Values are Our Ultimate Boundary Lines and Motivators Whether We Acknowledge Them or Not.
When I teach, sometimes I’ll draw the curve of climbing towards an achievement (goal). Alongside of this, I will then show the curve that runs next to it of who you are becoming in the process (growth). This encompasses the further development of your character, the enhancement of skills, and the experiences that serve as an underpinning (knowledge).
Sometimes I will show a third curve. This is the curve of the evolution of your values. This curve has a massive impact on the future of the first curve of achieving. This curve exists with or without recognition, and ultimately plays a huge role in how much joy, peace, and fulfillment you may be experiencing. For example, in your 20s and 30s, you may be placing a high value on the attainment of status and position, as it tends to correspond with greater income and opportunities. In your 50s, you may find that this is much less important, and you have shifted to valuing how you spend your time as it relates to the specific things you care about in your life. This may mean, that you are less willing to make certain sacrifices in the pursuit of certain goals.
It’s Vital to Live Congruently with What You Truly Value.
Since discovering deep values takes purposeful effort and reflection, it is entirely possible to be living and working in a way that is opposed to what is most of value for you, and doing so will lead to negative emotions, resentment, and a general feeling of “what am I doing this for?” To compound this, we can simply feel stuck on a track in life where we are not finding joy and fulfillment, even if we are having success in our pursuits.
I encourage you to take some time to get clear on what you value most and what you are willing to trade to live congruently with this. There is no perfection to be found, but you can get very close to harmony in this and find yourself in a much more gratifying situation.
There are three things you are best served to honor as you build your life: Your principles, beliefs, and values. These form the foundation of what I call “the pyramid of pursuits” and lead to what we call priorities. I have shared articles on principles before, and here is one that may be helpful https://toddburrier.com/2020/08/24/8-principles-that-guide-your-success/
I also talk about this at length in the book 3 Circles Living.
Some of My Experience…
A strong value is a deep motivator and here is what I mean.
Many years ago (33years and 4 months to be exact), I came to a place where I realized that freedom was one of my most important values. This was revealed to me through a chain of events in my career where my circumstances were completely dictated by forces out of my control, because I was vulnerable to the market forces of those I was committed to work for.
My quest for freedom from control of others and in how I chose to use my time, became the driving force behind starting my first business. This value was so strong for me that I was willing to work through many very difficult aspects of my personality, and in the process of the work, to achieve it. For the first time in my life, I had found a deep enough intrinsic motivator to keep me from quitting when times get tough. And they got really tough. For several years.
Fast forward several years, and my number one value had become family. Freedom was now secondary, but still more important than any other value at the time. This meant that I would sacrifice freedom to the degree necessary to do what was best for my family (should there be a conflict), but it was still the other main driver in how I made decisions for career commitments. This led to a career decision that wasn’t 100% mine. Before I made any major move that would involve time dedication and resources, Mel and I would confer because impact on family had to be discussed. (There was also a period of 6 years in the early 2000s when I stepped away from a career focus. This was at an important time in my children’s life and since I valued family much more than I valued career success and earning more money, or achieving more accolades, and I had the financial capacity to do so for a while, I made this decision with no trepidation. Looking back, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Without values clarity, I would have missed that.)
Fast forward again. The time had come when I had evolved to the point where serving and making an impact on others had become a significant value. At this point, I made decisions based on family, freedom, and serving. And this is where it has stayed for the last 15 years. During this time, I continued to serve the organization I led, while expanding my coaching practice and training business which are pure serving and impact endeavors.
As a side note. You may notice, depending on how well you know me, that I have not talked about health as a value. The reason for this is simple. “Health first” is a “principle” for me. It is at the center of everything we do and the most fundamental thing to living your best life. As such, it is not an option to take care of it. It is not a motivator. It is a life requirement, like oxygen and water. In order to live the value of freedom, I must be healthy. In order to best serve my family, I must be healthy. In order to serve, and make an impact at my highest ability, I must be healthy. This is why I don’t list it as a value. It’s not something that can ever be sacrificed or toggled.
This coming Fall, it looks like I will be embarking on a new project that has the potential to impact more people than I would likely ever impact on my own. I have reached a place in my lifespan where my freedom is mostly locked in barring a catastrophe (this is why there is never ANY true security on this planet, since there are always things that can happen that you have no control of and which affect you deeply, hence security is not a value for me even though I try as much as possible to have it), and while family is always number one, the demands relative to family are different at 61 years old then at 41.
This project will be a massive commitment and involve sacrificing some of my “time” freedom for a period of years. I will still serve my current training and coaching client base, so the sacrifice will come from some of my other time choices. And it was an easy choice to make. Because it will involve using the principles I live and work by, it coincides perfectly with my beliefs, and it is congruent with my values.
I encourage you to take a “time out” as soon as you can to do a deep dive into what you value. If you need help thinking about what some of your choices may be, Brene Brown has a wonderful values exercise on her website you can use to stimulate your mind. If you already do consistent personal development work, you won’t need a mind jogger for this, because you will have enough intuitive connection to your heart that it will simple be a matter of listing your values and then reflecting on them to see what the best order is for you.
This will then serve as the boundary for all your choices and pursuits.
I hope you have found this of value, no pun intended.
If you need some Coaching, or Training for your organization, reach out to me.
Many Blessings, Todd
P.S. If you would like a roadmap for living your best life, or what I refer to as your “richest life possible” check out 3 Circles Living.