Article Written By Janet Swift
It may arrive in an unguarded laser-focused moment of awareness or gradually seep through like sun dispersing morning mist. Some are born with a singularity of purpose whilst others struggle amidst the chaos of unmade decisions. Wondering what I’m talking about? In the interest of clarity, it’s exactly that – CLARITY.
Reading that word, what image springs to mind for you? I see a pool of clear mountain water, gathered from the inward flow from above, before trickling onward to nourish what lies beyond. Movement, yes, there must be movement or that beautiful clarity will be lost to the turgid stagnation of standing water.
In the blueprint of life there is an underlying order, a path leads to our purpose, our raison d’etre. If only we would still our physical and inner worlds, just for a moment, clarity would be ours. Doing nothing is suffocating. Not knowing who we truly are or where we’re going can be frightening and leave us exposed to the will and actions of others who, however well-meaning, have no understanding of our highest values.
Identifying the drivers which power our inner compass unlocks our spiritual purpose, freeing us to discover how we can be of greatest service.
But clarity of what? Why not start by establishing your personal truth around:
Every one of us has a purpose, even if it’s currently awaiting the spark of recognition , but no two people have the same value structure . Hmmm, could this by why a wheel sometimes comes off the waggon in relationships? Hold that thought for a moment.
Truly being congruent with our highest values leads to inspiration from within to fulfil them and we’re automatically disciplined, reliable and focused. You’ve guessed what’s coming next – if we’re operating in the ranks of our lower values, our motivational levels are lower and procrastination, hesitation, frustration and inertia set in. Been there and have a rack of tee-shirts to prove it – how about you?
In all the noise and bustle of modern life, it’s easy to be swept along, weeks turning into months which, before you know it, have become decades. Here speaks one who knows – I didn’t wake up until I was fifty but achieved more in the next decade than I did in the first five. So what was the difference? Clarity of purpose.
The great news is that, even if you’re currently in chaos, it’s never too late to find focus and clarity around our core values and objectives and set some stretching but achievable goals to get us there. The alternative is to meander aimlessly through life feeling disappointed and probably helping someone else realise their goals by responding to their agenda.
Remember you were holding that thought about values in relationships? In the first few ‘hearts and flowers’ weeks or months, our new love can do no wrong. Then little things start to niggle. As the relationship deepens, we expose our real values and, when they’re different, scratches start to appear on our rose-tinted spectacles. Why? Because we’re discovering our partner has a different value set to ours which can feel uncomfortable and may eventually lead to relationship breakdown.
Now before you rush off in search of a new value-matched model, it’s important to say that no two people’s values will be in perfect alignment and neither must they be. Simply acknowledging what’s important to each of you and recognising there’s a couple of gaps and discussing them may well be enough. Compromise is the key but never sacrifice your highest values. Everyone wants to be loved and appreciated for who they are, which is represented by their highest values.
Identifying our values with absolute clarity is crucial because they influence our choices, reactions and boundaries, complicated by the fact that they may change as we mature. Sure signs that we’re no longer in alignment are feeling unbalanced, unhappy with life or unsure of who we are anymore. It’s time to revisit and clarify. As our definition of success changes, so do our personal values and cross-checking between our emotions and reality is a life-long activity.
There isn’t space here to take a deep dive into the process of establishing core values but, as goal setting is so much easier when we’re clear on the journey ahead, our ‘why’ and what drives us, it’s worth investing a couple of minutes in considering where we’ll find clues.
A revelation to me was that many of ‘my’ values weren’t mine at all; I’d picked them up along the way and the emotional importance I’d subconsciously placed upon them surprised me. Top Tip: If it’s something you think you ‘should’, ‘ought’ or ‘must’ do, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s a belief rather than a true value.
Let’s get cracking. Write down a list of all the values you can think of, it doesn’t matter for now if some seem similar. Here’s a few to start you off:
Acceptance Accomplishment Adventure Affection Altruism Ambition Beauty Brilliance Benevolence Certainty Challenge Commitment Compassion Conformity Daring Decisiveness Discipline Empathy Enthusiasm Fairness Family Freedom Friendship Fun Gratitude Growth …
When you’ve worked your way through the alphabet and written down everything which is meaningful to you, revisit the list cutting it down to twenty, then ten and then your most important FIVE , which is difficult. Each time you go through your list – which could easily reach a hundred values – choose the ones which resonate most deeply. Some overlap and it will be easier to eliminate those. It helps to look at them in pairs, asking yourself which one you’d choose if you could have only one. Rinse and repeat until the list is down to the all-important five.
Think about your personal gifts and the reasons people turn to you for help. How would your friends describe you? What qualities do your role models have? What makes you feel happy and in your flow? What did you love as a child and what made you feel valued and happy? Little clues will be sprinkled throughout those memories.
It’s really worth taking time to shine a light within because, once those values are identified, decision-making and goal setting will be so much easier as there is a firm yardstick against which to measure.
Well done for getting this far, many never do. Now those most important five values are clear, it’ll be time to set some comfort-zone busting, hugely exciting, life-enhancing goals.
For now, just imagine where you’d like to be in ten years’ time. Don’t hold back, you know it’s ALL possible, don’t you? Listen to what resonates within your heart and soul and, remember, the only restrictions are those we choose for ourselves. There’s a limitless reservoir of strength and potential within just waiting to be called upon – now’s the time to be the person you know you are, not the one holding back for fear of failure or ridicule. It’s time to reflect the inner you to the outer world, ignite that purpose and shine brightly.
Until next time, I’d like to leave you with these meaningful words:
“Life’s up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want.” Marsha Sinetar
Thank you for reading,