In my early 30s I had a hectic lifestyle and a demanding job that required a lot of traveling. I was visiting big cities and staying in nice hotels, I was attending high-profile events and I loved it.
It was only when I met my partner that I realized I had to stop and think about what I really wanted in life. I was spending half of my time in New York, where I was struggling to build meaningful relationships and I had no time to see my friends in London or my family. I felt disconnected and on a never-ending chase. I didn’t know what I was chasing but deep inside I knew it wasn’t worth it after all.
It became clear that I was having fun but I wasn’t happy.
I took the time to re evaluate my values and life goals it was clear to me that I had to change job and start focusing on what I valued the most.
Knowing my values resulted in clarity and focus. It helped me to define my priorities and how to best spend my time and energy.
All of a sudden my life and my efforts were streamlined and decisions became easier to make.
How do you learn and live your values?
1. First, you must know your values. Have you ever taken the time to determine your values? Now is the time! Make a list of your values. Just write them down. If it means even a little to you, list it.
· Prioritize your list. It doesn’t matter if you have 100 values or only 10. Put them in order from most important to least.
· Reexamine your list. Now that you have a prioritized list, decide if you’re happy with it. Consider the life you’d like to live. Will your list of values get you there? Reorder your list as appropriate.
2. Use your values to choose a career or hobby. Assume your top values were love, contribution, and peace, you probably wouldn’t enjoy a career as an investment banker. Your hobbies probably wouldn’t include trapping animals for fur. But you might enjoy a career with a non-profit organization or as a minister.
· Does your current career line up with your values? If not, can you change careers? If you can’t change careers at this point in your life, can you do something on the side that will allow you to live your values? Using the previously mentioned values, you could volunteer to work with homeless children on the weekends.
Remember that it’s just about impossible to be happy and fulfilled if you spend most of your day living a life that isn’t aligned with your values.
3. Create habits in alignment with your values. Suppose one of your highest values is health. It only makes sense to have eating and exercise habits to support that value. It will also be easier to create a habit that supports an important value.
· Examine your list of values and determine if your current habits support those values. What else could you be doing to live your values more consistently?
· List your habits that are counter to your values, too.
4. Choose the people in your life. No matter how independent you might be, the people in your life influence your thoughts, decisions, and behavior. Consider how you think and act around each of the people in your life. Consider spending less time with the people that pull you away from your values and more time with the people that push you toward your values.
· Be strong. Some of your longtime friends might be having a negative effect on your ability to be true to yourself.
5. Make decisions with your values in mind. Knowing and living your values can make your decisions much easier. Imagine you’ve been offered a big raise, but you’ll spend less time with your family. That would be a hard decision for many people.
· If you know that your primary value is wealth, the solution is obvious.
· If you know that your primary value is family, the solution is also obvious.
· Use your values when making decisions.
Learn and live your values. You’ll be able to make decisions easier and more quickly. Life has fewer options when you’re familiar with your values, and the best option is more obvious. Practice this important concept and you’ll streamline your life and decision-making process toward greater happiness.