Meet Pumpkin. She’s a fluffy memento from a recent trip to the coast. Adorable, yes?
I fell hard for her because of her complexity. She appears to be little, and soft, and vulnerable. . . and yet let’s not ignore the obvious. She’s a dragon.
This little one can FLY. And BREATHE FIRE.
She’s the cutest reminder ever of our budding potential, and of the inescapable fact that when we are true to ourselves, we are at our very best. We have wings and fire too, if we listen to our own hearts.
As I’ve welcomed in the new year, I’ve been considering how to remain faithful to myself, even in rough times. How can I soar in 2017?
I recently read an article online that described the regrets people have as they are dying, according to a nurse. The #1 regret was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Did you catch that? As people are dying, they’re not thinking how grateful they are that they followed the rules, or lived by their parents’ advice, or that they played it safe. No. They regret living the life others expected of them. They desperately wish they had been true to themselves.
They wished they had flown and breathed fire.
It’s not fun to wrestle with the idea of our mortality. Seriously. Who wants to dwell on the fact that on one seemingly impossible day, we won’t be here anymore?
Whew. Let’s take a cuteness break, shall we?
Thank you, Pumpkin.
Back to our mortality. . . I encourage you to take a moment to absorb the reality of the situation. . . and then say to yourself, OK, fine, I won’t be here forever. This sucks. But I AM here today, and hopefully tomorrow, and hopefully the day after. I want to live a life without regrets. On my deathbed, I want to say – Well done, you.
Excellent. Now what? How can you live a life true to yourself?
As a coach certified in Values2Wellbeing, a science-based coaching technique, I help my clients transform their lives by living and working in ways that are aligned with their core values. They are at their best when they are true to themselves.
“Core Values” is a term that most folks only sort-of understand. Examples are creativity, authenticity, achievement, or empathy. They are the intrinsic guiding principles that we were born with. When you align your actions and thoughts with your core values, you are at your best.
It can be difficult to identify your core values. And the process becomes even murkier when you consider that you have adopted some values along the way from outside sources like your parents, teachers, friends, minister, etc.
You may be living each day attempting to align yourself with values that aren’t even your own! I have totally been there, myself. Good times.
How can you tell the difference between core and acquired values?
I encourage my clients to remember this music metaphor. When we align ourselves with our core values, it’s like playing our favorite music. We feel inspired! Alive! Exhilarated! When we play our own music, we shine. And we model for others how amazing it is to be authentic. We give them permission to play their own music too.
When we make decisions based on our acquired values, it’s like playing music for other people. We may not even like the music, but we play it anyway. Others don’t get to know the “real” us, and so they don’t connect in a genuine way.
I also help my clients to look at how long the effect of a value lasts. When we pursue acquired values, such as status, fame, or appearance, we experience spikes of happiness that don’t last. You end up back where you started, at the bottom of the spike, hungrily wanting more.
Our core values, however, give us lasting satisfaction. The feeling may not be as intense, but it lasts much longer. The positive effects accumulate over time.
When you can identify your core values, and understand the effects of the values you acquired from others, you’ll be able to make effective decisions.
If you’re experiencing burnout in your career, it’s important that you understand your core values, as well as the values of your workplace, to help you make healthy choices. Conflicting values is one of the causes of burnout.
I believe in you. You can finally be your own best friend. You can listen to the music of your own, fire-breathing heart, and remain faithful to yourself.
The Chinese say that 2017 is the year of the rooster. I say that it is also The Year of No Regrets. We can choose to live big and fly.
We can do it!
P.S. You’re at your best when you are living and working in ways that are aligned with your core values. If you are ready to live a life true to yourself, check out my coaching program, Decoding Yourself. For a free strategy session, click here.
P.P.S. Many thanks to Senka Ljubojevic, PhD, for her award-winning coaching technique, Values2Wellbeing.