What do you find to be exquisite in your life? What is really valuable to you? Do you know what matters most to you? The things you value guide the way you act. They shape the decisions you make. It is through the prism of your values that you assess the quality of your life…and are drawn forth on your quest for better living.
If you are squirming a bit right now because you’re not really quite sure what you would name as the treasures of your life, that’s ok! The tricky thing about core values (treasures) is that they are quiet. They are in you, they ARE you, frankly, but they can easily be shouted down by unmet needs, or by “shoulds” (trying to live by someone else’s standards). Additional distractions from living what you treasure could be tolerations, running rampant over you.
Since you’ve embarked on this better living journey, hopefully you have already attended to those distractions. Therefore, you’re now in a place where you can identify, define, expand and tailor your life around that which you truly treasure. As you have learned, getting your needs met has brought you satisfaction. Orienting your life around what you value will bring you fulfillment!
This new value orientation will also cause a dramatic shift in your better living “propulsion.” Through the declaration and revelation of your core treasures, you will now be pulled forward by them. They’ll clearly illuminate your better living path, purpose, and vision.
You can begin to identify your treasures, your core values, right now. Jot down a number of the qualities you admire. Truth. Tenderness. Beauty. You get the idea. Keep adding to your list. Grab a thesaurus and expand your list of nouns and verbs. Your task is to immerse yourself in the excavation of your treasures, and remain engrossed until you can “claim” four treasures that are your essence.
For example, I was coaching a leader in the software industry. Liz was phenomenal in shipping products and hitting deadlines. But something wasn’t right…and of course, that was due to the fact that she hadn’t clearly oriented around what she treasured. We began with a long list, and she found that Beauty was remaining important, but wasn’t quite “it.” We expanded on Beauty, and came up with:
And at that word, she said: “THAT IS IT!” The treasure of gloriousness resonated in her to her core. She confessed that it almost felt embarrassing, the pull that word had for her. Obviously, it made perfect sense to claim it as one of her treasured core values.
After Liz selected her four most essential treasures (gloriousness among them), I requested that Liz identify 10 steps—small or large—to honor gloriousness and orient herself around it. Her first idea was to get out and photograph nature. Another was to promise to “revel” in hitting a ship-it date by enjoying a day at a spa. And so on…
Over the years, Liz has learned what to do, with whom, and how, so as to express her core treasures. Once your treasures are claimed, and you know how to align yourself to express them, your values will pull you forward in your brilliant life.
When you find yourself out of sorts, invariably it is because you have not been expressing one or another of your core values. Taking a step to express a treasured value puts you back in congruence. That is the effectiveness of Better Living!
Mary Ellen Sailer, Ed.D.