The end of 2019 had me reaching out to Ellyn, my life coach, asking for help. I felt lost, like I had allowed my identity to be overtaken by work, and I had so many ideas in my head that I didn’t know where to start or how to prioritize.
The end of 2018 saw me reaching out to that same coach, for the first time realizing that I had a coach, teacher or mentor for every aspect of my life but…..life! I’m not here to oversell the benefits of coaching, but it is SO worth it! One of the first exercises Ellyn had me embark on was defining my core values.
Going into all of it, I thought I knew my values. Family, a fulfilling career, financial independence…what more could I want? Little did I know the journey we were about experience!
After lots (and lots, and lots) of journaling, deep conversation, and multiple revisions, I defined my values at the beginning of 2019 as the following:
- Freedom: the opportunity to live and experience life on my own terms and according to my own conventions
- Efficiency: making effective use of my time
- Authenticity: being honest with myself and who I am to enable deeper connection
- Integrity: adhering to my principles and following through on promises not only to others but to myself
- Growth: an ongoing desire for knowledge and truth
As I went through the year, I realized just how accurate these statements were. Any time I was frustrated, upset, or even ecstatically happy, it related back to my values! I was most frustrated when a situation went against my values, and much happier when a situation aligned. But kicking off 2020, I came back to Ellyn saying…my values weren’t wrong, but they didn’t feel quite right anymore.
Values are a hard thing to work out. We spent over a month with guided discussion, journaling, and thought to identify the values most aligned to my life today. In all honesty, these are aspirational. But that means these values state how I want to live my life, and as I work through next steps in my career, relationships, travel, etc., each of these values will play a large role.
Note: While I don't generally share this type of information publically, this is my way of holding myself accountable as I move forward.
- Responsibility: owning the power of my actions through self-awareness, compassion, and growth
- Connection: safety and support of unconditional love and mutual respect, enabling perceptive challenge
- Growth: a deeper pursuit of identity through self-awareness, vulnerability, and challenging my beliefs
- Freedom: trusting my inner strength to push boundaries and blaze my own trail
In defining these values, I struggled quite a bit to define connection. It’s a word that holds a lot of meaning for me, and something I feel has been lacking as of late. However, I know it is important in my life. It took time to identify and understand what it was that made me feel truly connected to another person.
It took a past life regression to determine responsibility as a core value – but with a different definition than I expected. More important than the word is the way we define each value, and how we ingrain those definitions into our daily actions.
Growth and freedom are not new words for me, however, if you compare my definitions, they have become much more about my personal identity and self-awareness. Vulnerability isn’t easy, but the freedom it allows you to learn and grow is unquestionable.
So, here’s to a new decade of growth, unconditional love, and happiness, complete with values I believe in and strive to live by.