I set my word of the year to Personal back in January - a decision I don't regret and have grown so much from - but another word has begun to creep into my consciousness: Values.
What Values Means to Me
As I've been working to define what my next "life plan" will be, I discovered defining a concrete goal for my future wasn't going to happen. There are just too many irons in the fire, too many opportunities and too much could change. I felt it was futile to define a clear, step-by-step life plan. That worked for me after college, but isn't the model that I can use now. Instead, I want to define my Values, which I can then use to guide me along as I make decisions in the moment.
I view these Values as a compass, pillars, to base decisions on. Very similar to morals or religious beliefs, Values are inherently personal and specific. They're easy to internalize but difficult to communicate. But unlike morals or religious beliefs, I don't want my Values to shift with education or convictions. I want my Values to be agnostic and firm. Something I can lean on, depend on and grow with.
How I Found my Values
To find my Values, I filled out a worksheet. Because I'm a dork and believe in the power of forms. Here's a few options if you'd like to do the same:
- University of Washington - Identifying Your Core Values
- Community College of Vermont - Value Assessment Worksheet
- Virtus, Inc - Core Values Worksheet
My Values, Identified
So, what were my Values? Of the many, my top five were:
How I'm Going to Use my Values
So while I want to use my Values as a sounding board for making big life decisions, I also want to consciously and purposefully apply them to my life now. I decided to list a few "action items" for each Value that I am prioritizing. It's a small but necessary step. One tiny turn in direction that will hopefully guide me toward the best place over time.
Here are my actionable items:
- Watch my TED Talk playlists
- Read creative books
- Sketchnote while doing those things
- Update my UX Portfolio actively
- Perform romantic gestures
- Take my dogs on hikes
- Set attainable and reasonable short-term goals
- Buy less clothes (For October through Thanksgiving - buy no clothes. Then... Black Friday!)
- Reduce Calories/Alcohol consumption
- Set reasonable relationship expectations
- Meditate daily
- Follow through on plans - Be dependable
- Find a routine
- Listen more than I talk
- Practice empathy
- Try something new
- Don't defend on principle
Here's a good October and a well-lived Fall 2015!