It’s difficult to know where to start with values. I’ve spent the last 10 minutes writing sentences and deleting them; not knowing whether firstly to differentiate between values and goals or to provide an example of what a value is. The logical conclusion I suppose would be to define what value means to me. So here we go.
Values may have different meanings depending on who you talk to. For me, values are signposts. Signposts that point you in the direction you want to go when decisions are there to be made. Values are often mixed up with goals. There is, however, one big difference between the two. Goals are finite; we set them, put a deadline on them and we achieve them (hopefully). Values, on the other hand, are infinite; they are not there to be achieved. They are there to guide you through your life. Also, they are signposts that you have made to keep you on track; when sometimes you may be unsure of which direction to go in.
Values are like your moral code
Some people know what their values are and some people are still trying to figure them out. For some people, they have values but they are unaware they have them. Whatever the case may be; we are all guided by our values, whether we know it or not. So, why not make it clear for ourselves. It makes life so much easier. Think about your life as a road trip. Wouldn’t it be much easier, refreshing and relaxing if you had signposts directing you at every crossroads? Ok, I know what you are going to say. Nobody uses sign posts anymore when we have google maps. Get with the time’s man. Ok, you’re right, then why not let your values create your own map? For the last year or so, I have been trying to figure out what these values are for me so that I can create my own map and now that I’m clear on them, I can now read my own map.
To create your value map you really take time to think about what your values are and yes, it is ok to question them sometimes just to make sure they are right. If they are a little off; then tweak them. I don’t mean completely overhaul them, I mean to do a little editing if necessary. You may find that you will do this quite often actually. I certainly do.
Sometimes it may be difficult for people to truly understand the meaning of values is so as an example; here are generally what I consider as mine:
1. Be reliable
This ultimately means being able to take care of yourself; physically, emotionally and financially. There is a reason why airlines promote putting the mask over yourself, even before your child. The reason being, if you cannot look after yourself, how can you look after anyone else? Being reliable is something I strive towards.
2. Take care of the people closest to me
This is something I had often overlooked and is a regret of mine. Does that mean I cannot change it? No. I’m actively doing it now. The only reason I did not focus on it before is that it wasn’t clear to me. Sometimes peoples focus is so off that they fail to focus their attention on the ones that matter most; like family, friends and loved ones. The quality time spent with these people is irreplaceable.
3. Have a family
It’s basic human nature. It’s been in our genes for thousands of years. I feel that this is often a secret value of people. Sometimes they are hesitant to admit it to people. They often feel it is either too late, out of reach or not possible to have a family but if you value this, do not take it off your list. Just because at this current moment it may not seem achievable. It always is and will be. There is always a way. It may not be the way you thought it would be but does that make it any less desirable?
4. Helping people live a better quality of life through sharing experience, providing knowledge and leading by example
This is an easy one to do. It is what I have always wanted to do. It’s just about finding the best way to organize it. That is why I am enrolling in as many courses as I possibly can and spending a lot of my time in this area. That is why I have chosen to be a health accountability coach.
5. Enjoy life
This means having the time to do what I love. Someone once told me that I didn’t enjoy my life. I really had to sit back and think about this. Did I appreciate things? Did I appreciate people? What do I actually enjoy doing? Am I doing the things I enjoy or am I doing the things society enjoys? The answers to these questions somewhat surprised me. Just learning this has helped me appreciate every little thing and I enjoy what I do now rather than look to what is next.
6. Financial stability
Some people may disagree with me on this one, but this is what links everything together. Financial stability means that I can live in a nice place with the people closest to me, it means I can be reliable for those who need me to be, and it means I can travel, do activities and dine wherever I want. Having financial stability also is a direct correlation to how well I am doing as a health accountability coach, which relates to how many people I have helped. The question you need to ask yourself is; what does this money represents to me? How much do I need to earn to allow me to live my values?
One piece of advice I received that resonated with me was: “Spend your money on time”.
So these are my values, for now. They may sway in one way or another from time to time but this is my success map. I have my signs, directing me the right way.
Do you have yours?