I was hitting up the internet for help with some questions, and ended up listening to Anthony Robbins’ “Career: Find Your True Gift”. Although I’ve yet to come to a conclusion on that topic, in listening to his interview with Steven R. Covey, I was prompted to figure out what my values are. Not knowing quite where to start, I went looking for some help and found this list.
From there, I started with a “short” list of 24, narrowed that to eight, then prioritizing shrunk that list to six, then I constructed this values statement:
My values are to use my creativity to maintain a positive outlook towards my endeavors. These endeavors currently include maintaining my health and helping others see that getting to and maintaining their health is a key to so many of their life’s desires. I also view personal growth as another key to a more satisfying, balanced life. For me, growth is a stepping stone to a sense of belonging, compassion and empathy for others, and ultimately self-actualization. Strength is something I have striven for my entire life. However, my views of what strength is, have changed in the last few years. Strength is not just a physical trait or mental toughness, but also the ability to be vulnerable and ask for help. I believe all of this, and much more, leads to the creation of joy! I've come to see joy not as a state of mind, but a state of moments. I believe I can be joyful over a moment without it requiring that I am also happy with my life in entirety.
This statement feels really true for me. Health and it's close relative, fitness, have been important to me since my adolescence. I need to employ my creativity to come up with a plan I will stick with to ensure my health, mobility and ultimately a more joy-filled future. I have a strong desire to continue to learn and grow, strengthening my natural areas of weakness and employing my strengths to assist. And while I have so much to be grateful for, I can always use more joy-filled moments.
Do you have a values statement?
If so, I'd love to know what's important to you and why. If not, perhaps this will inspire you to write a values or mission statement. It's never too late, and our values change throughout our lives any way!
More on ‘the not so big life’ by Sarah Susanka: For the chapter I most recently finished, the exercise at the end was titled Changing Your Behavior. For this exercise the reader was to pick 3 things to change about their life for the next 6 months. Before making decisions, she gives the reader questions regarding things about their appearance and routines they follow. From the list of responses these questions evoked, the reader is to rank them from one to 5 regarding how attached they are to them, “with 5 being the most attached and one being the least attached”. The next decision was which 3 items to change in my life.
My first pick is to stop eating while watching TV, and to eat at either a dining height table or kitchen bar instead, sans TV even as a background. This choice is definitely a 5 for me. For as long as I can remember I have eaten meals in front of the TV. When I was a kid there was a TV in the kitchen, where we ate the majority of our meals. Much of my adult life I have taken my meals to the room with the TV. Without children in my life, there simply has rarely been a need to move dinner to the dining table.
As both a reward and an enticement to change this thoroughly engrained habit, I decided I would buy a bouquet for the dining room table. Flowers are not something I often splurge on. This normally occurs only when the daffodils appear in the grocery Floral Department. I can't resist their happy little faces, and am encouraged by the spring weather they forecast. Much to my delight, I found this beautiful bouquet discounted to $2.50. Really, it’s huge. Bigger than anything I had in mind. It’s already lasted two days with very few losses. To me, finding an amazing deal on something I wouldn’t normally have bought is serendipitous! Added bonus: I’ve only watched 1 hour of TV in nearly 3 days.
I"ve been reading "the not so big life" by Sarah Susanka the past few weeks (more on this later). As I was riding my bike today through the open landscape north of town, I found myself following my usual behavior of saying hello to any creatures close enough to hear. "Hello cows", "Hello Meadowlark". You get the idea. Then I remembered an exercise in the book about not labeling things. Oops.
But then it occurred to me, that I've been deliberately working harder to catch and remember peoples' names. There's some reasoning behind this: first, I feel better if I don't let someone's name slip straight through my consciousness, and second, there's evidence that people like being called by their name.
I remember my parents being particularly fond of a restaurant. Yes, the food was good, but it wasn't going to win them acclaim, but the owner and the wait staff would recognize and greet my parents by name, and I know that made them feel welcome and appreciated. In talking with the owner once, after my parents had both died, he told me that they had come in originally because his parents were in their Sunday school class. When he met them, he really hadn't pegged them as the type to become regulars, but I believe they pretty much went weekly.
So, it seems some labels are good, useful and appreciated, but perhaps me saying "Hello" is enough for the cows.