the case, you're going to want to park that one to the side and say, "Okay, I get that sports are really good." Now let's keep that there. But what you're looking for are things that are actually in their lives, not aspirational values, but things that are lived values.

If someone values sports, they tend to say things like, "I play sports. Everybody around me plays sports. I like watching sports in my spare time. I do sports. I read about sports. I have books on sports. Let me tell you a statistic. Here are my three favorite teams." You're going to know it when someone values a thing. This is the confirmation that you're looking for. So, to recap, you're going to work through the values and get it down to these five or six, where you've been able to pressure test it and see that they have examples of them in their lives. Once you've got there, then we can take it to the next level. This is an opportunity to ask some questions that really help them understand their values better, and help you understand them so that you can respect them better.

We have all of this scripted in the downloads, if you're wondering. So, if you're thinking, "How am I going to track all this?", Don't worry. We've got it for you. So first you want to ask them, "How does this value serve them? How does this value, how does it help them? How does it serve you? How does it work for you? How does it help you out?" They're going to have their own answers and ideas around that. The next thing you want to ask is, "How could this value impair you? How could it get in the way?" Sometimes they create limitations as well as power. People don't expect that one, but when you start to look at it, it's because values are needs and needing one thing tends to displace other things. The next question would be, "How do you respond when other people violate that value," and try to get examples from them so that you actually really understand how they respond.

Then, the last question is, "How could this create a blind spot for you?" If you have a lot of weight and energy going to a specific value, a lot of attention on a certain value, when your attention's in one place, it means it's not in other places, so how could that create a blind spot for them? How do we make sure that that blind spot doesn't show up in their planning? So, to recap, the questions are, "How does this value serve you? How does this value impair you? How do you respond when someone else violates this value, and how could this create a potential blind spot for you, and let's make sure that we avoid that blind spot." So, we have these values, but now what do you do with them? We've got these great five or six values. We've got some stories. We've got some clarity. You've got some understanding around it. Everybody's feeling great, but what's the point?

The purpose is to improve the result and to do that, you're going to want to do a couple of things. First, you want to enter the values and the examples or the descriptions or explanations into the Qualitate™ application so that it's captured, and it's part of their qualitative planning. Next, you're going to want to use those values as a filter, as you craft their financial plan, making sure that nothing you're recommending violates those values, and ideally that it's serving or feeding those values. Finally, when you present the plan, you'll want to start by recapping the values and explain how you've ensured that they were considered and integrated into the plan. Action Task: Now it's your turn. Go through the Values Cards exercise on yourself or with a spouse, if applicable, until you've narrowed it down to your top five values. Once you have your top five, document them in the workbook.

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Values Questions

Values Questions