Be Cognisant Of Your Values. In my previous article we focused further on values and how to prioritize them. You now have ten clear and specific definitions of things that you can do in your life to satisfy the most essential part of you. How does that map across to your current goals? Most people get so caught up in the busy whirl of their life that they don’t realize how little time and attention they give to the things that are truly important to them. And yet the things that are really important to you don’t actually require you to “get yourself motivated” – they feel natural and effortless. You may want to spend a little time writing your thoughts down and ask yourself the following questions:-
• How many of my goals are driven by my most important values?
• How can I prioritize my goals so that they fit my motivational map?
• How can I incorporate the things that really drive me into the process of getting to my goals?
As you do you may begin to discover ways in which you can bring your life goals into alignment with your true values.
Getting clarity on your motivation map is a great feeling and very often things simply click into place at this point so that you know exactly the route you need to take. Often, you may discover conflicts of priorities within you that keep you feeling stuck. Perhaps you have a strong need to feel special and important and the job you do feeds this need. This job may also give you payback in some of your deepest values of growing as a person and making a contribution. At the same time, the commitment you give to your work may have some negative consequences. Perhaps it prevents you from honouring your value of being there for your family and may even negatively affect your need to be loved, because you have to deal with family members being unhappy that you don’t give them the time they deserve.
The priority you place on your values changes, sometimes from moment to moment, as your life changes around you. At times this can feel confusing, frustrating and disorientating. You can feel that you are being pulled in different directions.
If you had to pare down your life to its very essence, your heart’s desire that you wouldn’t ever let go of, what would it be? Perhaps you’d pick love, or a sense of inner peace, or a feeling of accomplishment. Your heart’s desire can also be a dream of how your life could be – a way of living, or a way of expressing yourself fully, perhaps in a creative sense. You may take your whole life to work out your heart’s desire, or you may already know it. But the key to your heart’s desire almost certainly lies in your most important values.
Your most significant values may remain broadly the same throughout your life, even though you experience subtle changes. This is why developing a supporting awareness is so important – noticing how you feel about the things that are most important to you, seeing what holds true for you over time and what changes. The awareness you develop helps to guide you when you are uncertain and need motivation.
NB Supporting awareness is about really seeing what is going on, with no judgement, so that you can make the best possible decision about how to move forward. The questions in the following list can help you develop awareness:-
• Which values keep coming out for you again and again? For example, do you get a sense of honouring your value of integrity in your home life, your family and your friendships?
• Which values make you feel fully alive when you honour them? People can hold values that are difficult to honour, and may involve some pain, inconvenience and discomfort, yet they have a sense that they always get more out of the experience than they put in. So it’s worth it.
• Which values give you a sense that your life is complete? A ‘perfect’ life where nothing ever goes wrong, and where you are never challenged, may in fact fail to make you happy. In contrast, a life where you feel fully yourself, where you are making progress, and where you are contributing in some way to your world, may be perfect for you.
• Which of your life goals meet all of your needs and values without in any way conflicting with other important things in your life?
• What are the things that you want to do, that you are excited about doing, and that you don’t need to procrastinate on because you can’t wait to get going?
Staying focused on finding your heart’s desire means giving yourself the gift of taking action on your goals that feed these values. It doesn’t mean that you have to abandon every other responsibility you have or sacrifice others in your wake. You owe it to yourself to take the first step, even if it is a baby step, because being on the right route for you helps to make sense of everything else in your life.
No man or woman is an island. You need to take account of the motivation maps of the people around you and this may require you to think differently about how you honour your values. As your nearest and dearest to work through these ideas for designing their own personal motivation map to help you all get clarity on the bigger goals that you need to tune into. As you do this, you may enter a state of confusion for a while as it may seem that you all want different things. Stay with the process and you will probably discover many ways for you to pull together in your individual journeys so that you end up at the same destination. And if this proves not to be the case – well, better to find that out sooner rather than later so that you can make the right decisions and accommodations about how you want to live your lives.
Does discovering the values that motivate you and your loved ones mean that life becomes easier? In some sense yes, because knowing is always preferable to not knowing. But as your priorities and those of your loved ones become clearer, you may face hard choices that you have previously been able to ignore. Sometimes you have to accept that some of your needs may not be met, or at times you may want to sacrifice your own needs for a greater good to you or to the people you love, as much as you really want to have your cake and eat it.