Our values represent how we sort out what is important and what is not.
What we believe to be of “value” is demonstrated in what we talk about and through our actions and decisions.
Our internal values system controls this and is refined over our lifetime. The older you are, the more attached you probably are to your beliefs and “mental models” such as:
- how things should be
- what is important to you
- how and when you will and won’t spend limited resources: time & money
- who you think you are/should be
- what is right
- what is wrong
During the times you are happy and satisfied with your life, it might indicate that you are living in alignment with your values and mental models. Your life might feel like it is reflecting what you believe to be right and true. When you are unhappy and desire change, you can tap into this values system to clarify and realign, and then with new choices, you will create the life that your heart truly desires.
One way to test your alignment with your values is to examine how you allocate your limited resources: time, energy (focus), and money. Now, I want you to dig deep. Grab a pen and paper.
And don’t worry about responding to this in ways that resonate with anyone else. This exercise is about being aligned and honest with yourself.
WHAT do you SAY is important? List 3 to 5 things that you value.
WHOM do you SAY is important? List these people by name that you directly tell they are important to you.
Be honest with yourself; how often do you demonstrate that these people and things are valued?
Rate yourself: (1) Not Enough (2) Enough (3) A lot & Consistently
How does the way you spend your time demonstrate that these things are important?
How do you spread your energy and focus each day? Where are you putting the most energy?
How could you increase the time expenditure on the most critical things and people?
Same with money, how are you spending your money in relation to the most important parts of your life?
This is not an exercise created to make you feel bad or shameful. This is meant to be an inventory for you to take a healthy, honest look at what is truly important and how much your life reflects those values.
One way to sort this in an organized way is with the 7 F’s: Fitness, Finances, Faith, Field (career), Fun, Family, and Friends. If you want to deep dive into this, you could audit each category listed here and set goals to adjust where your time, energy, and money allocation need to shift.
If you are brutally honest with yourself, you may see that you are saying things that are not congruent with how you demonstrate worth and value. This may only be consistent across some parts of your life. Allocation of time and money is the most tangible demonstration of what we believe is important.