One of the most common regrets that people have has to do with not living by one’s values and instead, living by others’ expectations. That’s why I’ll be addressing the importance of working with your moral compass instead of relying on the ideas and beliefs of those who raised you or are surrounding you now.
If you’ve found yourself feeling anxious, sad, or generally uneasy about the way you carry out your days and the direction that you’re moving in, then it’s probably a good thing that you’ve stumbled upon this post!
This is your chance to dedicate some time to examine your life in a way that can positively shape your future and help guide you through the ups and downs that will inevitably come.
I wrote about Steps 1-5 in the last blog posts. Today, I will write about steps 6-10.
Step 6: Use Your Moral Compass To Brainstorm
In step 5, you chose a value and asked yourself whether your actions reflected that value presently.
Now take your work from that step and put together some short-term action plans. After all, baby steps add up to real change!
So, consider what you’ll do differently the next time you realize that you’re acting against your values. Remember, start small.
Let’s continue with our example of optimism from step 5 - when you find yourself worrying about the future, maybe repeat a mantra about staying in the present.
Step 7: Identify Value Conflicts
In step 6, you identified some short-term fixes correcting actions that go against your values, it’s time to get to the bottom of what’s causing those uncomfortable feelings.
The first step is to determine what feelings your actions are masking. In other words, what are you getting out of acting outside of your values?
For example, if you value loyalty, but find yourself partaking in office gossip, consider what’s causing these actions. Do you feel insecure about your job, or resentment toward a co-worker? Do you feel like partaking in this is a way of connecting with people?
Don’t worry just yet about getting to the root of the issue; just focus on what immediate feelings you get from acting the way you do.
Step 8: What's the Cause?
Now it’s time to get a little deeper. For most bad behavior, stress is at the root of the issue. This is likely the case for you, too.
Consider the classic example of a school bully - is that child just a mean, horrible person? Or are there more difficult factors at play causing them to act out?
You've already considered what positive emotions you're getting fro
m acting against your values in the last step. This next step is about exploring and discussing what’s causing you to crave this feeling in the first place.
For example, if you value trust but you’re micromanaging your employees, what are you emotionally gaining from that contradictory action?
Perhaps you do it because you feel like it grants you more power. If this is the conclusion you come to, why do you think you’re feeling powerless?
This step is about working through these issues with your set of values.
Step 9: Reconstruct the Values You Were Raised With
As we get deeper into the psyche of what causes you to be the way you are, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This step is focused on giving you a little more clarity.
Take some time to think about what type of values you were raised to believe, or which values you can connect to your upbringing.
It might help to reference our list of values again (https://bit.ly/2pzygEf).
Come up with a shortlist of words of values you were raised with.
Step 10: Have An Honest Talk With Yourself
The next step is to set aside some time to chat - with yourself. Sounds weird, right?
I recommend that you use a journal or computer to write your thoughts out, but if you prefer to stay inside your head and meditate, that’s okay too.
Your priority for this conversation is to tell yourself that the way you’re living right now needs to change and that it’s time to switch things up.
The last steps are coming soon!