Are your professional values an expression of your personal values and ethics, or are you feeling like your life is out of balance? Here is an exercise you can do to help you assess if your life is aligned with your values. Don’t be disappointed if it is not perfectly aligned. I did some similar work on my values approximately 7 years ago. If someone had seen my values compared to my life then they would have thought I was just listing values I thought were expected of me. The GAP was very wide! It was also an eye-opening experience. Today, seeing my life, most people cannot imagine that I used to live as I did. My life much more closely matches my values. Here’s what you do:
Make a list of your top 10 values. Examples of values are:
- Being a Good Parent
- Having a close marriage
- Having good health
- Feeling my life counts
- Having a personal relationship with God
- Having career satisfaction
- Being good at my work
- Spending time with my friends
These are just a few. Make your list based upon what is truly important to you in your life today. If you do not have children, being a good parent may not make the list today. Once you have made your list, review it. Any surprises?
– For each value write down how much of your time and attention has been spent in accordance with this value. Sometimes the quality of the attention is more important than time and vice versa.
– Review how much time and attention has been spent on the things you are saying are your top 10 values in life. Did you have any that you did not spend any time on in the past two weeks? Were there some you spent physical time on but your heart or mind was somewhere else? Identify the GAPS!
– Pick one or two GAPS and write an action plan on how you can move your life to be more aligned with this particular value. The key to making changes that will last is to be realistic. If helping others is an important value and you feel you have not spent adequate time or attention on it, take baby steps. Don’t plan to start spending 20 hours a week volunteering at church. Dramatic changes do not usually work. Start slow. An example may be to volunteer to greet people at church on two Sundays per month.
– Keep your plans down to 1 or 2 GAPS. Make the action steps actionable and measurable. Review your progress each month. When you feel like the GAPS are significantly reduced, look at other values that you would like to work on.
Living life according to our values, and bringing your christian values and ethics into your professional values and business ethics brings so much peace and satisfaction to our lives. But it doesn’t just happen. Just like everything else good in life it takes work. I hope this exercise has helped you get started. If you have any questions, or would like to work with a personal coach on making significant changes in your life, call Sue Miley at (225) 252-2202 and she will be glad to answer your questions.
Sue J. Miley is a Life Coach and a Licensed Professional Counselor with twenty years of experience with starting businesses and divisions with an entrepreneurial approach. Sue approaches small business success from a christian based business values perspective.