One of the keys to creating a fulfilling Victory Lap is being self-aware. Being aware of what is important to you will provide clarity for what matters to you and what makes you feel good. To accomplish this we need to understand our values and what motivates us.
Our values reflect what is important and guides how we need to live in order to be happy. If we can align our behaviours with our values we will enjoy an awesome VL. Pretty simple when you think about it.
Identifying Your Values:
Listen To Your Heart – It’s All About Feelings. You need to dig deep inside and search for things that make you feel happy. Think about past experiences. Think about what excited and inspired you. Think about what was important to you, that made you feel something. Keep notes on what comes to mind, the feelings, what made you happy and then write down the value that was associated with that happiness.
If you need help identifying your values, try Google “core values” which provides a long list of values to choose from.
Now you need to go over your list of values one by one. When you read one, if you don’t experience a sense of excitement or passion or you are unsure if it’s strong enough it probably does not make the grade and should be tossed.
If on the other hand you get a tingling feeling that gets you excited by some memory or makes you start feeling positive, it’s a keeper. The keepers will be your highest ranked values, the things that are most important to you.
Make sure that something you listed is not a sub-set of a value that you have already written down. For example maybe you wrote down that you like to learn things and you also list that you like to read. Reading in this case would be a sub-set of learning and would be a toss.
Now that you have identified your list of values you need to rank them in order of importance. Go over your list again, which ones do your heart and head tell you are the most important. You want to understand what matters MOST to you. How does your list feel to you when you read it over? Do you feel good about it? Are you proud? Are you starting to get a sense of who you are? Do some of the values you listed cause you any concern? How well are you currently living to your values? Do you feel you are satisfying what is most important to you?
Your list will help you define who you are and what will make you happy. Working towards satisfying the needs on your list should make life turn out pretty good.
Now is the exciting part where we interpret our lists. For demonstration purposes below is my list. In VL I need to focus on these items to be happy (ranked in order of priority):
• Family & friends
• Health & Fitness (W*)
• Purpose – Work
• Financial Independence
• Achievement (W)
• Adventure (W)
• Autonomy (W)
• Community / Tribes (W)
• Fun/Play (W)
• Making others happy (W)
• Learning (W)
• Make a positive impact on people’s lives (W)
• Earn the respect of others (W)
• Be myself (W)
• Integrity – Honesty
• Spirituality – contribute towards the greater good. (W)
*(W) Value satisfied through my work in VL.
A few things stand out to me after reviewing my list.
1) My family and friends are my top priority and top of mind. I am always looking for ways to make up for the time I lost with my family when I was working for the corp. I invest most of the “fun money” I generate from VL on fun experiences for me and my family.
2) I find it interesting that many of the needs I have are being satisfied through my work on Victory Lap. I am confident that the blog and transition guide that Gerry and I are working on is only going to enhance my feelings of accomplishment while helping a lot of people. Knowing that I am helping people makes me feel really good and gets me excited to get out of bed every morning. Why would I ever retire from something that contributes so much to my happiness? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
3) Autonomy – I never really thought about this until I did my own list of values. Not long ago I completed a self assessment to determine if I would be suitable for self employment. The survey had twenty questions and I hit 20 out of 20 showing this was what I was meant to do, it was an eye opener to say the least. Autonomy is a very important driver for me. Thinking back to my corporate life I would excel when my boss trusted me and gave me the freedom to run my team as I saw fit. In situations where my boss tried to keep a tight rope on me I was less happy and less successful. There is a lesson to managers here, never choke a running horse.
4) Nowhere did I write anything about buying a Mercedes or a Rolex. I’ve come to learn that buying expensive things doesn’t make me happy. I am not sure it ever did. Sorry advertisers but your ads don’t work on me anymore, although Golf Town almost had me a few years back but I’m past that now.
While I am happy where I am in my life, it’s not all champagne and roses as currently I’m out of alignment with one of my top values. Writing two books, starting a blog and creating a coaching business was not easy and it continues to take a lot of time and has created a lot of stress. Unlike my former career, I am doing this for me and hard work is the price of admission. I love the work that I do but I have ignored my health which has caused me to be out of shape and put on weight, which creates a lot of discomfort. The other day I was at the local drug store and took my blood pressure at one of the new machines. These machines also calculates your body mass index (BMI). BMI measures your weight relative to your height. I wasn’t happy to discover that I was bordering on the obese side of the BMI scale. My health will be at risk if I don’t take corrective action and get my life back in balance.
When life is busy, and all your energy is focused on one thing, it’s easy to get yourself out of balance. You need to have drive and focus to be successful, however by taking this too far you will end up missing the joy that comes from the people and the world around you.
I have a history of going “all in” and as a result something always has to give. Knowing that I have allowed myself to loose focus of my health value is causing me a fair amount of stress and I’m not happy about that. While Victory Lap is about learning and creating a life that brings you joy, expect a few bumps along the way.
To be continued: