I had the most blunt, uncomfortable, and best coaching session last week. I was the coachee and I asked my coach help me get to the heart of my priorities around work and exercise.

I have always put everyone else first and it would take a lot of effort, focus and attention to put my own oxygen mask on first. I even bought a mask as a reminder. But putting this into action consistently has always been a challenge. I’d do well for a while and then I would slip back into working long hours, being there for others, etc.

We had been working on limiting beliefs for areas in business but at my core I knew I had to work on my incongruence with working and looking after myself.

Instead of looking into a limiting belief about exercise, my coach and I explored values.

My top 5 values are: 

  • service
  • justice
  • kindness
  • generosity
  • loyalty

He then asked where self-love and health and wellbeing would come on my values list.

💥  BOOM 💥  That’s the noise that went off in my head. I needed to adjust my values hierarchy!

While I knew that values shift, ebb and flow, over time and as we mature, I know that many of our values are influenced from our upbringing. And, I simply hadn’t realised that we can have significant influence over our values too! 

It was so obvious once stated.

In so many areas of life, I have consistent congruence, yet in this area I was incongruent. Like a fire, if not tendered to it would soon (and often) simply smoulder. By discovering where my values are and waking up to choosing to adjust my values I’m already feeling more congruent.

Action is already easier to undertake.

Exploring incongruence, it’s 

“a humanistic psychology concept developed by Carl Rogers which suggests that unpleasant feelings can result from a discrepancy between our perceived and ideal self. The perceived self is how an individual views themselves and the ideal self is how an individual wishes they were. When these overlap then congruence occurs. It is impossible for a person to be completely overlapped- we always have something with ourselves that we wish was different. Individuals seek congruence and when the distance between the perceived self and ideal self is too far it is called incongruence and it can lead to discomfort, anxiety, stress, and frustration.”

Incongruence is obvious to others too, for example, a leader who says they raise their people up and empower them but has never recommended anyone for promotions or opportunities; has never given praise; doesn’t talk about the wins of the team during management team meetings, is incongruent in word and action. It makes me wonder where does that incongruence come from: values, knowledge, skills, confidence, all of these?

The degree of incongruence the leader displays is certainly experienced by the team.

While working on congruence is a self-leadership activity, it’s important to keep in mind the knock-on effect on those who rely on that leadership.


Where could you be more congruent?