You’ve gone through a transition. Life feels so complicated. It is time to get down to basic values, and simplify your life. Here’s how.
I’m a big believer in vision, and at its center are core values. I’m specifically talking about personal core values, not the core values of your company.
When I bring up core values, most of my friends and clients can quickly rattle off the list of their company’s core values. When I push further and inquire as to their personal core values, most often I get a puzzled look.
It’s not that they don’t understand the question, it’s that they’ve likely not taken the time with themselves to dive deep and identify what means the most to them. We all have core values. Have you clearly identified yours?
Once you know your own core values, the benefits are amazing:
* Calendars become less cluttered
* Life becomes less harried
* Relationships become clearer
* Decisions become easier, even life’s major decisions
….. all because our actions become aligned with our priorities.
Let’s walk through the process of identifying your own core values.
Start with why. Simon Sinek, who I was blessed to meet more than a decade ago, had a large part of making this popular. His TED talk (with 25 million views) is well worth viewing. While he starts with Apple as a subject, drilling into why applies to each of us as individuals, just as Simon explains with the limbic brain and “gut feel”.
Start with your why. Why are you here? Why do you do what you do? Why is this important to you and that not? Keep asking why.
Physically get outside your normal spaces, find some peace and quiet before you begin this thought process. Take notes, journal, get this brain dump on paper. Do it several times.
Now, line through the irrelevant scribbles and circle the important ones. Look for congruence. Identify similarities. Your own core values are surfacing as your repeat and refine this.
I did this process several years ago. I first learned it at MIT relevant to top grading and hiring the best team. Then, on a long weekend alone in the Colorado mountains, I had an epiphany to tackle this relative to me. I wanted to be crystal clear about who I was. Not for anyone else, simply for me.
This process clarified many things for me. I’m sharing not because I believe these are right for anyone else, instead as an example of how clarifying these greatly simplified my life and my decisions going forward.
Here are my personal core values:
1. Be a Father First.
My legacy will be my sons: two exceptional, independent, grateful men that are producers who positively impact others and contribute to the betterment of their communities and the world.
2. Pursue the USE.
My acronym USE means unique shared experiences. I’d rather do something than have something. A USE can happen nearly anywhere, especially in the presence of the people I hold the dearest.
3. Positively Impact Others.
I give my mind and my heart to help others succeed. Giving back with gratitude brings me joy. The act of service feeds me. Helping others gives me positive energy.
4. Life is a GIFT!
I’ve been on both sides of life and both sides of death. No matter what I’m going through on this side of life I treasure it. Life is precious and I choose to gratefully savor it.
Again, whatever core values you identify are the right ones for you. These listed above are mine and they’re shared purely for example purposes.
With personal core values clarified, I have a compass for my life. What used to be challenging, now becomes simple. What used to be hectic now is calm. Let me elaborate and illustrate:
* Calendar simplified: If I’m choosing which event to attend, I go to my core values. Do any of these events appeal to and allow me to include my sons? Do they improve me as a father? If yes, then I’m likely choosing that one to attend.
* Decisions simplified: If I’m seeking an activity or a vacation, will any of the options provide the opportunity for a USE? Will I have time to slow down and savor life? If yes, then I’m choosing that one.
* Work simplified: When I’m seeking my next entrepreneurial adventure, does it positively impact others? Will it provide me the flexibility to volunteer and to use the company to positively impact others? If yes, then it moves much further to the top of my list.
* Relationships simplified: In dating, does she have similar personal core values? Has she done the work to identify them? Does she know her why? If yes, then conversations are much deeper, attraction levels are heightened, and connections become very real.
Let me bring it back to center: When you know your why, when you know your personal core values, you have a compass and a direction in life. Everything else becomes greatly simplified.
Does that mean it becomes easy? No. Its still work and the journey is what we call life. That journey is precious and worth savoring. You are worth it.
After all, Life is a GIFT!
Photo: Flickr/Felipe Fernandes