We all want to change something at some point in our lives. If you’re a recovering perfectionist like me, you might find yourself wanting to change all the things all the time. (Please tell me I’m not alone here.) While contentment is great, and I fully recognize the value and necessity for contentment and gratitude in daily life, complacency is not, and sometimes change is necessary. And all too often, when it’s necessary, it’s hard. When change is necessary, we can often find ourselves too close to the problem to see the best solution, the best path through difficulty to relief.
This week, I found myself in such a situation. I won’t get into the details, but I felt stuck. I knew I didn’t like where current choices were going to land me. I knew things had to change. Big, drastic, lifestyle-type things had to change.
But how? I think I have a few ideas, and since I’m taking you on this journey with me, here is where I’m going to start.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past four years thinking about my values. That might sound like a funny thing to think about, but a few years ago I stumbled, thankfully, onto the realization that I wasn’t choosing my values. What do I mean by that? Well, I wasn’t choosing, in life, the things I valued most.
Of course, I talked all about my values. I said things like, “I’m an entrepreneur so I can spend more time with my family,” but when I actually sat down and analyzed how much time I was spending with my young family, I realized it was a minimal amount of time. Instead of letting shame take the reigns, I had a brutal conversation with myself, and came face to face with the reality that I was acting apart from my beliefs.
Did I lose you there? I hope not. It sounds all esoteric and stuff, but what I simply mean is this: my actions didn’t align with what mattered most in my life. My priorities were not focused around what was most important in my life.
So I made some changes. Mind you, these weren’t big changes. I didn’t sit down and have a major goal setting session and then start going to the gym five days a week and eating all organic the next day.
No, I changed what I was thinking. I reoriented my life around my values. This required determining what my values were, which required asking myself a lot more very hard questions. I thought a lot about legacy, and how little time we actually have here on earth. My perspective shifted a lot. As this happened, my mindset shifted, and in turn my actions shifted. Once I determined my values, and started orienting my priorities around those values, everything else started to change with it. The results of my life were different. What I got out of life was different.
If you’re feeling stuck or frustrated, you might be ready for change in your life. It might be a subtle feeling of discontent, the good kind of discontent that tells you that you’re worth more and that you know better. You might be feeling guilty about something that you’re tired of doing—you might be angry at yourself for doing things that you absolutely know you don’t approve of—things you know are not good for you!
If this is you, my simple challenge to you is this. Ask yourself what’s most important to you. Make a great big huge long list, and then start to narrow it down. Use the process of elimination to get you to a top five. What do you value most in life? What sort of legacy do you want to leave? What really matters to you? Keep asking those questions. Figure it out. Do the hard work. Have the honest conversation with yourself. The change that you are looking for in life starts there.