Achieving Your Goal Step One – Identify What You Truly Value
I’ve always been a planner – to a fault – for years I planned nearly every minute and rarely deviated from the plan. That allowed me to accomplish an incredible amount – working two jobs and going to school full time and keeping up with being a wife and step-mom meant that there was always something I needed to be DOING. However, I didn’t realize that I was so regimented that I missed some of the beauty in life because I refused to be flexible. I think it’s because planning everything made me feel like I had some control over my life, which I desperately wanted and needed. Growing up with an abusive father, an emotionally unstable mother and a very “non-traditional” home situation, I felt like I needed some stability and the only way I knew how to compensate as an adult was to plan each and every minute.
A few years back, I realized there was a better way and a way to make the most of my time and yet also enjoy life and some spontaneity. Over this and the next few blogs I write, I’m going to be sharing what I learned with you so you can benefit from my lessons learned the hard way! It’s been an incredible journey for me – I’ve learned to achieve goals and also live a full life that isn’t too full. Something a lot of us struggle with is the pressure to do more, get more done, be more places, and stay on the go non-stop. When we do get some downtime, we are too exhausted to really enjoy it or the people we love.
As I sit here writing this blog, it’s Monday morning at 5:00am. It’s pouring rain and a perfect morning to snuggle deeper into the covers and sleep in, but instead I chose to rise well before daylight and even well before the alarm went off. You see, morning is my most productive time of the day and the time when I get the most accomplished. Years of growing up on a farm meant I was always a pretty early riser by habit but I realized a few years ago that my best time of the day is the morning and I almost never “sleep in” now. It’s easy because I know what I truly value – a few hours of EXTREMELY productive time makes up for more than several hours of mediocre time later on in the afternoon. The routine varies slightly depending on a few factors like what day of the week it is. Typically I appreciate the opportunity to spend some quiet time on Monday planning my week. What will I accomplish? What is most important, when I think about how I will spend my time this week? Alan Lakein said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” What I mean is that first I want to plan the most important things in my week and that will help me “manage time.”
When we talk about managing our time, most of us don’t actually think about the fact that we can’t really manage time. We can spend it, invest it or waste it but we can’t buy it, save it, or get any more of it than our allotted 24 hours in a day. The question isn’t how to manage time better, but how to use it more wisely. We can only do that, when we know what is truly important to us. Bill George said,
“The values that form the basis for your True North are derived from your beliefs and convictions. In defining your values, you must decide what is most important in your life. Is it maintaining your integrity, making a difference, helping other people, or devoting yourself to family? There is no one right set of values. Only you can decide the question of your values.”
In this short video, I will share with you a story I heard, a parable by Jeffrey Davis, that helps me keep a perspective on time…..Click here for the video
Download the accompanying worksheet – Values Based Living – Your Mission Statement
Stop here for a moment. I want you to imagine it’s your 80th birthday. Your family is giving you a big birthday party and gathered all around you are family and friends and they are toasting to you and talking about how you impacted their life. What are they saying? What are the qualities that they are talking about? Will they say you lived with integrity? Will they say that you valued time with your family? Will they say you spent all your time trying to make money? What is most important to you? What gives you meaning?
Write down what you visualize them saying about you and what was important to you.
In that scene, is what they are describing about you the same thing you WANT them to describe?
Take 60 seconds here and write down the first things that come to mind as values that you personally embrace. Examples: Family, Health, Happiness, Free time, Travel, Wealth, Spiritual fulfillment, Respect of others, Peace of Mind, Friendships, Recognition
If you have a mission statement already, ask yourself if your mission statement reflects the values that you just wrote down. If you don’t have one, those values are a great place to begin writing your mission statement. Ideally it should reflect those values that are important to you.
This process takes time and thought and most people find that their mission statement changes over time as they develop personally. Actually creating an empowering mission statement takes time and investment. We have to connect to our inner self, which requires introspection, time and reflection.
Questions to consider when preparing to write your personal mission statement:
- If I had unlimited time and resources, what would I do?
- What have been the happiest times in my life and why were they happy?
- What characteristics do I most admire in other people?
- What are the three most important things to me that I want to accomplish?
- What are my most important roles in life? (Spouse, parent etc.)
Brainstorm on these privately and then use your reflections to write your rough draft. Don’t worry about perfection here – there is no right or wrong way to develop your personal mission statement – it’s personal and should be as unique as you are.
Look for Achieving Your Goal Step Two later this week. Sign up for my mailing list to have it delivered to your email.