If you are anything like me, your life is busy, noisy and full. It is hard to pay attention to any single thing as your senses are assaulted from morning ‘til night by the sounds of civilization encroaching on your doorstep and through your electronic devices. Your concentration, vitality and focus are stretched to their very limits.
The sad thing is that things don’t seem to slow down, they gain momentum and just get busier… so it is to be expected that you feel overwhelmed, confused and disorientated.
The trick is knowing how to find your way through the clutter of our modern world. For me personally I turn to my core values and allow them to be my compass in life, guiding me as I make decisions or I have difficult discussions with people or when I just need to know that what I am doing is right. Using your core values to guide you through life is not a new concept, I think most of us have just forgotten that it was an option.
What is a Core Value?
Core values are those beliefs and qualities that you hold dear, the ones that are so important to you that they dictate your behaviour and help to clarify right and wrong for you in different situations.
If you haven’t identified your core values yet, you can read my blog on identifying your core values here.
1.Be Aware of Your Core Values
Once you have your list of core values you need to familiarise yourself with them – print it out, stick it up, save it as your screen saver or background. The more you read and process them the easier it will be to call on them when they are needed! Thinking about them and learning them is only one part though – the key is then to start implementing them in your life and using them on a regular basis. The more regularly you turn to your core values and use them, the more your actions and core values will align without you having to think about it. Your core values then become your life line in challenging times.
So now you know your core values off by heart… but what do you DO with them? Well let’s say you are running a race. It is tougher than what you expected and you decide to stop on the side of the road and consider if you are going to pull out of the race. You immediately feel a sense of unease… why you ask yourself? To answer this you review your core values and have an ‘uh huh’ moment – giving up goes against your core value of perseverance. So you know, that if after resting for 5 minutes you can pull yourself together and continue on, not only will you have the accomplishment of finishing the race, you will feel awesome and proud for sticking to your core value.
Another example would be if your boss was away for the week and your colleagues all decide to leave the office on Friday early and go for a drink together, even though there is an important deadline to be met for the following week – after all the boss is overseas and won’t know. You are asked if you are going to join them. You want to fit in yet something doesn’t feel right. Upon reviewing your core values you realise that leaving without permission goes against your core values of integrity, honesty AND industry, so you politely decline and continue to work towards your deadline. While you aren’t Mrs Popularity you go home later in the afternoon knowing that you did the right thing.
“A highly developed values system is like a compass. It serves as a guide to point you in the right direction when you are lost.” – Idowu Koyenikan
By using your core values as your life compass you will find that some of the unease and noise lessens in life and that you feel less stressed. You will be able to process problems more quickly and efficiently and you will move closer to realising your goals.