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.

KEW Episode 45: Career vs. Family

In Episode 32: Work/Life Balance I shared my thoughts about how to find time to meet all the various needs we have. In this episode I want to focus specifically on balancing time spent working toward our careers with time spent with our families. And for those of you without spouses or kids, your family can be your parents, siblings, friends, coworkers or any other people you value and spend time with.

The main career/family issue I see in nearly all of the Americans I know is the stress associated with spending too much time ‘working’ and not enough time with ‘family’. Now these categories are pretty broad and can be broken down into the values associated with each. ‘Career’ generally means earning enough money to ‘be happy’ or to pay our bills, not have to worry about having food on the table, and making sure all family members have most of what they need within reason. The ‘Family’ category usually means being able to spend time with loved ones so that we don’t miss out on important moments (first steps, birthdays, sunsets) nor feel guilty about missing these moments. So work is really full of other values like safety, protection, health, wealth, and feeling valued. Similar, family is comprised of things like love, safety, comfort, and joy.

I think the problem arises from two basic issues: 1) work, or career, demands too much of our time, and 2) we feel guilty, sad, or devalued when we feel like we don’t have enough time for love. I have talked at length about both of these issues in other episodes, but in short the American career ideal does, indeed, demand too much of our time which I think is most of the problem. Couple that with the idea that, the higher your salary the higher the expectations of time dedicated to work then we have a huge problem for those earning a comfortable living. The wealthier you are, the more likely that the working member of the household will miss out on family time.

The good news is, by identifying your values – especially those associated with career and family – you can identify mechanisms for adjustment. Something as simple as reexamining your budget can reveal how much money your family really needs to be content. And maybe you don’t need to earn $200k a year and work 70 hours a week. Maybe changing careers is a viable solution.Similarly, maybe your spouse feels unsafe without a large retirement savings. Maybe you agree to work as hard as possible for a few years and THEN make a change.

The hardest thing to change with respect to all of these values (money, safety, time spent with family, love, etc.) is your job. Your employer will almost always dictate how much time you will spend working both in the office and at home on your phone or computer. This is hard to change because you could lose your job. BUT, you could become an entrepreneur and work for yourself (although sometimes this is worse with respect to time). You could change careers. You could split time with your spouse and both work part time, though sometimes insurance is difficult in this situation. The point is, your employer will largely dictate your work situation, though there is some flexibility if you are willing to take risks.

The rest of the values can be manipulated. If you work too much and are missing family time, you can develop and schedule time to spend together and make this a CRITICAL secondary priority. You can learn to accept your career time commitments and ‘work with what you have’. You can thoroughly examine the time you spend working at home and think about creative ways to minimize this. Do you really need to answer emails at 9 PM? Can some things wait until the morning or office time?

I don’t think we spend enough time micro-managing our time and looking at the small ways to shift career time to family time. We believe we are helpless victims of our employers. I believe career constraints can be boiled down to a list of absolutes, maybes, and potential nos. This processes can free up small bits of time that add up to being able to have lunch with your spouse once a week to check in, to take your kids to school, or other opportunities. We just forget we have more control than we think.

I hope this episode reminds you of the power you have to control your time and to find small ways to improve your career/family balance. Please share your ideas below.

Podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8295306-kew-episode-45-career-vs-family.mp3?blob_id=37637385&download=true

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FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 26: Habits – Why Are They So Hard To Change?

Since recording this episode I have read and implemented James Clear’s ‘Atomic Habits’ and HIGHLY recommend it. Clear eloquently describes how to break old habits and create new ones.

My take on habits contains many elements from ‘Atomic Habits’ as there are several universal themes.

Bad habits are easy to maintain. Good habits are hard to build.

After reading Clear’s book I have been able to add several new habits to my daily routine following his methods.

I hope you enjoy my episode.

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1359796631064326

Link to original post: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/10/23/kew-episode-26-habits-why-are-they-so-hard-to-break/

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 18: Dream Bigger

I recorded this episode based on a story someone once related to me about her post high school goals being ‘restricted’ by her family and cultural traditions. In other words, people ‘like her’ didn’t do certain things, or more accurately, could only do certain things. There were only so many career choices, or partner choices, or even the kinds of cars she could drive.

Like many things I simultaneously appreciate and despise this notion. On the one hand, traditions are important and how else are they conserved if they are not taught? As a lover of bluegrass music I get the tradition thing. It’s important to know where you came from and who invented the three-finger banjo roll *(Earl Scruggs). On the other hand, the next generation should absolutely not be carbon copies of us and things must necessarily change. If there’s anything we know about life is that change is a certainty (see Charles Darwin).

So having that knowledge, and experience in both of those worlds, I have a lot to say about dreams. I hope you enjoy.

Short 30 second preview here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1734618976738493

Full Episode post here: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/08/26/preview-episode-18-dream-bigger/