Ask yourself these questions:
- What do you value?
- What have you done this last week that demonstrates those values?
Values are not meant to be aspirational statements.
They are meant to be active.
Unfortunately, corporate jargon has made values into another HR process. But toss that out the window, you aren’t at work this is your life! One day you will die and all that will be left is the impact you made on the world and this will largely be a representation of what you valued – you need to act with purpose.
Every Sunday now for the last 5 weeks I have sat down and wrote a journal entry about living my values. At the top of my journal page I write my three core values, and then I list out the ways I have demonstrated this value over the last week.
12 months ago, I went to a life coach to sort my life out (in a nutshell). I wanted to work on building a great framework for the next stage of my life and we talked a lot about values. Flash forward and while I have made progress I still didn’t feel that I was making consistent values-based decisions.
Journaling is a powerful tool for organising your mind. The act of writing provides you with time to focus, slow down and organise your thoughts. Journaling combined with gratitude or active reflection (where you reflect on specific questions) amplifies the benefits.
My weekly practice is often personally challenging, particularly when I feel I didn’t deliver on one of my values.
12 months ago, when I was first asked to consider the question “what do I value”, two values came to mind quickly. They were creativity and courage. Over time courage has stayed with me as a core value, but I felt less and less connected to the word creativity as a core value. It was more a means of expressing who I was. Also, it’s not a word I bestowed upon myself, it’s a title other people provided me. Sure, I think I am creative – but I think there is many types of creativity. Either way it wasn’t the right core value for me and that’s what matters. When people tell you what your values should be, it loses impact. You need to find them for yourself.
Why do values even matter?
It’s really easy to get swept up in the enthusiasm of someone or something. You get caught in the moment, entangled in someone else ideas and perspectives. You can be allured by material ownership and success. You can find yourself down a garden path that you willingly skipped down, only to recognise that you are further away from home than you expected to be.
Values provide a framework for decision making.
For example, say you decide that your values are courage and self-respect. You meet someone who doesn’t treat you right because they don’t make you a priority. You’re nervous to break it off because you want the relationship to work and you’re afraid. Values give you the framework to evaluate the situation as ask if this is what living into courage and self-respect looks like?
It might not be that you break it off. It could result in you having a conversation about how you truly feel. Which is a better outcome than doing nothing at all.
Earlier this year I was holidaying in the Whitsundays which is a group of beautiful islands off the Queensland (Australia) coast. At night we anchored off the shore of one of the islands. I lay there on the deck of the sailboat looking at the stars and I could feel the motion of the boat drifting in half circles with the tide. Every now and again I would feel the small jolt of the boat pull against the anchor reminding me that while we were floating with the current, were never going to be lost at sea.
Your values are your anchor.
Check out this list of possible values by Brene Brown. Choose 1 or 2 that stand out for you and try them on for the week. See how they go. Then next Sunday write down in your phone or in a journal how you brought those to life over the past 7 days. See what happens, let the journey begin.
Hello, I’m Cherish Bentley a postgraduate qualified Learning, Development and Positive Psychology Practitioner. My purpose is to connect people with new ways of thinking which enrich their lives and the lives of those around them. If you want to know more about me check out my website www.cherishbentley.comor connect with me via all the socials @cherishbentley
Photo Credit: Via https://www.pexels.com/@anton-porsche-37909