Embrace Personal Values to Strengthen Life Purpose, Direction and Meaning
Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance. ~Brian Tracy
Have you ever experienced a moment in time when you felt that something was wrong or missing in your life, but you just couldn’t figure out what?
More often than not, that uncomfortable feeling is a message from your internal self trying to tell you you’re off balance somehow and living life by default rather than according to your personal values.
This feeling can be at the very least unnerving when we’ve never actually taken the time to become clear about what our core values are; but especially disturbing if we come to realize that over time values we once held dear have been suppressed, compromised or ignored completely.
Our values are important because they help determine our way of life, and represent our highest priorities. We each hold many values, some of which may change or evolve as we grow and reach different stages of life.
Let’s take a moment to look at a few examples of values.
ambition, competency, individuality, equality, integrity, service, responsibility, accuracy, respect, dedication, diversity, improvement, enjoyment/fun, loyalty, credibility, honesty, innovativeness, teamwork, excellence, accountability, empowerment, quality, efficiency, dignity, collaboration, stewardship, empathy, accomplishment, courage, wisdom, independence, security, challenge, influence, learning, compassion, friendliness, discipline/order, generosity, persistence, optimism, dependability, flexibility
Of course there are many more values; in fact I thought since I make the Islands my home it might be interesting to share with you a few Hawaiian values that are important to me.
- Aloha is often thought of as merely ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’ by visitors to the Islands; but from a cultural standpoint it is so much more. It represents the unconditional extension of trust and friendship in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.
- Ho`omau speaks to perseverance and endurance; to be unceasingly committed to achieving a goal or completing a difficult task.
- Po`okela is about striving for excellence … to excel, to surpass, to set your sights to the highest level of achievement.
- Kuleana is about viewing responsibility as a privilege and honor rather in pursuit of reward, because it is the right thing to do.
Clarifying Your Values
Without clarity of your personal values it becomes far too easy to let external demands control your life. When this happens you are left with feelings of discomfort and dissatisfaction, along with a growing restlessness around the need to change something, although you’re not sure what.
No one can identify your values for you … the only way is to invest the time to determine what values mean most to you. It can be done in a surprisingly short amount of focused time, but unfortunately many people will never get around to doing it because they tell themselves they’re just too busy with other things and their life is fine the way it is.
In workshops I often have attendees go through an exercise where they first identify their values, then state whether they believe they are living those values now. Most will enthusiastically say their priorities are in place and they are on right on track. Next we do an exercise where I have each participant make a list of the things they are spending their time on now. Finally we compare values to reality and in most cases the gap is wide enough to drive a truck through!
The bottom line is actually pretty clear, we’re either living a life by design, or we’re settling for good enough, which means living by default. The only way to make the shift from default to intentional living and create a more fulfilling life experience is to invest the time to clarify your values. Choose the values that are most important to you, the values you believe in and that define your character. Then live them visibly every day at work and at home.
Living your values is one of the most powerful tools available to you to help you be the person you want to be, and to help you accomplish your goals and create your ideal life.
If you enjoyed this article I hope you’ll consider contributing to the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing this post with your social media friends!
I also hope you will consider joining our Subscriber Community! It only takes a couple of minutes to sign up, and then each new article will be conveniently delivered to your email inbox … and of course you’ll also receive your Free Welcome Gift the 12-Steps Guide to Building Resilience (a great way to begin learning about resilience!)
To conveniently subscribe – press here.