The day you understand and accept that you are the most important person in your life and the creator of your own reality is the day you will see your life change.
Not overnight, of course, however you will find that you are slowly taking small steps in the direction of your desired state. Whether it’s on a personal, financial or emotional level those small steps will add up to a marathon in the long run. You may not see it today or see it tomorrow but you will look back in a few years time and be in complete awe of what you have accomplished.
I know this from experience. To be straight forward with you, four years ago I was struggling with depression thinking I would never be able to live with myself long enough to celebrate my 25th birthday. Now I’ve graduated from a top Australian university, I have started my own company, I have palm trees in my back yard and a loving boyfriend. So yes, things can change.
That sound all nice and great, but where do we start? HOW do we start?
There are several practical exercises you can do to understand who you are and to define your goals. The more clear you are on what you want from life, the easier it will be to accomplish. Getting to know yourself and your values are crucial.
Knowing your values can be very helpful both on a personal level and in a work environment. Being aware of your values can help you with decision-making such as:
- What jobs should I go for?
- Should I go for the promotion?
- What should I be spending my money on?
- Is this situation right for me?
- Should I quit my job to pursue my entrepreneurial venture?
In order to write down your values you have to understand what values are. Values are things that are important to you. Personal values are fairly stable and are usually the core to every decision you make. Whether you are aware of them or not. They represent what’s important to you, and they serve as your mental compass through life. Examples of values can be Family, Health, Career, Travel, Learning, Tradition, Practicing Religion, Status, Work-Life Balance, Creativity, Fun, Friendship, Making a Difference, Serving Others, Job Security, Environmental Awareness, Personal Growth, Recognition, Safety, Adventure. Adrenaline, etc. This is an on-going list. The core of this exercise is that you describe the five values that are most important to you. No one else.
If you find it challenging to underpin your values you can ask yourself these questions to explore yourself:
- When was the last time you were so happy you were about to burst?
- Who were you with at your happiest times in life?
- Identify the times you felt proud. What did you do? Why did it make you feel proud? Who were you with?
- When was the last time you felt like you did something really meaningful? How did that experience give you meaning?
- Who do I admire and why?
- When do you feel most energised?
By asking yourself these questions you can start identifying “themes” in your life. Themes that explain what makes you happy, what makes you fulfilled, and what makes you feel proud.
To use myself as an example I love inspiring and helping others (I know this based on my work. Both through my sole trade company as a public speaker/life coach and through my previous work as a sales person). Being ambitious and creative makes me feel AWESOME on the inside. I value my family, and it’s important to me to show affection and to love and be loved by my close ones. I’m curious and enjoy learning (if university was free I would probably never stop studying!) and I want to leave this world a better place. Based on this my five values are (in random order):
- Learning/Personal development
- Work-Life Balance
- Positive attitude/Enthusiasm
Yes, it can be challenging to narrow it down to only five, but try as best as you can. The more descriptive and narrow you can be, the better the values can serve as a tool for you to make your decisions. I would for example not say: “Yes please” to a work place solely based on status or money, as they are not my core values. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy money, it only means I put a positive and encouraging workplace, a creative outlet and personal development before money. I would rather have a work place with inspiring and positive co-workers that fulfil my creative desires than a negative work environment that pays me the big bucks. Horses for courses, as they say.
So now it is your turn. What are your five core values?
I highly recommend that you write them down for your own revision, as they can be very helpful in times of change and decision-making.
Best of luck!