I’ve become intrigued by the reaction amongst clients and friends when I start talking values.
When I speak about values I’m not talking about worth of something, but about importance placed. Day-to-day my core values remain very much top of mind, but I have come to know this is not a standard practice. Talking about our values and desires is not what we are taught in school, and it’s not even what we are taught in most spiritual practices or religious institutions. Understanding core values and deep desires are foundational parts of the work that I do. Today I’d like to explore values a bit, and talk about what happens when you lead from what you value in life.
A couple of weekends ago I allowed myself to play hard while meeting up with a dear friend for a weekend getaway. There was more drinking than usual, eating more indulgently, sleeping less and in general going at a 10. I was a bit tired after three busy days and nights, but a good night sleep and I was fully recharged and ready for the week ahead. A couple days later I noticed I hadn’t gotten sick or out of sorts like I had historically after spending a weekend like this, but instead I felt more committed to embracing all life has to offer and not judging playing hard. I was intrigued. After a call with another friend I sat journaling and reflecting. What I noticed pretty quickly was that most of what I value was being centered from the moment I set out.
As a nomad I’m constantly asked where I’m headed next, but I usually don’t know until about a week before I’m headed there. The only thing I’ve prioritized is not going back anywhere I’ve been recently. For months I’ve been feeling drawn to a place I visited a year ago, which rubs against part of why I’ve chosen to live this way. In transit to meet my friend for our revels I had a chance meeting that felt like it was created by magic. On the journey I was agonizing over the decision, but really not making a choice. If I told you that the person I happened to meet is from just down the road to the place I’ve been thinking about returning to, and that I spent about 45 minutes in deep conversation and connection with them - what would you say? Most people I’ve told have said it was a sign, but whatever you want to call it I know it came from being in full alignment with my values.
The time I spent agonizing over the decision to head back to a place I feel called to go was unnecessary. It reminded me of all the years I wasn’t great at making decisions, setting boundaries, or receiving things that I want. The person I am now knows that all I want is available to me and finds most decision making and boundary setting a breeze. I became this version of myself by becoming best friends with my core values. When I operate with them top of mind the world around me reflects them back to me, and amplifies my truth in all of my experiences. This means that when I decide I don’t have to overthink, when I set a boundary I don’t feel guilty, and when I receive something I want I get to be grateful and at ease. Had I gone through the list of my values against the decision of where next I would have had a quick answer, but not as clear of an example about working with them.
From the moment I decided to take time off and go on the weekend away I didn’t second guess it. There was no thinking about what it would cost, if it would be fun, or what we’d do. I was committed to enjoying myself no matter what happened, and that’s the only outcome I was invested in. With this intention I had checked off each of my core values. Body and soul working together if you will. Because of this I didn’t get rundown, I had an amazing time with my friend, I connected with someone who I know will become a part of my community, and gave myself permission to go where I really want to go.
If you’re feeling unsure of your values at this moment know that the feeling is common. It’s often easier for others to spot them for us because our actions often point to what is truly important to us. A key aspect of the work I do with clients involves value assessment, and I invite you do one of your own. Take some time to explore what lights you up and what fulfills you. I like to have clients think about a time the made a statement or decision, or even took an action that left them feeling uncomfortable or out of sorts. That icky uncomfortable feeling most likely came from violating a core value. I then ask them to think about how it would have felt to take a different action, make a different decision, or say different words. I’m always answered that it feels better. That better feeling is a great starting point for understanding our values.
When you understand and define your values you have a clear path to purpose. At the core of purpose is your why, and with clearly identified core values why is understood. There is clarity for how you want to show up in the world, and the way on your path to it is eased. It might surprise you that your core values are just beneath the surface waiting for you to claim them and start truly living from them. Once you do this some things may fall away, but what is more exciting is all that will be revealed as if by magic. It may arrive as a chance meeting because you value community, or a time sensitive business opportunity after multiple cocktails that still works out because you value both prosperity and fun. I hope you connect with your values and experience the fullness life has in store for you.
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