My last two posts have been about simplifying our lives and making room for what’s important. A key piece of that puzzle is connected to our values. If we want to simplify to create time and space for what’s important to us, we have to be clear on what we value most.
For example, if my top value is my family and spending time with them, and I’m working 80 hour weeks to “get ahead,” I may get ahead but I’m likely to be discontent, stressed and burn out sooner than later, not to mention too exhausted for family goings-on.
If I value my health and well-being, I may need to get up earlier to make time to exercise regularly. That might mean going to bed earlier and recording a favorite show to watch later. If my actions don’t support what I say I value, there’s a disconnect.
Contrary to what we may have heard in the past, we can’t do everything and hope to be effective. There are times we have to sit down and ask ourselves what really matters to us, and what may be getting in the way. Our values are the compass which guide our choices.
Values are an important factor in coaching because they guide our decisions about both long and short term goals. Taking time to discover our core values doesn’t have to be complex, either. A simple way to do it is to consider five values that are most important to you and write them down. If you’re stuck, here’s a list to get you started but feel free to add others as they come to you.
Once you have your values list, take time to consider your top 20 and circle those.
From that list, pick out your top ten and rank order them 1 – 10. For example,
Freedom – 1, Family – 2, Health – 3, and so on. You may want to take a few days to think about your results and decide if you want to re-order them.
Where to Go From Here
Once you know what’s most important to you, the question becomes how to start living your values in your daily life.
For example, if one of your top values is friendship, you might take a look at the quality of those relationships and if you are truly making it a priority, or need to readjust in order to spend more time with those you find valuable.
If health is a top value, are you making good choices to support your health – good nutrition, exercise, sleep, enough downtime?
The bottom line is that when you know what your top values are you can start making choices that align with those values, and eliminate those that don’t bring you happiness or add meaning to your life. Then you will have made a big step forward towards simplifying your life.