Last week Ben and I both went fairly deep in to the idea of legacy. I spoke about my eulogy and Ben spoke about the things that drive him in a big picture, high level way. We spoke about the kind of life we want to live in order for those legacies to come to fruition, and the jarring realisation that we often miss the mark.
Previously I’ve always left any discussion of my Why here – at the eulogy level. And while it’s so important to have that 10,000-foot view of the life we’re creating, it doesn’t really allow for much guidance in the granular, everyday decisions we’re faced with. How can something as grand and life-spanning as a eulogy help us to decide how to spend a weekend? Or whether to share a photo on social media?
There was always a certain level of specificity missing, and it wasn’t until we drilled down even further than the eulogy level and discovered the notion of values that it became clear. In today’s episode we look at values – what they are, what ours are, and how we use them in addition to our Why to determine our choices and actions on the day to day level.
According to the dictionary, values are:
“Principles or standards of behaviour,” and, “One’s judgement of what is important in life.”
As a definition in this context, I think the combination of these two really nails it. Not only do we need to know what we’re OK with in terms of our own behaviour, but also what is important to us in life. And neither of these things will become clear without doing some significant head-work (like that of the past two weeks) and digging in to gain some more clarity into what that actually looks like in daily life.
Today I pick apart my eulogy from last week and extract three key values on which I can essentially make any decision, and Ben does the same with his. It takes us from a nebulous idea of eulogy to one of values and it’s been so incredibly valuable to us as we navigate a tricky time.
My three core values are:
And in this poggie I look at how those three values really do apply to everything I hold dear, and next week we look at how I use them as a framework on which to base decisions and take action.
This week’s task revolves around the work you may have already done as we’ve worked through this idea of Why. Go back to your first mind map, or even your legacy exercise from last week and simply start highlighting words that represent a value of yours. You’re looking for the attributes or principles rather than the specific actions. Then sit with these words for a while and let yourself consider the values they represent:
- Are they yours?
- Do they ring true?
- Do they feel right in your gut even if you’re not currently living with them at the centre?
Write them down on a piece of paper and keep it somewhere close. Then, just let it roll around in your head and your heart for a while. You’re getting there!