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

We are living through a time of change. Every day the news reports bring us more stories of things that have changed. Social media amplifies them, seeking our engagement. And tomorrow there will be another batch of news and we will likely forget what happened today or last week.

The resulting emotional 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.

The reason is 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 so fast, this means our long term priorities.

These are our values. We could be alive 3,000 years from now and they would still be our priorities.

So once we know our values we can use them to handle short term change in three ways:

  1. First, whenever a new issue arises we can ask ourselves, “Is this issue relevant to my values?” 
    If it isn’t then we can ignore it. It is someone else’s fight.
    This jumps us over the snakes.
  2. If the issue is relevant to our values then knowing them helps us to define more quickly the outcome(s) we’d like to see instead.
    This shows us where the top of the ladder is.
  3. And the clearer we are on our values, and the more we live in line with them, then the more energy and inspiration we have to get to the top of that ladder faster.

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

By knowing our values and living in line with them we can avoid the snakes, climb the ladders faster, and make ourselves antifragile.

Do you find yourself getting distracted from your priorities? Do you know your values? Do you live by them?

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

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Photo By Leonard J Matthews via

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