Living Your Values
Life can be quite complicated, yet the very essence of what’s most important is quite simple: live your values. When we tap into what and who are most important to us, we have uncovered our sources of energy and joy. Conversely, when we stray from our values, we feel depleted and joyless.
The first step toward living your values is to identify them. Take this simple quiz:
1. Who are the people you cherish most?
2. What activities – athletic, creative, literary, voluntary – “fill you up?”
3. With whom do you spend most of your time?
4. How often do you partake of the activities that “fill you up?”
If your answers to #1 and #3 are similar, particularly if they overlap significantly, then congratulations. You are surrounding yourself with people most important to you.
If your answers to #2 and #4 are similar, particularly if they overlap significantly, then congratulations. You are spending precious hours on what “fills you up.”
However, if your answers were vastly non-aligned, then it’s a signal you need to make some changes. Sometimes a slight tweak is all that’s needed, e.g., saying “no” to the next volunteer opportunity. Other times more significant changes are required, e.g., changing jobs.
Most of us will have periods in our lives when we are totally aligned with our values and other times when we need binoculars to find them. We may have once loved our job but our new boss demands longer hours. We may have always hiked or painted on weekends, but now we need to care for a sick friend or family member. We may have cherished our early morning walks with a dear friend, but now her schedule changed.
Life is always changing, but our values remain constant. When we’re feeling out of balance, it’s our wake-up call to take note of how and with whom we’re spending our time. Even the smallest adjustments can restore much of our energy and joy.