#16 of 37 Lessons -- Live Your Values

Live your values– until I searched for and found my core values, I never realized how much living out of sync with those values can affect your life. When you are out of sync with your values, you may feel somewhere between a little uncomfortable to utterly unhappy. We often can’t put our finger on what is bugging us and chalk it by saying, “that’s life”. You can begin to fix that uneasiness when you determine your core values. It will help you to see what is out of sync and how to begin fixing it. When you can take action to rectify the incongruences in your life, you begin to live your life and “that’s life” changes to “that’s my life”.

Until I defined “freedom” as a core value (see chapter 5 in my book), I couldn’t clearly explain my disdain for rules, regulations, and bureaucracy. Once I found freedom as a value, I began to look at the things that violated my freedom differently. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating anarchy where there are no rules and regulations. What I am advocating, is seizing your right to design and live the life of your dreams. 

Over the years, I have been fortunate to enjoy great freedom in almost everything I chose to do. It wasn’t always smooth sailing though, and could give many examples. I once worked for a guy who violated most of my core values, especially fun and freedom. Over the course of a year and a half, I tried to reason with him about having a little more fun and was rebuked with, “you’re having fun, we can change that”. He was serious, he didn’t think work should be fun. He was steadfast in working hours and I tried to get him to flex a bit, but he held fast. In most of his relationships, if the other party didn’t agree with him, it became adversarial. It never ended with this guy…

Fortunately, the example above is extreme. Rarely did I experience such egregious violation of my core values. However, because my values were being challenged, I attempted to fix some of the issues to no avail.  I then had to take extreme measures to rectify the problem by looking for and finding a new job. Simply running away from the matter is not always the cure. In this case, it was necessary. 

In other cases, I was able to pick and choose my battles. When bureaucracy reigned, I might reluctantly comply in a perfunctory manner while lobbying for relief from the unnecessary. When I recognized a task at work might not be fun, I planned to have fun outside of work and that brought me some of the balance I always look for in life. The bottom line for me is I’m much happier when I’m in sync with my core values of fun, balance, relationships, freedom, and cooperation.

What are your core values? Are they in sync?

Dan