The actress Lili Tomlin once said: “I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.” (kind of reassuring coming from such an accomplished artist). But from that statement comes an understanding. Many times I found myself wondering if what I am doing every day has a purpose, and a good one, for that matter. But more importantly, how do I know if I have a purpose if I do not know what my governing values are? Values help us identify ourselves and find purpose in life. They also give us an opportunity to better align our inner selves with our daily activities – something others call ‘balance’. The tricky part is to take the time to identify our values and to establish how we make them part of our daily life.
Hyrum Smith, founder of Franklin Quest and co-founder of Franklin Covey, stated: “This will probably be one of the most difficult things you will ever do, but it will also be one of the most rewarding. As those things that really are of greatest importance in your life begin to emerge on paper, you will experience a sense of clarity and purpose unlike anything you have felt before.” By discovering and identifying your governing values, you will develop a clarity of both purpose and direction. But you have to have the discipline to take the time for your discovery and to write down what you find out. While doing so, you will find yourself personally empowered, feeling exhilarated about life and opportunities ahead of you. In fact, you will be able to see those opportunities, rather than sulking at the lost chance. Remember: we are leaders within our own circle of influence. But our Circle of Influence starts with ourselves. We need to lead ourselves in order to lead others, or to have a better life.
So spend as much time as you need, as your discovery process will not happen overnight. Allow patience but also a rigorous honesty with yourself. Without it, you will not have a realistic picture and will deceive yourself. Remember the old saying “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
One more thing, we all have governing values deep within the core of who we are. Through self-reflection and inquiry, your values can emerge to a conscious level. You might be surprised what you learn from this experience!