“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” –Roy E. Disney
There are times in our lives when things seem to be going smooth and the journey is uneventful. Other times the ride is rough. What is the difference between these times? While we can’t control much of what happens in life, we can choose how we respond to life events. We can choose to either be in alignment with our core values and who we say we are, or we can be out of alignment. If we say that we are compassionate and caring, yet yell and curse at the person who cut us off in traffic, we are not in alignment with our values. I think of our values as the lines on the road of life. If we stay within the lines, for the most part the ride is smooth. If we start to drift off, it gets pretty bumpy. If we continue to ignore the bumps, it isn’t long before we start crashing into things. The longer we live out of our values, the rougher the ride is.
In order for us to be able to detect when we are off the road of life, we first need to get clear on where the road is. This comes from identifying our core values. What are the values that are most important to me? I give many of my clients a homework assignment to come up with a list of at least ten core values that they hold. We then go through the list, one by one, and rate them on a scale from 1-10 to indicate how often they live the values they say they hold. It is interesting to begin to self-reflect and recognize how often we are off the road of our values and how difficult it is sometimes to stay on the road. We all have an internal guidance system which warns us when we are beginning to drift off the road. There is a feeling of being off or what I like to call the ‘yuck feeling’ when we are drifting. It is easy for our minds to ignore that feeling and continue on. Our minds are great at justifying why it is better to tell a little lie then to follow our value of honesty, but that is when we are drifting off the road. Becoming aware of our values and then listening for that internal guidance system to warn us that we are drifting, can get us back on the road of life. How would living in your values and staying on the road of life change you?