Doug and Lynn Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

Are you living your values? We got to thinking about this question because there are times when the world seems to be so upside down. People feel that their values are being tested.

Knowing what values are really important to you can help provide a map for your life road. That’s a powerful concept. So let’s explore the importance of 1. Identifying your values; 2. Living your values; and 3. Affirming your values.

Identifying your values: So how do you identify your values? You can start by asking yourself questions, such as: What’s really important to me? What do I want more of in my life? What do I want less of in my life? What brings me joy? What brings me sadness? Answers to these, and other important questions, can make it easier for you to know your values. Then those values can help guide you to stay on your best life road. Like a compass, a values map can keep you heading in the right direction.

People can have very different values that are important to them. We are seeing very different values expressed in politics, society, healthcare and education. People often passionately express opposite values. Different views can be helpful as long as there can be respect for each other.

The message here is to take time to decide what’s a value to you, not someone else. As Omar Itani says, “When you don’t set your own values, you will end up losing yourself in the values of other people.” Values are about the person you are and the person you want to be. Are your values to be honest, compassionate, charitable, loving, kind, spiritual and understanding? There are many other values but what fits for you?

Living your values: When you have identified your values, then ask yourself, ‘How am I living those values now? How do I want to live them in the future?’ Will it be in showing up as a caring parent, a dedicated worker, or possibly a calm, stable influence in the community? There are many ways to live your values and you get to choose what you want to do.

It’s good to stop and ask if you are living a life congruent with your values. On a less serious side, we’ll share about a friend who wanted to live very simply with hardly any furniture in his home. His family was always encouraging him to “live more comfortably” by having more chairs and tables, etc. They offered to take him furniture shopping. However, he liked his home. Having more “stuff” was not comfortable. His value was simplicity. Barbara De Angelis said, “Living with integrity means behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values.”

We don’t always realize that by living our best values, that can often influence others to also live their best values. Research has shown that when someone commits a caring act, they will feel good and people who have observed the caring act also feel good. Then observers ‘pass it on’ by showing care to others.

Affirming your values: Once you know your values and ways to live them, it’s important to consistently affirm them. This helps to “lock them in” so that they consciously, and then unconsciously, become a part of your life. For example, imagine you found a wallet with significant amounts of cash in it. When honesty is affirmed as a value, the decision is clear. Of course, the wallet would be returned to the owner with all the money inside. We learn these values, such as honesty, as we are growing up and see examples of what other people do. We also learn to look at the greater consequences of living our values — or not.

As we go through life we’ll see that our values provide guidance along the way. As Roy Disney said, “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”

Values can sometimes be conflicting, such as time away from family that’s needed in order to provide financially. These are tougher decisions. Fortunately for modern technology, many people who have to travel for their career, can stay in touch with family while away.

What about you? We’ve provided some ideas about the importance of values and how they shape your life. We encourage you to take time to look at how you’re living your values. Then you’ll feel confident that you can use your values map to successfully navigate your life road with courage and integrity, even when the road gets bumpy.

Chanhassen residents Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at WeCare@SharingLifesLessons.com. More information and videos at http://SharingLifesLessons.com.

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