By Marissa Jacobs
Life and Career Design Coach
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With all of the demands on our time these days it is easy to get bogged down in endless meetings, to-do lists, meaningless social obligations, and more. Before we know it, another day has ended, another week has passed, and we are left feeling less-than- satisfied, depleted, and wanting more. Sometimes the things that really matter to us haven’t gotten the attention they deserve, and all of the other tasks used up our focus and energy.
Imagine what life would look like if we made conscious time for what really matters most to us! Some of us out there are already doing that really well. Some of us might not even know what the things that really matter most are. Whichever end of the spectrum you are on, or if you are somewhere in the middle, it’s always worth the time to check in with yourself on what’s most important.
It all comes down to getting really clear on our values. Values are a big topic of discussion these days and that’s because knowing what we value is the groundwork for making decisions in our lives in a meaningful way. The most fulfilling life is one in which we honor our values each and every day.
Your values are already a part of you. You might not have articulated your values yet, but within you, you already know what they are. Values often elicit an emotional response – positive or negative. If you are having the most wonderful day of your life, chances are you are honoring your value(s) in whatever you are doing. Conversely, if you are so upset by a situation that it shakes you to your core, there is probably a value of yours being stepped on in that scenario. We can start to articulate our values by noticing what lights us up, what we love, what we get energy from, what is non-negotiable for us. If you are still not sure, use this downloadable worksheet to get your brain going. Do a first pass over the worksheet and mark any value that speaks to you. Then do a second pass and start to refine to get to the top 4-8 values that are in your soul and that you want to use to shape your life.
Once you’ve got your values list, now you can put it to use to plan your life in a thoughtful way. First, take stock. Go through each value that you have identified and reflect on where in your life you are honoring it, and where in your life it needs more presence. The things in your life that are honoring your values, make sure they stay there. Commit to making time for those things, whatever they are. Block off time on your calendar for them. Protect them.
In order to make time and energy for the values that need to be in your life more, that may mean eliminating some things that aren’t as important to create space and time. The best way to do this? Just say “no!” Why is it that this simple word can be so
challenging sometimes? Say “no” to anything that you can that you don’t feel like honors the values you have identified. I know we all have to work, take the kids to school, go grocery shopping, etc. so I don’t want to sound unrealistic, but challenge yourself to
take a serious look at things that you can eliminate/cut back on/set boundaries around to free up your time to be used more wisely.
Like anything, it takes practice to form a new habit, and checking in on your values is no different. Start by asking yourself the following questions whenever you are deciding whether or not to add something to or subtract something from your life:
By having clearly defined values that you check in on regularly and prioritize, and by eliminating the things in your life that aren’t aligned, you will be on track to a schedule and a life that are energy-giving and fulfilling.
Marissa Jacobs is a Life & Career Design Coach based in the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado. She is a CPCC (Certified Professional Co-Active Coach) through The Coaches Training Institute and is a Certified Mind Body Meditation Teacher. Marissa partners with her clients to support them in identifying their values, reaching their goals, and shaping on-purpose lives.
She has been an entrepreneur since 2015 and before she found her heart’s work of coaching she has experienced life in the fashion industry of New York City, as a professional organizer, and as an event planner.
She is a hiker, skier, constant reader and world traveler.