Guiding Values

I’ve struggled to find my right path for a long time. I’m pretty good at recognizing paths that are laid out for us- first do x, then y, then you’ll get z.

I’m also pretty good at recognizing when something doesn’t feel right or when I don’t enjoy something I’m doing. The piece I’ve been missing is what I want to be doing.

It’s really tough to feel like you’re wandering around without a purpose. How do you know if you are on the right path?

With some help from Jamie, I now know how to recognize if I’m on the right path. She encouraged me to come up with a list of my 10 most important values and even helped get me started by giving me a nice long list of words that were coming to mind as she listened to me.

From there I whittled down the list, added, subtracted, and massaged until I came up with words that felt right. They are:

  1. Life
  2. Genuineness (or authenticity, as some would say)
  3. Ease
  4. Positive energy
  5. Comfort
  6. Creativity
  7. Connection
  8. Understanding
  9. Action
  10. Kindness

I’ve let these values sit with me for a month now, checking them from time to time, reminding myself what’s on the list, and paying attention to how I feel when I think about my values.

This list is my compass. I now use it as sort of an answer sheet to compare my daily activities. How many of my values are present in my work? Have I employed these values in my home and family? Which values do I feel are most lacking? Which ones are right on target?

Then the big question: can I make any adjustments in my life to better align with my values?

All of these years I’ve felt like I lacked direction because I couldn’t say with certainty what career trajectory to follow. Now I still can’t say I have a career trajectory, yet I have a path. Besides, careers are just a part of life, not all of it.

Now I have a direction because I’m moving toward my values. I’m moving toward kindness, comfort, connection, and understanding. I’m staying genuine to myself, creating my own positive energy, and enjoying life.

I’m walking in the dark with a flashlight, but I have a flashlight and it shows me just what I need to see right now.

What are your core values? Are you living them?

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