What is it about life that makes you feel alive?
I’ve been doing a lot of work with values lately, my own as well as my clients’.
It’s about figuring out the qualities of life that speak to our core, that support, shape and express who we are, because these are the things that make our lives personally rich and fulfilling.
One of the things I love about values is that they are intangible. They may be identified, expressed or honoured by people and materials, but in essence, it is possible for values to take shape in abundance, in all sorts of ways. Take money for example. So much of what we do is centred on making money. There are all sorts of obvious justifications, but the underlying values might be security or freedom. Which means that if what you are doing to make money actually compromises your security or freedom, how satisfied are you actually going to be by the money you make? Likewise, does what you do with your money contribute towards this security or freedom? And what other possibilities are there for creating more security or freedom in your life?
The first time I took a clear look at my own values and how disparate it was from what I was doing, I ended up ditching in my career, starting a family and spending a good two years figuring out my next move. For some of my clients the results have given them more of a calm confidence in themselves, a realisation and affirmation that what they do is true to who they are. To coin a compliment a good friend once gave me, being comfortable in your own skin rather than worrying about fitting into someone else’s.
Reviewing my values this time round has been much less dramatic (I’m pleased to say, as it means I didn’t completely miss the point last time!) Even so, it’s been interesting to reflect and do a bit of fine tuning. There are some fairly obvious ones that have had a substantial role recently, like learning, and others that have occasionally conflicted in terms of demands on my time, like connection (with different people on different levels) and relationships (showing commitment, devotion and being there for the ones I love), and ones that I have had to rediscover on a different level – I may not feel free to choose to go travelling round the world right now, but I have got a considerable amount of freedom to design my non-9-to-5 day and choose when to have that Friday feeling.
My coach Claire has encouraged me to take one of my values and explore it as a theme for the next six months. I went for the one that makes my pulse race – Inspiration – I love to inspire and be inspired, it’s why I chose to become a coach.
The beauty of it is that once inspiration sparks, there’s no telling really where it might lead. It’s an amazing privilege to inspire someone with a simple spark and watch them transform it into a creation entirely of their own. And both humbling and energising to be inspired by others, sometimes by the simplest things that they do, or are, kind of like water on a kid’s magic painting book that lights everything up in colour. So focusing on it, being more aware, more open to being inspired� I’m looking forward to a colourful 6 months.
What about you? What is it about life that makes you feel alive? How much of that do you have right now and how much could you create or invite?