Following on from my last diary entry about busyness, another concept that I’ve been playing with, is about values and how our life is a reflection of that which we value the most. One of the things that I am factoring into my ‘slower’ days, is the listening to podcasts from my favourite speakers – and one of those is Dr John Demartini who I have long admired and have listened to a lot of his work.
Yesterday I was revisiting one of his lectures when he bought up the topic of values and how our core values will be reflected in the life we are living – and they don’t lie. We can’t pretend to have different values, or to say one thing, yet do another – our values are being lived out every single day, whether we are conscious of them or not. Whatever we value most, will be where we put our effort, attention and focus.
The concept of values was one that I studied a long time ago, and knowing your core values in life is an incredible thing to know, as it takes a lot of guess work out of why you are motivated to do the things you do and gives great insight into how you make your decisions. If your core priority and value is family, and you are asked to work back and do overtime on a regular basis, then there will be feelings of conflict, unease, distress and ultimately stress levels will increase. Work will suffer, family will suffer – and all because the way your life is structured isn’t representing your heirachy of values. Without insight, in this instance life becomes a struggle, but if you are able to identify your core values and know that family is above work, your decisions will be easier as they come into alignment with these values. A new job is found that fits in with the priority of putting family first, and life flows in a better direction.
Reflecting on my life over the past few years, I can see that I have placed the value of my business and work, above my health. And that hasn’t always been the case – I would say that for most of my life, health has been one of my top values and one that I had no trouble putting first in my life. For many varied reasons, over the past few years that value changed, and work moved above health in my priorities – and my life has reflected that. I know that if I get up of a morning and have a work issue on my mind that I want to deal with or complete, then that will take precedence over exercise. I struggle with that, as health as always been such a big priority in my life, but when it comes down to that choice in that moment – work wins…
Over different phases of our life our values can morph and change to a certain extent. There are many core values at our heart that will be with us for life – but where they are on the heirarchy of importance at any particular time can shift. We also do have the power to direct our values so that they can serve us better, if we can recognise that our values are creating imbalances in our life and would serve us better were we to raise the importance of one them over another.
So as I examine my values and see that I have been placing work above my health – I know that this must change for me to experience a higher level of health and wellbeing. Shifting values is not always easy or comfortable, but it can certainly be necessary if we want to achieve certain goals in life. Awareness plays a big part in this, and having a big enough reason why, is also important so that the actions that need to be taken, are followed through with.
Dr Demartini has a fabulous way of raising values that may be a little lower on the list. He suggests an exercise where you write down 100 (or even up to 200) reasons why your life will be improved if you change a particular value to one of more importance. Once you see all the benefits and outcomes of your choices, then it is much easier to move in that direction. And you can also use this as an exercise as to how achieving your goals in this area of life, will flow on to enhance your other core values.
So, for myself, I have listed down well over 100 benefits of moving health to become one of my top values and priorities in life again. They don’t all have to be deep and meaningful reasons, they can be frivilous, fun and shallow as well!! So beyond the obvious health benefits in preventing disease, increasing energy, losing weight and becoming stronger – I’ve also listed things like being able to fit into a beautiful dress that I haven’t worn for some time, and feeling comfortable at the beach in a bikini again. As the list develops, the mind starts to work with you, not against you, and realises the massive benefits of making the required shifts. For me, raising my health back up to a top priority will flow on to enable me to be better at one of my core values – which is work and business. I will have greater energy, improved mental clarity, I will be a better example of my work, what I learn about myself will flow on to benefit others… There are many advantages to me realigning my values and putting health right at the top.
It is in those crunch moments, that we need to make the choice. Values are so often our unconscious drivers, so to shift them, takes intent. So when I get up of a morning and I have a work issue on my mind, it is at that moment, that I recall my list of over 100 reasons why health needs to be my number one value, not work. And in that moment I make a choice. I turn away from the computer, I put my gym gear on, and I do a work-out, go for a walk, swim at the beach, take a yoga class or do some type of activity that puts my health first and work next.
The more I do that, and the more I feel and integrate the benefits, the easier it will be, and my values will naturally settle into a balance that serves my life in a more holistic way. Knowing your values and what drives you, can be a very liberating experience.
Do you know your core values and how they influence your life? If there was one you could change to make it more of a priority, what would it be?