What Really Matters
What Is Most Important To You?
There is so much available to us in the world today. We have more opportunities than ever before, which creates an interesting phenomenon: we often don’t know what we really want or what really matters.
That is why the exercise of choosing one’s core values can be so powerful. It helps you constrain your focus to what you care about the most. And when you focus on the most important things, you can make real progress toward creating the results you want to create in your life.
Constraint Is The Only Way
Prior to hiring my first coach, I was all over the map about what I wanted for my life. I was often distracted by new ideas or options that I wanted to explore and those tangents took me down rabbit holes instead of where I wanted to be.
It was like I was mountain climbing in the Rockies and half-way up one mountain, I would see another peak that I wanted to climb, so I’d head for that one, and then yet another one, and so on. It was exhausting and I wasn’t summitting any mountains.
After constraining my focus to just three core values, I got clear about exactly which three mountains I really wanted to climb and I was able to focus on climbing just those three.
Values and Priorities
Values are different than priorities, although the two are related. A core value is a fundamental belief or guiding principle that provides a framework for creating the life you want. A priority is an aspect of your life that you are currently putting before others.
Priorities tend to support our core values. For example, you may have the core value of living your life’s purpose. In order to do that, you need to take care of your physical and mental health, so you will likely want to make your health a priority.
Another difference is that core values don’t change much over time, but priorities are usually more temporal. For example, when you’re raising young kids, spending time with them every day might be a priority, whereas this may not be the case when your kids have grown and left the nest. Family may be a core value throughout your life, but the way that you live out that value in your daily life will change.
What Are Your Core Values?
As a coach, I love taking my clients through the core values exercise because I know how pivotal it was for me.
What about you? Think about the three most important values in your own life. Write them down.
What Needs To Change?
If something in your life doesn’t support one of those values, it might be time to reevaluate and make some changes. Sometimes the changes might be small, but other times you might decide for a complete overhaul.
I did both after getting clear on my core values. The core values that I chose are:
- Helping others, and
To support my core value of family, I initially decided to work part-time at my prior law firm job, and then eventually made the choice to build a business that would allow me to have more freedom over my schedule and spend more time with my children and husband. I also chose to spend vacation time with extended family and made the decision to move to Spain for a year to spend time with my husband’s family. Needless to say, these were big changes.
To support my core value of helping others, I initially decided to do more pro-bono cases while I was practicing law. Eventually, I decided that the best way for me to help others was to commit to my passion for coaching, so that I could work directly with busy professionals who are also moms and help them get unstuck and find fulfilment in their careers.
To support my core value of creativity, I cut down on social media and news programs, to dedicate more time to writing, music, and art projects with my kids (which also supports the family core value).
The best activities are the ones that support more than one value at a time.
What about you? What mountains are the most important for you to climb? What changes do you need to make to live in alignment with your core values and priorities?
If you need help choosing your core values, contact me for a free strategy session. Your mountains are waiting for you.
Go forth, bloom, and climb your mountains!