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7 Steps to Walking Your Why

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

Are you crafting your personal plan for this year or this quarter?

Bring in more clarity and amplify your impact by connecting your plan with your core values!

One of my core values is "Connecting All the Dots".

For me, this means to tap into a child-like curiosity, an urge to experiment with seemingly unrelated concepts, ideas and practices; a joy of discovering a bigger picture.

As I sat down to reflect on my last year's journey, I wanted to experiment with bringing together the learning I had in 2021, and use it to prepare for impactful and meaningful next year. Read on to learn about the 7 steps process that emerged as the result. Rooted in professional coaching practices from Co-Active Coaching, connected with my favourite Liberating Structures, and inspired by ideas from Emotional Agility, this process will set you up for successfully walking your why in 2022.

Step 1: Clarify your core values

Why is it important to be clear about your core values?

Your core values are what makes a difference between living your life in "go with the flow" mode vs. living your life authentically and purposefully. As Susan David explains in her "Emotional Agility" book, the values

"allow you to get closer to the way you want to live your life. - They bring you freedom from social comparison. - They foster self-acceptance, which is critical to mental health."

Mining for Values is one of the first guided visualisations I've experienced in Co-Active Coaching training. Working with my own coach, I was able to refine them and make this short list of values uniquely mine.

Your turn:

If you don't have a coach to guide you through a values mining exercise, a good place to start is this list from Brené Brown. Aim for selecting up to 7 values that resonate with you the most. Iterate on the initial selection by adding adjectives, combining values to make them uniquely yours.

Step 2: Map out your 2022 plans and aspirations with Ecocycle Planning

If you are not familiar with Liberating Structures in general or Ecocycle Planning in particular, I encourage you to sign up for a class, a meetup or browse the main website for inspiration.

While I find all of them very powerful for facilitating group work, the Ecocycle Planning structure is one of the few that can also be applied effectively in coaching, and even used for individual reflection.

Bringing a metaphor from nature, this structure invites us to take a holistic view at a collection of related items, arranging them along the infinity loop – an Ecocycle.

It is useful when there is a need to visualise what’s going on at large, step back from our current myopic view to broaden perspective and find opportunities for change.

I used Ecoclycle Planning to help me organise my 2022 aspirations, learning interests as well as my existing skills and commitments. I've also included everything that I wanted to Stop doing in the area called Creative Destruction.


Every quarter I facilitate a career focusing workshop, based on this framework. Join the next one to see it in action!

What is included in this workshop?

1. Participant workbook

2. Individual Mural board

3. Saboteur Assessment (for your awareness on what can get in the way of the plans you make during this workshop)


Your turn:

Use an Ecocycle Planning Template to organise your plans, your aspirations and everything that's currently in progress into the following 4 areas (or 2 traps):

  1. Gestation - place here a new book you’ve heard about, a name of a class that sounds interesting, an idea, an inspiration, potentially useful professional connection.

  2. Birth - a place for a new skill that you are developing, a book you’ve started reading, a new connection or relationship that needs attention.

  3. Maturity - this where existing stuff belongs - the skills you are known for, you can do them with your eyes closes. Established relationships, long-term employment can also fit here.

  4. Creative Destruction - What will you place here? Skills, activities, relationships or organizations that you’ve made a decision to no longer pursue. Celebrate these – you are creating an opportunity for renewal!