Jump to section
It’s your journey — we’re just here to guide you.
Really, that’s what Inner Work® is all about: the adventure of finding and getting to know yourself on the path toward realizing more of your potential — personally and professionally. For our first annual Inner Work® Day, psychologist Dr. Jacinta M. Jiménez, BCC, BetterUp’s VP, Coach Innovation, sat down with Shawn Meredith, leadership expert and business coach, to uncover how to build your own practice of Inner Work® to get the most out of your journey.
As the individual, you’re doing your own inner landscaping. You’re looking inward to find the bits and pieces of yourself you haven’t yet met. Your values, your motivations, and your aspirations. Your purpose. Your full potential.
The problem is that we can’t always see ourselves very clearly. How do we know we’re on the right path? How do we maximize our growth?
With the help of a coach, like Shawn or Jacinta, you have your own experienced inner world tour guide to help navigate the rough patches. Here’s how.
3 expert tips on designing your own Inner Work® practice
Inner Work® looks different for everyone because we’re all unique. We each assemble our own set of practices that may change over time. Our practices shape our journey. In his own work with Members, Shawn says Inner Work® practices tend to span four categories:
One day, you might need Inner Work® in the form of a hike or time spent in contemplation in nature. Another day, you might need to practice gratitude — or spend time with family or friends to reconnect with core values.
Shawn offers a three-tiered assessment to design an Inner Work® practice that works for you and moves you along the path toward greater clarity, purpose, and passion.
1. Identify if you're in thriving or surviving mode
Inner Work® only works when you’re in a thriving space. We all have to survive. We have that bill to pay, or that family issue, or a medical emergency.
But surviving is not the space for Inner Work®.
A coach is there to help get people out of survival mode to be able to thrive. We want to be in a space of thriving — with security, psychological safety — to reap the benefits of Inner Work®. But here’s the surprising part.
“In a thriving space, there’s usually low clarity and low motivation. In the thriving space, we often get a little lost.”
Shawn Meredith, BetterUp Fellow Coach
You’re only getting that sense of adventure if you’re a little lost along the way — and that’s OK. If you have the space to wander, imagine, and feel a little uncomfortable, you’re in a place where Inner Work® will benefit you.
Surviving and thriving will ebb and flow throughout our lives — sometimes, even throughout the day. Have compassion for yourself, and don't expect too much from your Inner Work® practice if you’re not in a thriving space.
2. Create your values compass
Inevitably, Inner Work® involves some values work. Identify 3-5 values that really resonate with you — often through a process of listing words and ranking and refining the list — and use them as the points of your own values compass. In thriving moments (or even micro-moments), use your values compass to guide your explorations.
Identifying your core values requires looking inward and a sense of self-awareness. What matters most to you? What shows up for you in your daily life? Objective insight from a coach or assessment can help you create your own values compass.
3. Build scaffolding
Once you’re in a space of thriving — and know your value system well — it’s time to create structure. Developing and sustaining your Inner Work® practice can be difficult. But with the right resources and consideration of your unique intrinsic motivations, you can design a practice that works for you and the accountability mechanisms to keep going.
For example, Jacinta is a fan of habit stacking. Every morning when brushing her teeth, she thinks of something she’s grateful for. But it’s more than just performing an act in a routine. It requires mindfulness and being present.
“You want to kind of hang out there. You want to feel comfortable more and more with being with yourself and knowing yourself. Just like a good friend, you gotta spend time to get to know that friend. You need to spend time getting to know yourself, too.”
Dr. Jacinta Jiménez, BetterUp VP, Coach Innovation
Think of small, Inner Work® practices that you can build into your daily life that align with your values. It could be gratitude, meditation, a daily walk, or simply just taking a minute to breathe. They won't always be your practice, you'll change with time and need — but they will get you started.
Start maximizing your Inner Work® practice
A Pittsburgh native, Shawn leans on a quote from another favorite Pittsburghian, Mr. Rogers.
“If you can mention it, you can manage it.”
"Mister" Fred Rogers
Spend time getting to know yourself — and name what you feel. Name your values, your desires, your aspirations. Get to know your own threshold for growth and discomfort. If you’re feeling a little outside of your comfort zone, it’s likely that you’re growing — and learning.
Consider enlisting the help of a professional tour guide for your Inner Work® journey: a coach. With personalized coaching support, you can build your own map and waypoints for the adventure of your life. But you’ll also have a knowledgeable and objective guide to help navigate those twists, turns, and detours along the way.
“You are assaulted by inspiration daily. You are assaulted by inspiration every minute.”
What are you going to do with all that inspiration you’ve gathered? We’re excited to see what you conquer next.
Madeline is a writer, communicator, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change. She holds a bachelor's in English Creative Writing and Communication Studies and lives in Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, she's usually somewhere outside (preferably in the mountains) — and enjoys poetry and fiction.