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Finding Value in the Genie’s Lamp

Have you seen Team America in which the protagonist sings,

“Freedom isn’t free. There’s a hefty #*&$ing fee.”

I laugh every time I think of that song – and the movie too. It’s heavily quoted in the Barker household.

I haven’t attached myself too much to the concept of freedom. As a child whose father escaped communist Hungary in 1956, I appreciated the freedom of living in the West. Apart from that, I haven’t thought about freedom much.

Enter Marie Forleo, a woman I follow who regularly talks about freedom as her most important value. Something about it rubbed me the wrong way, however, I didn’t analyze it. I let it go, reasoning that each person has their own set of values.

Freedom vs. Connection

Marie’s values place freedom at the top. Mine don’t.

My top value is connection. I am here to connect – to myself, to others, and to the larger world around me.

This week I decided to examine my values again. I connected new dots by recognizing I felt discomfort with freedom because I saw it as separating myself from others. Freedom spelled “aloneness” to me, which is the opposite of connection.

I realized there’s “freedom from” and “freedom to.” I had linked freedom with the former, which made me see freedom as separation. This is a fear-based view of freedom, not one I want to continue with now that I see it for what it is.

Instead, I want “freedom to” which is based in love. Freedom to be myself. Freedom to navigate choppy and smooth waters because I have free will. I see freedom as connection through the lens of choice.

As I shook loose the old understanding of freedom, I felt a release. I could see that freedom is about having options. It’s something I want to value.

Genie in the Lamp

Things that rub you the wrong way are often secret genie lamps. They reveal what was formerly concealed. Pay attention to what bothers you. It usually indicates a value you haven’t recognized and/or honoured.

Fulfilment coaching is about aligning to your values. When you feel aligned, you enter a state of flow. In this state, you work effortlessly. Time ceases to hold meaning and you allow space for creativity. You can’t align, however, without identifying which values are most important to you.

In my case, I misunderstood freedom. If I had paid attention to that rubbing, I would have learned sooner that it wasn’t about not valuing freedom; it was that I associated freedom with separation which violates my number one value of connection.

Apply the Genie-in-the-Lamp method in your own life. Think of a person or situation that rubbed you the wrong way. What happened (context, location, time of day)? How do you wish you could change the outcome? Your answers can signify an underlying value you haven’t fully seen before.

Value Chains

Another tool you can use, that I have shared before, is creating value chains. For example, freedom can mean MANY things. What does freedom mean to you?

  • Freedom / expansion / clarity / choice
  • Freedom / untethered / growth / self-determination

Your values are your blueprint. Even without you knowing them, they are what motivate you intrinsically. They form the habits you follow each day. Know your values and you know what motivates you.

Take some time to discover your values. Rub that genie’s lamp.

Genie Lamp Photo, Photo by Basil James on Unsplash, Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

You have to be open minded in order to grow. The coaching that Laura gave me opened my eyes to what and how I was doing things and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I am not done yet but I already see the changes in my everyday life.


I think coaching is a great way to help you clear your mind when you get stuck with overwhelming situations or when stepping into changes in your life.


Coaching is life changing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and challenges your perspectives.  It is highly motivating and the exercises and techniques used are both fun and informative.  I think the main benefits of coaching are to see yourself, others and the world more clearly.  I think coaching is valuable to anyone regardless of where you are in your life or career.


I honestly never thought I’d need a coach. I thought coaching was for CEOs and industry VIPs. I didn’t think it was for the “little guys” (i.e. me). Now, I’m of the belief that everyone – yes, EVERYONE – needs a coach. Coaching has really benefitted me and I’m so grateful to have had that time with Laura. It’s changed my life!


Laura is very patient. She took the time to understand what was causing me to be stuck where I am today and help me build a better vision so I can continue to grow.


I think Laura’s coaching was what I had been waiting for. Laura was so approachable, kind, and open. Her willingness to help and support made a difference for me. I found in her coaching new strategies, ideas, and perspectives that I could incorporate into my goals and objectives that I didn’t see before.


Laura is an incredibly intuitive, positive and caring coach. Her techniques helped me recognize both my strengths and areas I might want to explore as I embark on the next chapter of my career. The exercises she employed were instrumental in providing self perspective and challenging my frames of reference.


Laura is a natural coach. Her probing and compassionate questions helped me learn about myself: my value system, interests, goals and strengths.


Coaching sessions with Laura gave me new perspectives on how to process specific feelings and situations in life.  She showed me how to sit with my emotions, acknowledge them, and then use visualization strategies to move through them.  I now feel more confident and in control of how I choose to walk through life.


From the beginning, Laura put me at ease, creating a safe, open space for me to talk and share freely without fear of judgement. I loved the variety of approaches she used depending on the topic we were working on and it was fun being able to try out things I wouldn’t have considered before! With Laura’s coaching, I substantially grew my confidence in the workplace, overcame fears, dealt with issues I’d been carrying around for many years and, most importantly, learned to value myself and define a path forward into the future.


Laura’s coaching was a breath of fresh air and EXACTLY what I needed at that point of my life. I didn’t realize how impactful coaching was going to be, but by the end of the sessions together, I left feeling refreshed, inspired and genuinely curious about what my future held for me. Because of Laura and her coaching, I believe I became a better person – someone who is more open-minded, someone with a clearer focus, and someone who is willing to explore opportunities and possibilities far more than I ever did before.


I engaged Laura for coaching as I took on an expanded role leading an asset management company in Canada. As a female, I knew I would be a role model and had high expectations of myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

In our first few coaching sessions we worked through exercises that allowed me to reflect on my purpose, leadership style and what mattered most to me. I continue to be grounded by the clarity I achieve in my coaching sessions – allowing me to be resilient and confident when challenges came my way.