How To Break A Habit With Shadow Values

How To Break A Habit With Shadow Values blog imageWant to learn how to break a habit to help your life coaching clients? Maybe they’re trying to break a bad habit like smoking, drugs or alcohol, and you’ve tried every coaching method out there but they still can’t shake off the addiction?

If you’ve never heard of Shadow Values before, it is one of the most effective life coaching skills to have to stop bad habits. Here’s how it works.

But first…

What Are Shadow Values?

Shadow values are one of the two types of values that everyone has, the other one being Golden Values. Golden values are values that you’re proud of and love to show to the world like compassion or contribution.

Shadow values, on the other hand, are the ones that you hide from the world because of shame or guilt such as belonging, attention, validation and superiority.

However, if you deny your shadow values, you’ll only be half-filled instead of full-filled, and you’ll never be able to truly align your goals and values. So you’d never be able to find the real purpose of your life.

Want to learn how it works? Here’s one of the many ways that shadow values can have a positive impact on your clients’ lives.

How To Break A Habit Using Shadow Values

When starting the journey into shadow values with your client, it’s important that you have good rapport, and that they’re willing to be absolutely honest with themselves.

That’s because once they’re able to do that, we’re able to start to create an understanding of how everything fits together.

As a basic rule of thumb, every action any of your clients ever take, they will get something in return. And what they get in return is a feeling. Check out this diagram below.

Shadow Values Diagram image

We’ve got Dis-empowering on the left and Empowering on the right. We’ve also got a scale of 1-10 which is the fulfilment of the feeling where 10 gives the most fulfilment. And in this example, the shadow value or the feeling that we’re going to focus on is the feeling of Belonging.

So how shadow values work is exactly like values linking. The only difference being is instead of linking something like psychology, mindset or communication, you’re linking the emotion that is behind that – the feeling… like belonging, attention, validation or superiority.

So let’s say we have a coaching client that is currently doing some type of action that is potentially disempowering them. Let’s say this client is a smoker and they get a sense of belonging whenever they go for a smoke with their co-workers during breaks.

Shadow Values Diagram with Old Action image

To learn how to break a habit using shadow values, we get them to find a new action and then show them how this new action is even more empowering and fulfilling.

Shadow Values Diagram with Old and New Action image

We’ve got to show this client that the old action of smoking is disempowering them and is giving them a lower level of fulfilment than the new action that they’re about to take, which is more empowering and will give them a more sense of belonging.

And if we’re able to do that, you’ll be able to see this client change habits almost immediately without ever craving cigarettes again.

Why It Works

Most people believe that to quit smoking, drugs or alcohol, you’ve got to go through this massive withdrawal process. But that is simply not true.

After working with countless drug addicts and alcoholics, here’s what I know…

The only time a human being will ever go through a withdrawal process is if they think something is missing.

If you can convince their mind that what they truly want is not missing, but instead, they’re getting more of it, then what ends up happening is they’ll never crave that thing again.

Group of people smoking imageSo in this example, if we can show this client a new action like how becoming a coach will give them an even higher sense of belonging than smoking, they will immediately stop smoking, and they will never crave cigarettes.

Why? Because what they got from cigarettes was belonging and they’re still getting their belonging, but they’re only getting it at a much higher level.

So if we can understand this, you’ll realise how rapidly people can change behaviours without ever craving the old habits.

You see, belonging is a well-wide, heavily grooved road inside your client’s mind and body. It is heavily myelinated and heavily insulated.

People may have changed their actions on how they fulfilled their sense of belonging along the way. For example, as kids, they may have played marbles or basketball with friends or were on the swimming team. But now, unfortunately, they get it from smoking with co-workers.

So now, in order to break this bad habit, what we can do is link anything we want to that feeling of belonging since people have been wiring and insulating that road their entire life.

Female life coach with short hair speaking on a smartphone image

We hope you’ve enjoyed this post, “How To Break A Habit With Shadow Values”. However, this only scratches the surface of what the shadow values method can do for you and your clients. Want to learn more? Download our free Shadow Values Audio Program here.

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Ben is the Difference-Maker Mentor and Co-founder of Authentic Education. He is exquisite at inspiring people to share their message, make a difference in the world and live abundantly on purpose.

Ben has been featured in media such as the Today Show,,, Huffington Post and