Claire Graves proposed that as individuals we have certain ways of thinking that reflect our environment and our development. He called them our values MEMEs. In our NLP training we learn how we have developed our thinking throughout our lives to get us to where we are today. Applying the Values MEMEs model enables us to get a really good understanding of ourselves and what is required for our development. It also enables us to assist in other peoples development through training and coaching.
This teaching was a real eye-opener for me. I got so much out of it that it felt like my head was spinning for days after the initial run through of the values levels. I kept coming back to it and was not able to move forward until I took enough time to integrate this learning. It answered a lot of my questions and cleared some confusion about where I am in life and what is happening.
At this point in time I am predominantly thinking at level 5. I am very interested in my own career development and growth as an individual. I feel like I have sacrificed a lot and for a long time for others and for noble causes, but now is time to think about me, who am I supposed to be, what am I supposed to be doing and where am I going with my life.
As a baby I lived at values level 1. That stage was all about survival and getting my needs met in primitive ways without any regard to anybody else. As a child I lived in values level 2. Life was magical and little scary too and there was no such thing as an inanimate object. As a teenager I lived at values level 3. This phase was all about me and my immediate needs without any regard to the future or the well-being of others. The world of teenagers was a jungle and everyone did whatever they could in order to survive and come out alive. I would cheat and lie without any remorse in order to get what I wanted.
I had a major transition point when I finished high school. I was contemplating study options and career choices and realized that my life of partying and competing to be the coolest kid on the block was shallow and not enough to build a life on. I wanted to serve a higher purpose than myself and when an opportunity came to serve as a volunteer on a Christian ship that traveled all around the world to help the less-fortunate, I jumped onboard. I stayed for 1,5years, met my husband-to-be and together we set to serve in various Christian relief agencies in different parts of the world.
15 years, 2 kids and 38 countries later I was burned-out, broke and completely done. We landed in here, rented a furnished apartment, put our kids in school and then blankly stared at the wall wondering now what. I completed my B.A. in Christian Counseling but realized that counseling is too depressing for psyche because I feel too deeply for people and want to carry their burdens for them.
Finally I gave myself the permission to do what I have always done naturally anyway and just absolutely love doing. I became intentional about coaching. I started to pursue professional certifications in coaching in order to learn more skills, gain credibility and to also validate the years of coaching I had already done in different HR positions in the Christian relief agencies.
Life is coming together for me now after a long struggle. I am still mainly at the values level 5, but I am also transitioning into level 6. As soon as the career goals and training issues related to coaching were solved, I started to look into mindfulness training. I started to read books about the universal laws, meditation, visualization and spiritual truths.
I know that I can work hard, serve others, invest in myself and think strategically, but I am lacking in knowing how to slow down and relax. I need that in order to have balance in my life. I find myself very interested in spiritual things as opposed to the religious things at level 4.
This teaching has helped me to understand and resolve a conflict and confusion I have had within myself. I kept carrying two compelling images in my mind. One was a very professional picture of me in a business suit working in a corporate setting as a trainer and a coach. The other picture was me wandering freely through fields of flowers barefooted in hippy clothes. These two pictures conflicting pictures produced a lot of anxiety as I couldn’t understand what I was supposed to be focusing on. Now I realize that the business persona represents my main task for values level 5 and the hippy picture reflects a deeper spirituality and freedom of level 6.
Reflecting on my life through the values levels brought it all together. I carried the picture of the business person on the left side of my vision and the hippy on the right. These two pictures changed. Now the business person is on the right side. In that picture I am still wearing the same clothes but I’ve taken off my shoes and jacket and am playing carefree with my boys on the grass. The hippy is now on the left side, sitting in a meeting in a boardroom in an appropriate dress grounded in deep spiritual energy and freedom. She has a mischievous grin though, because her designer dress has a hippy pattern at the back and she has some tattoos hidden out of sight.
This has been a very deep level integration for me! I even woke up one night as things were coming together in my unconscious mind. I felt a wave of heat from my toes up to my face and just thought, “Wow, the integration is now complete”. I finally saw how these two sides of me can co-exist and work together. It’s okay for me to be professional and excellent in what I do. That doesn’t mean that I am selfish, uncaring or away from my family. At the same time, I can be deeply spiritual and free bringing that energy and connection into my work at the center of my being.
I am definitely aiming for level 7! An integrated personality is something I hold in high regard and I would like to assist others in getting there too. I will continue to learn more about coaching and NLP and at the same time keep practicing my skills and knowledge with the work I do with others.
After this training course I will look into doing some training in mindfulness and see how I can incorporate more of value level 6 things into my life. I will invest more time in meditation and reading books about spirituality and energy. I am also interested in adding a bodywork skill or technique into my toolbox. Lots of interesting things to learn and investigate!
My neighbor works in a bible translation organization and is thinking on values level 4. She follows the Bible carefully, trusts in God to provide for her needs and is very happy to represent her company. She has no questions about life, purpose or procedure because everything has been answered for her in the Christian teachings. Her life is very controlled and defined through what she should do and should not do, what is allowed for her and what is not allowed for her. Guilt is her constant companion as she fears that she might not be doing enough or that she might not be good enough.
Thankfully my husband is thinking at values level 5! It would be hard if he was still at values level 4 and I was on values level 5. It feels like for both of us this has been tied into midlife transition as well. He too is searching for answers in what he should be doing now. At the moment he is running some trainings, but there is a deeper quest there for purpose and meaning for himself personally. He is focused on starting a new career, buying a house, getting a nice car and some savings in the bank. It is time to make some money, become excellent in his career and provide things for his children. He wants to be the best, wear the best and drive the best.
I have a friend who is at values level 6. She is a life coach, yoga teacher and a vegetarian. She is part of a community of people who is working on helping others everywhere. She does workshops for free and takes trips to poor countries and refugee camps at her own expense to help people there. Her world is all about peace, love and harmony with all and with the universe.
We have a group of three couples working together at this point and our unofficial leader is a man in his 60s. I would place him at values level 7. He knows who he is and what his strengths and weaknesses are. He knows his life mission and is happy to do that. He can remain calm in every situation and guide others in complex problem solving issues effortlessly. He has no major unresolved issues within himself and is self-motivated. He works hard and is effective in his work and he also knows how to relax and invest in himself.
Take some NLP training with your excellence assured.
I think I must have been at level 3 in my late teens, early 20´s. My parents are at level 4 and when I grew up, I often felt I lived by strict regime rules, extreme structures and authority. I guess my being at level 3 was in a way me being a bit rebellious. I would often live in the now and did not like people/friends to disrespect me or embarrass me. If somebody said something to try to put me down – I would no hesitate to give them a piece of my mind. As long as people treated me kind and did not try to “boss” me I was ok. I hated being told what to do. I used to ride horses in this and worked part time as a riding instructor. I really enjoyed being the “chief” of the stables. I was really nice to the other girls as long as they looked up to me and did what I wanted them to do and how I wanted them to do so. I guess this is where and when I transitioned into level 4. When I started my own riding school at the age of only 20, I ran a really tight ship. I had sort of a army approach to rules and regulations. Actually I even considered joining the army at this point. Both my friend and I took all of the tests and was accepted in the Army. I remember the recruiting officer told me I would really make a great drill sergeant. I had the right skills, mindset and the right type of “authority attitude”. My friend signed the papers and with out knowing signed up for 7 years! (the minimum required was 2 years, but she had crossed off a bunch of things she wanted to do which resulted in the extra years) I decided to give it a few days to sink in and decided I wanted to continue working with horses, (which was my passion at the time) and so I did not join. I guess also I know I was at level 4 because I lived and worked my life by lists and timetables, I was a really fanatic to follow rules, and if somebody else broke the rules I was shocked and could not understand how people “could dare to do such”.
Fast forward a few years later when I became a mother my life changed and I “soften” up a lot. I became a single mom after a few years. I went back to school to get a better education in order to get a “normal” career other than working with horses, in order to support my daughter and myself. I started to change the levels of my values and beliefs and took more charge of my own destiny. This was the beginning of my transitioning into level 5.
I guess I will have to align more my thinking with my feelings and behaviour. It is one thing what I think but I will need to put myself in an aligned state/focus on aligning my behaviour, language etc. I will need to change the levels of some of the vehicles I use to fulfill my needs and values.
By creating different or new ways to meet the values in a positive way moving towards rather than meeting things in a negative way or moving away from.
My sister is at level 6. She works for various nonprofit organizations and freelancing different for various movie/documentary projects. She enjoys telling people about how she lives her life and her standards for living. She seems to be a very warm and giving person – and she is. But, if you disagree with her .. watch out! For example she is a vegetarian. She is always telling people why she does not eat me and what she thinks about people who does. If you disagree it is really easy feeling you have to defend your right to eat meet. If you say it is great what she is doing “for man kind” but would or could not live your like she does.. she will immediately give you a lecture, and become judgemental on why you should live like she does because she thinks people who don’t are either ignorant or careless. So you are either with her or not. She will be soon to tell about the bad vibes she is picking up if somebody disagrees.
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