Are you committed to being rich? I don’t necessarily mean riches as in money, but rich in whatever way is of most value to you. Most of us at least try to strive toward some sort of riches, but what does it take? What does it mean to be your best self, to create and live your best life?
If you’re wrecking your brain for some one-size-fits-all answers, don’t waste your time. The answer to this question, for the most part, depends on your personal values and life purpose.
What are Your Personal Values?
All too often, we aren’t even aware of our core personal values. We try to soar through life on the wings of advice, guidance, rules and values that don’t even belong to us. Yet, we’re surprised each time the poop hits the fan. Go figure!
It’s pretty hard to live your best life when you don’t truly know what your best life is. Your best life is a life of purpose—not just any purpose, YOUR purpose. Navigating through life without awareness of that purpose is like trying to reach an unknown destination with all sorts of conflicting directions, maps, and GPS systems. I don’t have to tell you how frustrating and confusing that can be.
Core Personal Values Awareness Exercise
If you’re a regular reader here, you know by now that I love using exercises to help bring about understanding of self improvement ideas. Today is no exception.
Even if you feel pretty certain of your core personal values, take about 5 minutes to put yourself to the ultimate test. You’ll confirm that you’re on the right track with your values or you’ll gain awareness of values that you didn’t know you had. Either way, your time will be well spent.
Think for a moment of 2 – 3 people you strongly admire, respect and look up to. Maybe you aspire to be like them or you’d like to follow in their footsteps. For each person who comes to mind, write down the traits they have that you admire. What is it about him or her as a person that stands out for you? Some examples may be generosity, compassion, work ethic, tenacity, confidence, ambition, family-oriented.
Believe it or not, the list that you’ve come up with is indicative of your own values. You may not immediately see in yourself what you see in the people you admire, but I beg you to take a closer look.
The traits we most value in others are an amazing reflection of the personal values we hold dear in this life. If you tend to have a very positive image of those who exhibit courage, look for evidence of courageousness within yourself.
Okay, okay. Maybe you don’t let this value shine through in everything you do. Maybe you aren’t even aware that it’s there; but it is a part of who you truly are—your true self. If you think these values are just important to you because you see them in others and wish you had the same, maybe it’s because you are repressing this part of yourself. Could fear, conflicting values or emotional baggage be taking center stage while your personal values are overlooked or ignored? Possibly so!
Still uncertain about your values and purpose?
A way to further define your personal values and to understand your life purpose is to write out your ideal eulogy. To do this, turn all of your thoughts to what you’d like to have people say about you at your funeral or memorial service. What impression would you like to have left behind with your spouse, children, friends and others whose lives you touched? What memories should the world have of you when you’re gone? Base your answers on what you would bring to this world if you had absolutely no limitations in time, money, etc.
There is no right or wrong here. If you take it serious and put significant thought into this little exercise, you’ll have a good idea of what you want your life to stand for. Instead of coming up with a lengthy description of your life purpose, use everything you’ve come up with to narrow your life purpose down to two words. One verb and one noun.
Need an example? If your values list and ideal eulogy showed a pattern of focus on doing the right thing or being genuine, you can jot your life purpose down as showing integrity. Some other examples of life purposes are: spreading love, having fun, creating happiness, nurturing family, promoting health, exploring spirituality. When you come up with the one that’s for you, you’ll know it. It will feel more right than you can imagine.
Life Purpose: Why Is It Important?
Defining your life purpose is like choosing a destination rather than moving aimlessly through life. The route you take to get there is best drawn by your values.
With conscious awareness of your personal values, you’re more prepared than ever to create and live your best life. If ever you’re struggling to make a decision, reach a goal or resolve a problem; look to your personal values and life purpose for the answers.
If ever you feel intuitively not right about something, notice how it might conflict with what you value most in life. In some cases, you may need to release an old, outdated value; but most of the time you simply need to line up your actions with the values you already have.
There is something so peaceful and liberating about defining what your life stands for. It helps you to know yourself, which is an obvious precursor to improving yourself.
The Right Goals for Your Values and Life Purpose
With your core values in mind, reassess everything about the way you live your life. Redefine your goals and the ways in which you spend your time.
If, for example, exuding positivity is your life purpose, a goal of getting promoted at a job you hate doesn’t quite fit with your life purpose. Instead, that goal keeps you stuck in a place you dislike, which makes it extremely difficult to feel and exude positivity.
Furthermore, that goal may require daily actions that take you away from your values. Maybe you’d need to work longer and focus harder than ever at the job you can’t stand. That sucks! A better goal would be one achievable through actions that are aligned with your values and purpose. Learning a new skill set or getting hired at a great new company may be a good fit.
You can’t not experience personal growth and success when you live according to your personal values and life purpose. It is the natural evolution of things. It is as if the light is turned on, your world is illuminated. You can finally see, and experience, the richness that’s always been your birthright.
You may be wondering how to get to the next step from where you are now. It’s not as complex as you may think. Once you set goals that are in alignment with your life purpose, simply step back from ways of life that lead away from your values. If one of your top five personal values is tranquility, take note of any ways in which you allow chaos or disharmony to interfere. If you value compassion, double check to make sure you’re being compassionate to others (and to yourself).
At your own pace, implement new daily living habits that chisel away at those that are not serving you. Decide to take time out of each and every day for these habits—they may be positive affirmations, physical exercise, reading or studying, family time, volunteering.
Few people, if any, can make sure that 100% of their actions are aligned with their life purpose and personal values. However, we can all choose to get our priorities straight.
Remember the purpose of your life. Keep your values at the forefront of your mind, always using them to define the “must-haves” and “must-dos” in your world. Dedicate the bulk of your mental and physical energy to that which reflects who you are and what you stand for. The results will be exactly what you’re looking for: your best life.
Photo credit: Monali Mahedia
Related Self Improvement Ideas
- Why You Can’t Go Far Without Congruence In Life
- Living a Passionate Life