All human beings will do more to avoid pain and gain pleasure. In this blog we’ll explore how this is leveraged by a person’s values and beliefs. We’ll discuss what a person’s values and beliefs are and how to ask questions that will help you identify them.

Values & beliefs are the driving force behind our successes and failures


Our values are determined by the types of words we use to communicate with ourselves, these words are given a priority and builds a hierarchy of values that guides our lives. The types of words we may use are some of the following:

Success, outrageous, happiness, love, security.

A person will generally have 2 sets of values, we call these “Moving Towards” and “Moving Away” values.

All human beings will do more avoid pain and gain pleasure

Moving Towards Values would include these types of words or emotions:

Love, happiness, adventure, excitement, freedom

Moving Away Values would include these types of words or emotions:

Frustration, anger, physical pain, embarrassed, humiliation and depressed.

A person’s values are generally shaped throughout their life time and are usually formed through our parenting, education and experience of life.

Identifying Values

As coaches we can ask ourselves or clients intelligent questions that will reveal a person’s values. We can simply ask the following question:

What’s most important to me is “Fill in the blank”


Our values are linked to emotions and when we link what is important to us we are really are creating a feeling or thought that aligns with who we identify with.

Example of moving towards values:

“What is most important to me?”

The person may respond and tell you it’s their car is the most important thing to them which may seem a little shallow but we need to find out why

If we ask “why” then we can probe a little deeper and find out what this person’s values are. The person may respond and add some context and highlight that the car is the most important thing to them because it gives them “Freedom”. At this point the person has revealed one of their values.

So when a person tells you that something is important to them you must try and find out why and what type of emotion this will create and also what types of rules this person has which will be covered in this post.

Examples of questions you could ask:

What will you get from money?

What will I get from a relationship?

What will I get from your business?

Moving away from values

Remember, a person will also have values that move them away from what they perceive to be pain. We can also try and identify these as this may be linked to particular belief or behaviour.

What states are you trying to avoid ?


Disappointment, frustration, sadness, depression.

If you change your values you will change your destination in life, this creates new focus and energy.

Values can also be reframed as targets and determines the type of success you are after.


Sometimes we can have an inner conflict if our values clash. For example if we were to pick our top 5 values and we have security and adventure listed then we may find problems making decisions and taking action. It would be difficult to be adventurous and get outside our comfort zone if our number one value is security


Our belief systems determine what has to happen in order for us to be successful.

This is a very important aspect of self-sabotage. We can become absolutely convinced that our learned experiences and untruths are truths. So much so that they rule the conscious and the subconscious mind. Therefore, even if we manage to exercise willpower for a while, we eventually revert to our belief system.

Beliefs are generalizations you’ve made to confirm what has to happen for you to experience a specific result

There are 2 types of belief systems:

Global Beliefs

To find out a person’s rules you can you use the following types of questions:

“If” and “then” questions:

Global Beliefs
These are generalizations we have made about life people and things:

“I am

Life is

People are

How to know if someone knows their beliefs?
To find out a person’s belief systems are you could ask a very simple question:

What has to happen for you to be successful?

If I make enough money then I’m successful

If enough people like me then I’m successful

If I’m happy then I’m successful

If I grow and learn I’m successful

If I learn something then I’m successful

Anytime we’ve had a conflict with another person it is due to our rules being broken. We assume that people should behave, act or speak in a specific way even though we have not communicated this to this person.

People can have the same values but have different rules to meet them.

Learning & failures, The past is the past. It can give me learning and distinctions and cannot control my present or future. All it serves as a reference and potentially not an accurate one….Change your core beliefs!

Negative Thinking Patterns

How often have you thought something, felt bad and then allowed that bad feeling to dictate your behaviour? We have all done it, it’s what we do until we learn to observe negative thinking yet not allow it to define us.

The subconscious mind always waves your untruth at you. Remember that willpower will always collapse in a direct battle with the inner need for survival, even when we know that the warped thinking is not logical in any way.

Negative Automatic Thoughts

Automatic thoughts can be a big problem for many people and often lead to the behaviour that affects their lives. To achieve success, we must find a medium to challenge automatic thinking patterns and empower ourselves to differentiate between fact and destructive automatic thinking patterns.

NAT is a negative automatic thought that is pessimistic, unrealistic and come from nowhere to enter the mind; NAT’s can be an endless chatter, like a radio you cannot switch off. It is like coming under attack within your head and is a horrible experience.


Reframing is a fascinating cognitive technique that aims to change the meaning of something in order to change its effect on our well-being.


Recognition of an emotion or a negative thought is like the first aid approach for negative thinking patterns, it prevents the problem of out of control thinking taking over your mind!

The first task is to recognise the emotion itself.


The next part of the process is to simply allow the emotion to be present. This is one of the scary areas because we do not want to live in negative emotions and we certainly do not want to encourage them. So, we bottle them up and put the lid on. (This is exactly what most people do all of their lives and it leads to physical and mental ailments.)

Allowing the emotion to be present is an important part of dealing with it.


You may not need to investigate your emotions. Recognising and letting go may be enough to bring you back into a mindful state of awareness.

As you grow in awareness, you may want to investigate your feelings in a deeper way in order to develop your ability to practice mindfulness.

Natural Awareness

Natural awareness (or non-identification) is the final aim for this practice. It is the eventual realisation that you can feel, experience and observe your own emotional state in an objective way, without becoming ruled by the emotions themselves.

Finally, and this is a highly important area of thought recognition, is this thought linked to truth or untruth? Truth and untruth is the very baseline of thought awareness because so many of our negative thinking patterns are based in misconception of reality.


The limbic system is totally responsible for your fear response. It draws from your experiences and storage of truths and untruths to fuel its fear. When these two areas of your mind work together, they become your own personal saboteur.

Fear is a good thing when it is related to a truthful fact, such as don’t pick up hot coals or step into the road without first checking for cars. Yet when it is related to untruths that are harmful and hinder you, it will have a detrimental effect on your life and well-being.


Anxiety is the result of not dealing with the limbic system’s stress reaction. When we become anxious, we cannot think straight and all of the thoughts, truths and untruths mix in together, which affect feelings and behaviour, then ultimately our success in life.