Reflections at 40 – Values – 12/40

To celebrate turning 40, I’ve challenged myself to blog for each of the 40 days leading into my birthday. This is post number 12. You can read all the posts here.

I’ve always said the problem with values is, there’s no easy quiz on the internet where you can answer 20 multiple-choice questions and, bam, it spits out your values for you. The method most therapists use is to present you with a big list of common values, ask you to identify which resonate … and from there, help you narrow down the shortlist to discover what’s most important to you.

It’s quite a process. And an important one.

When we live a life that’s in line with our values, we tend to be happy and content.

When our actions move away from those values for an extended time, that’s when life doesn’t feel quite right.

Understanding our values helps us make better choices.

One of my core values is family. (You might think this is surely a core value for everyone, but … not so.)

Another core value is creativity.

When I got all caught up looking for magic bullets and doing, doing, doing, my actions were not in line with those two core values.

Today, whenever I find myself struggling and going into what I call ‘grasping’ mode (where I feel like I’m drowning and desperately seeking to grab on to the ‘one thing’ that’s going to pull me safely from the water), I know it’s time to check in with my values.

Doing so always leads to a re-calibration.

The more you do this, the better you get at it, and the faster you’re able to adjust.

And, while it might seem frustrating to need re-calibrate all the time, that’s just reality. Because, no matter how self-aware you are, when the going gets tough, you’re going to regress.


** If you want some help identifying your core values, you can download the Values Exercises from my second book, Practical Perfection, here. There is also a whole section in Practical Perfection on the topic of values. You can purchase that book here.


Image credit: Heidi Sandstrom.