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This article follows on from part 1 (how to elicit your values) and part 2 (how to discover your values hierarchy). What follows is an edited extract from my book, Achieve Your Goals (Dorling Kindersley 2006).

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Conflicting values (for example, ‘adventure’ versus ‘security’ in your career) are a recipe for dilemmas, and for feeling ‘stuck’ or ‘torn in two’. Here is how to check that each value is compatible with each of the others:
  • Take the lowest value on your prioritised list and check it against the one above it. Can you have both? If you feel that these two values cannot coexist, make a note of the clash. Continue to check the lowest value against each other value, all the way up the list.
  • Then take the next lowest value, and check it against each value above it in turn.
  • Continue with the next lowest value until you have checked each one against all the values above it.
Alternatively, you could use a matrix structure, as with this example using the previous “Work and Career” list:

In this case the person feels that there is at least a potential clash between enjoyment and money. This could just be a reminder that the person needs to consider carefully how both values can be fulfilled, or it could indicate a head-on clash between the two values which needs to be resolved.

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Why not share how you got on with this exercise by leaving a comment below?

Next up: How to resolve values clashes

How to check whether your motivation is ‘Towards’ or ‘Away-from’, and why it matters

How to clarify your values (3): Check for Clashes

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