I often hear values defined and described as "beliefs." While beliefs may inform values, values are really about choice and action.
The choices we make and the actions we take are the best reflections of the things we value.
A new friend, who I met recently while working in Hawaii, told me that she moved to Hawaii because of the fruit. While on the surface this may sound strange, underneath her statement is a vivid reflection of her values: she values eating a plant-based diet, overall wellbeing, and creating new experiences for her children. The wide variety of fruit in Hawaii supports each of these values.
A few months ago, I had a big realization in my business: while I was fully living my value of 'inspired impact,' I wasn't fully living my values of 'health and vitality' and 'love and connection' in the ways I wanted to - I was working too much, sleeping too little, and not spending enough time with friends and family. As a result of this realization, I made several really hard decisions that involved saying "no" to things that I wanted to say yes to, but that would have further perpetuated this values misalignment.
If you suspect you may be experiencing some version of values misalignment, whether big or small, here are three things you can do today.
1. Create a list of the 3-5 things that, at the end of the day, are most important to you.
2. Create a separate list of everything you've done over the course of the past 24 hours.
3. Compare the two lists side by side. Do your choices in list 2 support what you wrote down in list 1? Where are the gaps? And what is one small thing you can do differently tomorrow (or today) to bridge the gap?
For me, the answer involved saying no to a few things that I enjoyed doing and that I wanted to do, but that were creating misalignment with the things I truly value.
What about for you? What are you discovering on your lists?
Values are about action and choice.
Oftentimes, this means the more difficult choice in the short term, in service of what matters most at the end of the day.
This post started as a conversation on my Zing Collaborative Facebook Page, home to lots of free content and juicy dialogue. Feel free to join the conversation there if you'd like.