I’ve been in an explorative space lately.  Despite the mundaneness of quarantine, I have been able to have some exciting periods of creativity and exhilaration. These moment have come through simple conversations, reading and even while doing interviews. I want to share some of the new concepts I’m exploring now. 

YOUR DRIVING VALUES

One concept I have been workshopping with others is the exploration of our core, driving values.  Most of us have a daily routine and life approach that are built upon a set priorities or values, either consciously or unconsciously known to us.  These values create a blueprint around which we design our lives. Conversely, working backwards, our activities, habits and attitudes clue us into our underlying, core values.  

UNCOVERING YOUR DRIVING VALUES

Most of us have a routine and life track record that is built upon a set priorities or values. For example,

  • Do you work out everyday? 
  • Do you pray or meditate? 
  • Is family dinner a must?  
  • Do you call your parents daily?

These activities signal value that drive us each day, week, year and, eventually, add up to our lifetime. 

Becoming aware of these priorities helps us sit in integrity daily, gives us a guidepost when decisions arise and act as a foundation by which to connect us with others.

From the above example, you can glean that for someone who calls her parents daily, family connection or relationships are an important theme.  Similarly, if someone is regularly drawn to a profession where 18 hour days are the norm, then hard-work or following a passion could be driving themes.  If these traits and choices are consistently repeated, you can say this is a core quality. 

It is through this lens that I have been exploring myself by examining things like: how my days are structured, my career choices and life goals.  In this, I have identified some core themes that define me. Perhaps they define you, too. 

TRY THIS EXERCISE:

Think through the driving themes of your life. Jot down core ideas have motivated you in work. What about your personal life? What words come to mind when you think of your motivation underpinning your goals in all areas. Note those.  Reflecting on job changes, life upheavals, moves and hard times, what did you hold onto like a life preserver?  What are the priorities that drive you most days to feel that you are satisfied, complete and your best self?  

Write all the qualities that come to mind.  

Then, start crossing off ones that don’t consistently apply to you.  You’ll know them because they aren’t in your life regularly.

Once you get to your shorter list, answer the following question: 

From your list, eliminate all but 3. Those 3 words you keep should describe your driving force everyday, your ethos and are the explainer for why you make the choices you do. These are the themes that emerge, exist and satisfy you every day. Choose words that are consistent with YOUR perception of how you live your life – not how others would describe you or how you describe yourself, personality, etc.  We are trying to get at the common denominator of what underpins HOW you live your life.   

MY THREE WORDS:

After doing and reflecting on this exercise for weeks and months, I believe that the three following adjectives best represent who I am, what I strive for and what I want to be about:

AUTHENTIC- words, actions and choices are connected with higher, spiritual Self and flow through to my human self

BALANCED – frequent experiences with the many aspects that nurture and feed me 

EXCELLENCE – describing the level at which I want to live, work and play

I recently shared these words in some interviews and conversations I was having on media platforms and the response to this was so validating. “That’s me, too,” and “that really resonates with me,” were some of the comments I received.  

In my work as a journalist and in the business world, I often reflect on those who I admired, befriended and mentored.  Now I can see that many of them exemplified authentic, balanced excellence or at least two of the three qualities.  Looking at my closest friends, strongest work relationships and family members, I believe these themes unify us. 

I also believe these are necessary ingredients for the next chapter in leadership. I am excited to write more about this and explore authentic, balanced excellence and take you along with me as I do.

Do these ideas resonate with you? How so? Share you thoughts with me below.

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