In my previous post on setting intentions I already discussed the book High Performance Habits by the American author Brendon Burchard. This book describes in detail the six habits that contribute the most to being a high performance person. Clarity is one of these habits. He describes that it is essential to know what you desire most in your life. A process of finding your three values can clarify what makes you feel alive, what you need to work on to be your best self, and what keeps you motivated throughout your day. Your past experiences influence to choice of values. For Brendon these are to “love”, “live”, and “matter”.
It sounds like a daunting task. How can you find the most important values that characterise your mission on earth? I will explain how I did it, a rather straightforward process if I say myself . I combined it with finding my all of my values. Steve Pavlina wrote a few articles on this matter and also created a comprehensive list of values. I started by scrolling through the page, writing down each value that sparked something inside me. Something that energized me and gave me a feeling of recognition. You don’t have to be very strict. I think I ended up at least 30 to 40 values. That is a perfect starting point.
Finding your values
The task now is to simplify and combine the values to a shorter list of about 8 to 10 values. This is the easy part as the next task is to order them from best to worse. I did it by taking one value and comparing it to each other word on my value list. Judge which one is most important for you and continue with the most well regarded value. At some point this will converge to your most important value. Continue this process until you found your best three values. It might take some time but I was surprised on how structured and therefor easy this proces is. It resulted in my final three values: “integrity”, “playfulness” and “courage”.
So what do I mean by “integrity”? For me it represents being my true self and expressing exactly who I want to be on this earth. I need to be honest with myself and to other people even when situations get difficult. At those moments I remind myself that honesty will prevail in the long run. That the universe will eventually thank me and throws me the needed life experiences to help me grow.
Integrity is not easy for me as I am a person that is easily influenced by other people. Generally I shy away from expressing my thoughts. Especially when groups get bigger and the people more unknown. But that is exactly why I like this word so much. It reminds me to aspire to be my future best self. A final goal far in the distance with a snaky road leading to it. I know that with every little step I come a bit closer.
What do I mean with “playfulness”? This is having fun, not taking life so serious, challenging yourself to be creative and not being fixed to that one thing. For me it is about happiness, connection with people, and intimacy. All aspect that are close to my heart but also things that I struggle with on a daily basis. I can be very serious and hard working. I know I have difficulty in exposing my inner self and creating deep connections. I’m afraid of these things. That they might hurt me. “Playfulness” reminds me to open up. It suggests to let go of fear. It encourages to be myself and trust the universe. Trust that everything will be oké regardless of what happens.
Lastly, what is “courage” for me? This nicely links with playfulness and trust. It is doing the things I’m afraid of but I know will help me grow. Many books have been written about this subject. Fear indicates restricted energy and something you have to overcome. It requires willpower and pushing through the hard part. But the rewards of doing such a thing are enormous.
For as long as I can remember I’m anxious about public speaking. At the end of 2017 I realised that I had to do something about this to complete my final thesis presentation in a proper way. I joined Toastmasters, an organisation that provides a platform to develop your public speaking skills. I still remember clearly the first time I gave a speech. A felt the nerves all over my body but somehow this was not visible. The woman next to me mentioned how calm and relaxed I looked. The moment I started the speech I notice the tension flowing away. What was most memorable was the feeling afterwards. I felt completely alive and energized. I felt great about myself. A feeling that reminds me to keep working on my courage. Expand myself in every possible way. Find new perspectives on life.
Knowing your three most important values is the first step in your journey. I remind myself often about these words. I put them on many places in my surroundings. As phone background, as wallpaper on my laptop, on a paper on my wall. These reminders help to integrate the knowledge in your life. With tough decisions remind yourself on how you want to become. Every decision places a part in how you will become in the future. Realising this empowers yourself as you are the one that makes decisions. How can you be your best self?