The MAGIC formula:
It applies to:
Values are incredibly, well, valuable. They are fundamentally important.
Many thanks to Michelle Mills-Porter for reminding me how important they are. She is an expert on personality types, she can profile someone at a hundred paces (sort of). She is passionate about tools like DiSC. Still, she emphasised to me that, even before you start looking at personality types, you need to think about values. They are the building blocks from which everything else is constructed.
Uncovering Hidden Values
How do you discern your values?
It is worth taking some time to think about what is really important to you. Some aspects of this may be obvious, others less so. How do you discern this?
If you’re not sure, think about what gets your emotions going.
For years I was confused by myself. I’m not an especially emotional person, I don’t cry very much, and I hardly ever get angry. But every time I watched the musical Cabaret, I found myself getting really angry and crying.
My emotions were stirred up.
I reflected on it and realised that this showed me that I value people having freedom. And I hate to see it when they have that freedom denied.
I also tend to cry whenever I see any piece of good theatre. It doesn’t matter if it’s sad, happy, or even just silly. If it is excellently done. I will probably start crying. I’ve been known to do it in theatre adaptations of toddlers TV shows, just because the production was so good! Why is that? I realised that I value creativity, and I love people being able to express themselves in their own creative ways. Again, I think it’s to do with freedom.
What’s Your List?
Early on in our marriage, my wife and I talked about what was important to us. We’re both Christians, so our initial stab at establishing our benchmark values had God first, family next, and work third.
After further thinking and more years, I realised that self-care has to be up there as well. You can’t help others if you are in pieces yourself, so you have to look after yourself to be able to serve them. Consequently, my priority list now looks like this:
Your list will probably look different. That’s OK, the important thing is that you think about it.
Once you have established your priority list, it makes decision making, easier. Every time you have to make a life decision, you can measure it against your list: What will be the impact on myself, my partner, my family, etc.?
For example, a work assignment that would take you away for six months from your family may not be an option. Or it may be. It depends on your value list.
It is a good idea to build in regular reflection time just to check that your life and work are still congruent with your values. It is so easy to drift.
If you do unconsciously drift, you will probably notice a dissatisfaction and unease in yourself, because what you’re doing is not aligned with your values. Regular reflection should help you to identify this and think about whether there is anything you can do to put it right.
Look at your values, reflect on your values regularly and check each decision you make against them.
Values are so, well, valuable.
Download my free eBook “Be Kind to Yourself” and learn how to:
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