by Kathi Szabo
I’ve been on hiatus from writing for the last month. I decide to consciously spend time with family and friends. Which got me thinking. I talk a lot of consciously creating a life and body you love, but what really do I mean by that?
When Mark and I decided to create Eclectic Well-Being, we had a vision of helping people gain clarity on their well-being, including their health, their mindset, and their relationships. We struggled for years creating and recreating our lives. It wasn’t until the kids were in college and after I turned 50 that we went inward, finding ourselves again. And once we started yoga and then mindset work, we realized we were actually creating our lives. We were Consciously Creating our days, our goals, and our activities.
Consciously creating your life takes 3 steps, the first being, understanding your spiritual vision, your reason for being, your why.
What’s Your Why?
Do you know your why? Your reason for getting up each morning. I believe it changes over the course of our lives, but the changes are more a difference in interpretation. How we live our why. Take Oprah. As a child, she wanted to be a teacher. She wanted to be known for inspiring her students to be more than they thought they could be. Although she landed up as a talk show host, isn’t she teaching and inspiring us all?
I remember years ago, maybe just a few years after Mark and I were married, in an argument, asking Mark what his purpose was. He looked at me like deer in headlights. He had no idea. At that point in my life my why was to raise my kids to be independent. To be compassionate and loving. To be their own person. Being unique and being who they were meant to be was important to me. I never wanted my kids, or anyone to pretend to be someone they aren’t. Mark at that point in his life didn’t have the mindfulness and mindset training to understand his purpose yet.
The Values Exercise
However, he had recently joined BNI and their founder, Ivan Misner co-wrote a book, Whose In Your Room. I picked it up and work through the exercises. Chapter 24 was my favorite as it’s all about your values and your values dictate your why. It’s the first step to truly understand your why.
The exercise starts with first understanding the importance of consciously (yes, the book actually uses that word) identifying your values. Because when you acknowledge them, you are more apt to actually live them. When presented with what to do in our lives, we can use our values to make our decisions and ensure our actions are aligned with our higher being, our values.
The book provides 4 steps: 1) Identify the times when you were the happiest. 2) List the times when you felt a sense of pride. 3) Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied. 4)Determine your top values based on your past experiences of happiness, pride and fulfillment.
The results of this exercise are still saved as a note on my phone It’s there to remind me whenever I’m struggling on a decision.
Each of my top values has a declaration that goes with it, a personal context of how one views the particular value. Below is what I wrote on August 6, 2014, and was probably the first step I took in consciously creating the life I have now.
Trust is the foundation of any relationship. Whether it is professional, volunteer, family, or friends, if there is no trust and honesty between each person, the relationship is bound to fail or end in disappointment for one or both parties. Originally, I had authenticity separate, but have now included here since an honest person is also authentic, as to be authentic, one must be honest with themselves. If one cannot be honest with themselves, they will find it very difficult to be honest with others.
Nature is my god. When people comment about their faith, I look at nature and feel in awe. Nature has a way of living each day, creating beauty over time, and recognizing that everything has a purpose. I would rather be out in nature any day of the week then be indoors or be in a city or museum or church. The beauty that just happens is more than any religion can give me. Nature and all its beauty is my faith in life and living every moment.
Contribution is the value that connects me to others and to the world at large. I believe one must contribute something to this world, that we are all unique in our mix of qualities and that we are each meant to bring something to this life. Although I may not believe in God, I do believe we all touch each other’s lives without even knowing it. This must be the reason I love the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. He contributed to his family and community and didn’t really understand how many lives he touched.
Learning and Personal Growth
I value learning and personal growth because I believe this is what keeps our minds active. Our individual learning leads to a community of learning and I know some may object, or call me snobbish, but by better understanding the world, sciences, math, etc , it is then we can improve human life and this world we live in. Ignorance solves nothing. Ignorance cannot contribute to society. Ignorance leads to misunderstandings. Thus, I truly believe everyone must strive to continuously improve themselves, to improve our world.
I get enormous joy from mentoring young people. This is why I stay so involved in Sigma Kappa and why I am pursuing a second career in teaching. I enjoy and value leadership because it is a way to pass along knowledge and if I value knowledge – I want to share that knowledge with others. This is how the world can improve, people can better understand and begin to also value knowledge and personal growth.
I wasn’t sure if this was one of my values but after realizing my happiest memories are of traveling to new and old places and spending time just exploring I realized how much I do value travel as another way to learn and grow while also just learning to relax and enjoy nature. Travel allows me to really enjoy those values in a more focused way.
These in my humble opinion, are good behavior values. Someone should not commit to something if they have no intention of keeping that commitment. When making commitments, one should not take it lightly. If they are unsure they can follow thru, they should be honest. Once a promise is made, it should take something quite serious to break it. This goes in personal relationships, like marriage, work projects, volunteer assignments, and anything we have made a commitment to. This is highlighted in my desire to always be punctual.
Yes this was written over 7 years ago, and all are still relevant today.
I highly recommend that even if you think you know your why, that you do this exercise. If nothing else, it will provide you a manifesto of your spiritual vision to share or keep somewhere just in case you need it!
VIA Character Strengths
Another option, not exactly the same, but can also help you define your purpose, is to know your Character Strengths. VIA Character Strengths are defined as the positive personality traits that define your unique identity. Just like our values can be used and interpreted differently, so can your character strengths, which makes each of us unique! You can take your Free VIA Character Strength Survey at http://eclecticwellbeing.pro.viasurvey.org and then schedule a call with me if you’d like to review.
In next week’s Eclectic Thoughts, we’ll tackle the second step of consciously creating a life you love and that is Visualizing and Finding Clarity of the life you want to live.
Till next week……..