How do you set your life up?
It's easy to go through the motions of your life. One day feels much like another and suddenly you notice you feel like Shirley Valentine talking to the wall or the meteorologist in Groundhog Day who's stuck on repeat. Where do you start when you want to somehow begin again?
Most of us weren't shown how to identify our values.
We were taught what society, educators and loved ones value but we didn't necessarily step back and consider what lit us up or what really mattered to us.
We were told how important it was to do well and achieve because that would bring success, security and happiness. Naturally we wanted those things in life so we set off on expected paths to acquire them.
I'm thinking, if you're anything like me, you probably worked really hard to make your path work. I'm imagining you used drive and work ethic to get on and I'm sure that brought you accolades and success.
But I'm also wondering if you, like me, woke up one morning asking, "Is this really what it's all about?"
Did you have that sinking feeling like you were living on the sidelines of your life, outside and looking in?
It's in those moments where you can think, "What's wrong with me? I should feel happy but I don't. I should feel satisfied, I've ticked the boxes, accumulated the stuff and done the right things, but I don't feel fully alive."
I felt that way and I also felt guilty for even thinking like that. I had what appeared a successful life but it had an ache inside it. I just didn't feel like I really made a contribution in the world and I wanted to somehow make a difference. I kept feeling like there was more possible other than this routine.
Where do you start when you feel like something's not working but it should?
Well firstly, there's nothing wrong. It's just guidance to draw back the curtain a little and take a look at what's calling you forth. For me this was the start of my coaching journey where I began to really understand who I was, what I wanted to do in the world and what was holding me back. My values were the foundational piece of that journey.
I realised that my values weren't words on a page. They were also not nice to have's. Put simply, they were the things that mattered to me like nature, creativity, adventure and simplicity. Knowing them helped me to re-evaluate my life and to look at what no longer belonged and what I needed to welcome in.
Your values reflect who you are and they help you feel vital and alive. They're like a compass to navigate through life. For example, when I took a 5 week trip across B.C. last year with my family I felt so alive because my value of adventure was being honoured each day, in every way.
If your values aren't front of mind, you're probably not choosing to set your life up intentionally. It's likely to be like a game of hit and miss.
How do you define them?
In my experience you never really get to them from a list.
The best way I find is to look at your life with a whole new lens. It's about exploring peak events where time stopped because you were just so caught up in the moment and just loving what was going on. It's about being wildly curious about what value was being honoured in those moments.
Another option would be to look at those moments where you felt drained and ask yourself, "Why was that? What was missing that I value?"
Once you're clear on your top values, you can set your life up intentionally to honour them. You can look at your everyday decisions and consider whether you're making them from habit, fear or as a proactive and conscious choice to honour what really matters to you.
If you're curious about this and want to know more, why not check out this post from one of my clients where she shares her values and the journey she took to find them.