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How To Know If You Are Living Within Your Values

I could talk and talk about the values work (and often do), but today I wanted to share some follow up thoughts to a post about values I did a while back.

Here’s a link to the post I did on identifying your top five life values. Identifying your values in clear way helps to put you in the driver's seat of your life. They allow you to answer the questions: What do I care most about? What do I want to be remembered for? What do I want my life to be about?

The values work is very important because we are all seeking to live our best life, but my “best” looks different from your best, which looks different from your mom’s best, etc, so sometimes this quest can feel muddied. The values are a gut check to find out if we are giving our time, our energy, our money and our life to the things that will make us feel most purposeful. Below I want to share some thoughts about how to do know whether you are living within in your values in the day to day.

You know you are living within your top values when you look at your own life versus the life of others to evaluate your worthiness.

It’s tempting. It’s tempting to look at the lane next to you to assess whether you are moving fast enough. And now it’s more tempting than ever because the access to view another person’s lane has never been more readily available. It’s literally in your pocket (or perhaps more often in your hand). We have the immediate ability to compare our lane to that of someone across the world away from us through social media and the internet. While comparison certainly predates the introduction of social media, twenty years ago a mother in the U.S. could not pull out her phone and compare her body and her relationship with her husband to that of a mother in France. This is one of the reasons I love the values work and getting clear about your values. Once you have established what your top five values are (for example hope, compassion, grace, forgiveness, ambition, kindness, humor, perseverance, etc), then those values become the guidepost for how you are living. The values are what you check to assess how you are doing, rather than by assessing someone else’s life, because their values are very likely different than yours anyhow.

You shift from comparing yourself to other people to having people around who will spur you on to further live within your values.

While we certainly want to move away from the tendency to compare ourselves to others, we do want to surround ourselves with people who we can learn from, look up to, admire, consult, and seek validation, feedback, and encouragement. This is paramount to growth and to pushing more fully into valued living.

You practice gratitude.

Valued living is about taking ownership of your life. It’s about seeking what you know to be meaningful to you. Look around and notice the areas in your life that are life-giving, have gratitude for them. This keeps you moving forward.

You have direction.

No one has a crystal ball to know what the next chapter of life hold’s and life’s circumstances can and often do change you, but once you have identified what you hope to value in the upcoming season, you will have direction. You will know the themes. You will have a compass for life’s many decisions. You will have an idea of how you want to respond to what life throw at you.

You have reason to keep going when times are hard.

The values are reasons to get out of bed. The are motivation through setbacks. They are an anchor is raging waters.

Hope you will consider these things are you continue your quest for valued living.

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