Find your values: they’ll keep you focused and make you feel alive

In a time of change things keep changing. 

The 24 hour news cycle reports them, vying for our attention. Social media amplifies them, seeking our engagement.

The resulting roller coaster might seem exciting — but if we’re not careful, our life quickly becomes a game of snakes and ladders, pushing us up a ‘ladder’ one minute and down a ‘snake’ the next.

This drains us and distracts us from what matters. And it doesn’t take us towards where we want to go. Because:

When everything is a priority, nothing is.

The solution is to get clear on our priorities. And in a world where everything is changing this doesn’t mean knowing our short term priorities, it means knowing the priorities that will matter to us for all time.

Those priorities are our values: the things we value above all else.

When we know our values, in the way they are defined in Inner Leadership, we can use them to handle change in three ways:

  1. First, whenever an issue arises, and the people around us are wailing and gnashing their teeth, we can ask ourselves, “Is this issue relevant to my values?” 
    If it isn’t relevant to our values we can ignore it. It is someone else’s fight.
    This jumps us over the snakes.
  2. If it is relevant to our values then knowing those values helps us quickly define what we’d like to see instead.
    This brings us focus about the outcomes we seek and where the top of the ladder is located.
  3. And the clearer we are on our values, and the more we live in line with them, the more alive we feel and the more energy and inspiration we have to get to the tops of those ladders faster.

We are living through a time of change. The distractions around us aren’t going away any time soon. But we can change how we respond to them.

By knowing our values, and living by them, we can avoid the snakes, climb the ladders, and become more antifragile.

Do you find yourself getting distracted? Would you like to spend more time feeling fully alive, inspired, and working towards what matters most to you? Have you identified your values?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also need to practice.)

Photo By Leonard J Matthews via

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