KEW Episode 46: Values

In just about any kind of self help endeavor you will be asked to identify your values. While this sounds pretty easy, the process is far from simple. Turns out we like a lot of stuff. We ‘value’ many things. The trick is determining your top 3-5 values that truly drive you to live your life.

Over the course of ten years of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or talk therapy, I read and heard a lot about values, but it wasn’t until I put some real effort in that I discovered the, well, VALUE, of my values.

So what exactly ARE values, then?

There are lots of definitions, but here’s one I lifted randomly from http://www.mindtools.com (I’m paraphrasing):

Values are things you believe are important in the way you live your life. Values determine your priorities and are a source of motivation.

That’s pretty good, but there are some easy-to-miss key points.

You BELIEVE values are important. Values are subjective and unique to you. YOU decide what they are. Values can be revealed by thinking about what you LIKE, or don’t like.

Values are things you prioritize; either consciously or subconsciously. Values can be identified by thinking about things you DO, or don’t do.

Values motivate you. Values are things that make you feel excited to get out of bed in the morning. Or, things you don’t value or want to do can make you wanna pull the covers up and go back to sleep.

There are TONS of resources on the inter webs that can help you identify your values, but all of these methods are deceptively simple. The KEY is to go through multiple iterations, take breaks, and to do some sort of ranking. I estimate I put in nearly ten hours of writing, thinking, journalling, rearranging, ranking, and repeating to get down to my set of 4 values.

There’s also a tricky side to values. Being humans, we tend to focus on things we consider to be ‘good’ and ‘healthy’ when considering our values. There are also values, many call ‘SHADOW values’ that also motivate you, help you prioritize, and reflect the things you do.

However, shadow values, at least on the surface, might not be something you’d be comfortable sharing with others.

Shadow values can be things like having a lot of money, being powerful, having people obey your word, being the center of attention, or wanting people to behave in ways that make you happy.

But the reason shadow values are beneficial are twofold: 1) They help you understand the darker side of your motivations and can help you achieve your goals and be your best self by embracing ALL of your characteristics, and 2) can almost always be softened to see the non-selfish attributes of seemingly nefarious concepts or intangible ideas.

For example. Being motivated by money doesn’t necessarily mean you are evil or Scrooge-like. Knowing you want to be wealthy can reflect a need for safety or a desire to protect your family. See how we can flip something that seems narcissistic to something that comes from a better part of your self?

The purpose of values and shadow values is to create a list of motivating factors critical to your life. I wrote mine down and keep them in several places to remind myself of why I do what I do. My values have become a tool I use to direct all of my personal growth and spiritual work. Knowing, and truly understanding my values, has enabled me to focus and to think less about things that don’t show up on that list. In short, this has made my life easier.

Much more in this episode, I hope you find this useful.

Full podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8377792-kew-episode-46-values.mp3?blob_id=38127154&download=true

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Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/ic6DJN_J_q8

Preview KEW Episode 46: Values

This week I share my story about identifying my values. Identifying values is one of those things that sounds easy, but is not simple. Sure, anyone can sit down with some online tools (like James Clear’s Life Lessons values journal), but it’s deceptively difficult to REALLY drill down to your personal values.

On the surface values are things like love, joy, safety, and other intangibles that motivate you to live your life. Values are things we strive for or consider important in our lives.

I spent nearly ten years on the surface of my values. While I had a vague idea what the things I valued were, I didn’t really understand the importance of knowing my values, and how to use that knowledge.

I’ll share how I ACTUALLY learned to identify my values, a bit about our ‘secret’ values, and why you will benefit from knowing about yours.

Preview video here: https://fb.watch/4ZHxDOMjlG/

Full episode right here this Friday.

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 29: Gratitude

After reading James Clears’ ‘Atomic Habits’, I wanted to try and add a new habit and get rid of an ‘bad’ one. Reading the book inspired me to apply Clears’ teachings and I knew I needed to choose some easy habits, or low hanging fruit, if you will.

I had been thinking about quitting drinking beer before reading the book, so that seemed like an obvious ‘bad’ habit to change. And although I consider my drinking habit ‘not unhealthy’, I just wanted to see if I could do it. I had been having 2-3 beers pretty much every day for years and decided to try not having any beer for at least two weeks – just to see if I could break the habit.

Similarly, I wanted to try adding a new habit and gratitude seemed like an easy one. Though I easily stopped drinking beer (for the record, I still have maybe one beer once or twice a week now), adding gratitude was harder, but I continue to try. And, really, the experience of struggling to be practice gratitude every day is teaching me more about myself and habits because it’s hard.

So building a gratitude habit is challenging – and why is that?

To me, it’s because 1) it’s hard to notice the immediate results, and 2) I have been trying to practice gratitude during moments of duress, as if to provide a solution to a bad mood.

To address (1), there are immediate results but they may not be what we expect. It is our error to assume what the benefits of gratitude will be. What I have observed is that gratitude is coupled with mindfulness, or ideally, meditation – even briefly. And one small benefit of meditation/mindfulness/gratitude is slowing your heart rate and becoming more calm. But if we are looking for some sort of epiphany, it is easy to miss the fact that practicing gratitude calmed us down!

As for (2), the problem with starting new habits is the belief that there will be some overwhelming immediate result – and this just isn’t true. Additionally, the building of the habit needs to happen from a place of calmness initially. We can’t build habits to solve a problem ‘in the moment’, or at least I can’t. So I realized I had to practice gratitude when I was in a decent mood, or at least not in a bad mood. Once the habit is built from that attitude, THEN it can be used to benefit us during duress or stress. Hopefully that makes sense. It would be like expecting to see weight loss results after running our first mile. The benefits come later.

You have to trust the process. And a process that works for me is to take 2-3 minutes at least once a day, at a time when you are not feeling particularly stressed or distracted, to breathe deeply, appreciate your breath, and pick one thing you are grateful for in that moment.

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=855244945200844

Original full episode post: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N5AX61W/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1