Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Values -- Awareness, Choice, Alignment

via Judah Buddha, by Judah Kurtz

We are much more satisfied, effective, engaged, and motivated in life when we are connected to a sense of purpose and values. In every choice we make, every action we take, there are values underneath we are honoring or not. We may not be able to articulate those values, but they are there – and we reap the benefits, or pay the price, every time we are in or out of alignment with them. But it starts with conscious awareness.

When we get hungry, we eat. It may be because, for example, we value health and well-being and therefore choose to provide our bodies with sustenance; or we are simply putting food in our mouths out of habit or craving. Were we conscious or were we operating on auto-pilot?

Powerful living comes from being at choice – paying attention, evaluating the options, and choosing which we want to be/do/have (see HERE).

I am reminded of a version of the story about three bricklayers. When asked why they do the work they do, each responded respectively:

1) for the money
2) for my wife and kids
3) because I’m building a cathedral
Most would say #3 is the best answer. However, I contend that if the person identifies what has meaning for them and they choose based on what is important to them, they are in alignment with their values -- and thereby much more content and satisfied with what they are up to.

In the responses above, money might align with the values of freedom or the ability to fund education or other important endeavors; wife and kids might relate to providing a home or having more time to spend together; building a cathedral could be about higher calling or making an impact. Each response could be aligned with each person’s core values.

Get Clear About What You Value
Rank Them - Start by ranking your top 10 values in order of importance. Dig in deep to find out what those values really are about. If you place “family” as number 1, what does that really mean? Is it about connection, dedication, trust, duty, love, or a combination of these and others? Perhaps there are a few values that come out of that and can be placed on your top 10 list.

Honor Them - After you have ranked your values, place a percentage next to each one (0-100%) to indicate how much you are honoring each value currently. For instance, if “integrity” was at the top of my list, I might say I am honoring it at about 50%. Knowing that “integrity” is my number 1 value, what might I want to shift in what I’m being/doing to bring it up to 90%? Keeping it top of mind, how might I make different choices in my day-to-day to begin shifting how I approach my commitments and my follow-through?
Knowing what you are about is the first step toward living a life with intention and purpose, ultimately bringing greater rewards, satisfaction and fulfillment. Take the time to articulate them and choose - don't just act unconsciously.


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