Using Your Core Values to Find Your Niche

I’m an expert at complicating things, particularly if they’re to do with my inner world!  And I’ve found one of the reasons that causes me to take this route.  Taking myself too seriously!

For instance, I’ve been working really hard (there’s a sign that something’s amiss!) at finding a simple way of describing how I can help people through coaching.  Everyone (I know, this is a major generalisation!) says that it’s best to have a niche.  And this niche is best described so that it addresses either a problem a potential client has or a solution s/he wants.

Along the way I listened to various marketing experts, and by the end of it all I had so many things to consider, including Cialdini’s 6 principles of influence – reciprocity, consistency/commitment, authority, social validation, scarcity and liking.  Oh yes, and James Lavers’ 6 principles of Distance Persuasion to this – belonging, envy/emulation, ownership, significance, status and validation (go to to find out more).  Then add onto this my beliefs etc about how I need to be in relation to this all – and in comes taking myself too seriously!

However, after struggling for over a year, it just fell into place.  Just in case you want to know the words, they are that I want to help individuals and organisations make work an enjoyable and satisfying experience!

And what helped it fall into place?  First of all, reminding myself to lighten up!  This fits with one of my core values, happiness.  Within this value I include fun and enjoyment.  So this helped me live this value more truly.  Then I played on another core value, well-being, which includes openness.  For me to be open I still my mind and let my intuition come to the fore (another part of well-being).  I asked myself “what is the common theme in my work with people and organisations?” and up popped the thought “well you want people to be happy at work”.

Now within positive psychology research indicates that happiness is made up of four components (I thank Lucy Ryan for this information from

pleasure (the fun stuff in life, emotional, delight, momentary)

passion (engaging activities, in flow, fully absorbed, challenging)

purpose (meaning beyond self, gives you fulfilment, bigger picture)

people (relationships that nourish, interest and fulfil you, giving and nurturing friendships, people you love who love you back)

I believe this summarises what I want work to be for everyone.  However, not everyone would know about these components – hence replacing the word ‘happy’ to give a bit more clarity yet still simply stated.

For a person who espouses living your values, I was a bit slow on the uptake to use my own!  This is just proof that strengths and core values are NOT interchangeable!  And I’m finding new ways all the time.



Practical Application of Values when Creating Website

Sometimes I get asked what practicality living your values have.  So I thought I’d give an example – or, if I wanted to use more business-like terms, a case study.

During one of the workshops I’ve recently run on living your values in business, one person gained insight on what to do with her website.  She had already started creating her website.  However, she knew it wasn’t quite sitting right.  During the workshop, the participants followed a process which led to them not only working out what their 4 to 6 core values were, but also how the other values that were important to them supported/interacted with these core values.

They were then encouraged to consider how their new-found awareness about their values might help them in a recent/current work-related situation.  This particular person suddenly appreciated that a key purpose of her website is to start the process of helping people to trust her.  So far her coaching clients have been referred to her by strong recommendation or already knew her – in other words, they already had a strong base of trust.  People meeting her for the first time on her website wouldn’t have that background knowledge.  So obvious, yet it hadn’t struck her until working with her values.

Through discussion she started to work out how this could be accomplished – e.g. through showing her own fallibility and include examples of her own mistakes,  describing her own experience of using the same process and giving examples of the results achieved with past clients.  This openness not only would help people to get to know her as a whole being but also it fitted in with her values!  Great result eh?!

When she first started drafting her website she had assumed she had to show how good she was.  Now she recognises the value of  demonstrating her humanity within it all.

How can your own core values support you with one of your work situations?

The Strength of Living Your Values

Here I am, a person who knows that living my values is important to my health and happiness. YET… I’m struggling within myself to accept that, at present, I’m not attracting the clients I’d love to work with. And I do the beating-myself-up thing even though intellectually I know it really doesn’t help! And it’s not based on the whole truth!

I suspect my inner struggle is inevitably sending out invisible energy that just holds them back from making the decision to contact me – yet (that word again). It’s not the unattractive vibe of neediness – it’s more a subtle transparent yet present veil that gets in the way of true connection.

So how does this fit with one of my values ‘being true to myself’? Well I’m facing up to how I feel. And I acknowledge that I don’t have as much paid work as I’d like. However, I’m giving less focus on evidence of how good I am in my work and more on what is not working. Yes, yes, I know. You get more of what you focus on!

So what has changed today? Well, I read something about developing my story relating to my business. I’ve heard this before and had played with it. This time it shifted something inside. I realised that despite the current state of my business (and I am receiving paid work I enjoy that enables me to pay my everyday costs of living, which is easily more than a lot of people), I am happy and healthy. And most importantly I would rather be in my current state than to be earning significantly more money as a Human Resources Director of an international public company – what I did before coming self-employed.

Yes, I know, this is so obvious. I’ve even said it to people. However, it hadn’t landed as it did this morning.

And why am I writing about this? For a variety of reasons …

To share that it’s not easy to go through the process of change, especially when you’re unsure that anything is actually taking place! And even though you want to grow.
Even though life may not be exactly in line with your dream life, you can still be happy and healthy.
Small foibles can have a big impact on your life. This was certainly true in this instance.
Credible people may put forward the idea that things might be moving under the surface. And it can make sense but it doesn’t make it any easier to live with it. I mean, how long is it going to take to come to a resolution?! My ability to be patient can wane quite quickly!
The work on a foible can be bubbling along under the surface for quite a while. Like me, you may feel ‘not right’, unsettled, occasionally emotionally shaky, but that COULD be for other reasons. To get to the other end, you have to live with the not-knowing.
Knowing your core values and living by them as much as it humanly possible does give you strength, resilience. I know living my values supported me through the relative difficult times of that under-the-surface work – helped me remain positive and hopeful.

I’m now experiencing the happy ending! The under-the-surface work has broken through and come to light – like a small boil bursting (sorry for those of you who are squeamish!) The dis-eased stuff has been released and it can now heal – that aspect of me can now heal.

I wish you the gift of a happy ending soon to any current shaky experience you may be having.