Values, Priorities, Fear, and Goals

Today at Turning point we had a bit of an eye opening exercise, or at least it was an eye opener for me. I’ve shared the idea with three people so far. Two said “WOW that is amazing!”, and the other said, “hmph, and then what happened?” So at the risk of one third of you thinking I’m totally silly for saying this, here’s what we did…

First make a list of values. For example, peace, honesty, loyalty, punctuality, respect, agency, etc. You could really make a huge list, and perhaps when I have less homework I’ll transcribe the ones we thought of. But make the list as thorough as you can. Then, realizing that all of them are GOOD things, mark the three or four YOU value the most, and rank them.

Why? Because if you ever had to choose between two values (such as honesty and loyalty) it’s a good thing to know where you stand and what you really believe is most important. It’s also important to choose goals that bring you closer to the values you care about most. When you live according to your values, you have integrity.

Now make a list of things you DON’T want in life, like pain, loneliness, rejection, uncertainty, etc.

Got the list? Be honest now… how much time, effort, and energy do you spend avoiding those things? How much of that time, effort, and energy could you could be spending working toward your values instead? And how often do you let any of those fears flat out prevent you from being the kind of person you really want to be? If you’re anything like me, that idea brings new meaning to the concept of letting fear run your life, and new motivation to do something about it!

So here’s one way to counter this problem. Choose a value. Decide what you need to do to get there. And then make a concrete, measurable goal of it, with your value statement tied to it. Then make it happen.

I thought it was really fantastic information. One thing I’m doing this week:

I value feeling at one with God, and one way I can feel closer to God is by reading what I believe to be His word. So I could make a concrete goal to study a verse or chapter every day for one week, and measure afterward how much better I feel.

OR as another example for the non religious? I love my children more than anything. I value having a good relationship with them. I want them to have a happy childhood despite the tough times we’re going through (like not knowing exactly where to live at the moment). One way I could help them be happier is to play with them. Even though I’m very busy sorting out my life and trying to figure out what to do next, I can make a concrete goal to play with them for at least 15 minutes every day. Giggling, active, happy play, because I want them to have plenty of happy memories and to know I really love them. We did that today, and I feel so good about it.

See how that works? Better than “Spend more time with my kids” or “Be more spiritual” isn’t it? And being more aware of what I really value helps in making tough decisions too.

Anyway I thought it was neat, and whether that’s something you already knew or whether your eyes were opened like mine were, I hope you’ll make the most of it. Enjoy!