It is so easy for what we do to become disconnected from what we value. Whether for financial, family, or other reasons, we can often make decisions that take us away from the things that are most fundamental to who we are – our purpose and values.
Here’s an exercise I use with my clients to help them examine their values and look at what they’re currently doing against them. Perhaps you might find it useful too.
List your top five values. Values are what you think is important in life. Think of your value like true north: when you feel unsure of your bearings at home, work or elsewhere, it is your values that help you navigate well.
Against each value, complete the following two sentences:
- This value means that I will [insert behaviour]
- This value means that I will not [insert behaviour]
For example, I have a value of excellence. On its own, that one word ‘excellence’ is fine, but hardly life-changing. The real power comes when I add that, for me, the value of excellence implies the following behaviours:
- I will create at least two 90-minute periods during the day when I am undistracted,
- I will get enough exercise and sleep (within the parameters of having a three month old child) that I feel sufficiently rested to focus for the above periods,
- I will regularly pray and meditate on scripture to avoid deriving my personal worth from doing things right.
This means that I give my best, in a focused way, without becoming identified with my work.
Against each of your values, rate your personal performance on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being “my actions always line up completely with this value” and 0 being “my actions never line up with this value”.
4. Celebrate and Develop
If any of your scores are high, celebrate what you are doing well. For your highest score and lowest scores, ask these questions (if your highest score is 10, not every question will be relevant):
- What are you doing that you can do more of? What changes could you make to move up one point on the scale?
- Within the next seven days what one change do you commit to make?
Put this change in an email and send it to someone you trust. Research shows that the more we involve others in shifting a habit, the more we are likely to achieve this shift. (Even more so when we commit to the change by writing it down.)
Get involved! Share below about what you are trying that is working, so we can all benefit and cheer you on.