We arrive in December each year and remark how fast time slips away.
I hear often, “it felt like only yesterday we were celebrating New Years Eve!”
So as you reflect over the year that has passed and plan for the year ahead, I’d like you to add something to this exercise. I encourage you to take this opportunity to consider what I call value-based living.
This is a missing component to many people’s reflections I’ve found. I believe it is an essential step to making the most of your time.
What is Value-Based Living?
Value-based living is exactly as it states, living your life by your values. Many of us believe we do this, however upon deeper reflection there is often room for improvement.
I remember growing up hearing the saying that dust bunnies were ok if you had happy children.
The point is that so many of us spend a huge amount of time at work or chasing something that when all is said and done, is not part of our value system. If you spend all day chasing your kids out of the house so you can clean it and keep it clean and your family is where your values lie….
Can Values-Based Living & Reality Co-Exist?
But E, you say, money is not where my values lie, but I’ve got to make money to live!
I do know this, and yes, you can have a values-based life and make money. The key is to know your values both individually and as a family if you are part of one. In this situation it is more about how much money you “need” to live your values.
The reason this is key is that it gives you a touchstone.
A Fishing Story
There is a story I love that talks about this perfectly. A fisherman with a small boat went out every day to fish. He would come in from a few hours on the ocean and sell his fish at the local market and go home with some money.
A businessman met him one day and asked him why he didn’t have more fish? The fisherman replied, I have a small boat and this is what I can bring in.
Well, the businessman said, feeling very smug, “Why not get a bigger boat then you can catch more fish and make more money?”
The fisherman thought for a moment and replied, but then I would have to stay out longer and I wouldn’t get to bring my children to school and spend the day with my wife.
The businessman went on to explain the merits of a business plan to catch more fish, make more money, and in the future expand his business and then hire others to do the work and make lots of money.
The fisherman contemplated the plan and said, so when I expand my business and hire other people then I can be home to walk my children to school and spend the day with my wife?
Smiling, he walked away to go home to be with his family with the money he had earned in his pocket.
THIS is values-based living.
I find so many people get caught up chasing things that are not important to them at the expense of things that really are.
It’s no one’s fault, each day we are bombarded, pinged and flashed with things we’re being told are important to us. After a while it is hard to remember that we know in our heart what deserves our time and attention.
I have been through this myself, which is why I can talk about it and how I actually developed this philosophy of values-based living.
I found that the closer I live to my values, the happier I become. I have incorporated this into my work with others and regularly ask them to really think deeply about their values when they are considering a change in their life.
Making Your Time Count
I haven’t found the cure to slowing down time. What I have discovered is that when you consciously match how you spend your hours, days and months to what is truly important to you, your time feels expanded.
I encourage you today to sit down and really think about what you value. Once you have your list as long or as short as it is, I ask you to consider the year that just passed. Did you spend your days in concert or conflict with your values?
Where you find your gaps is where change will bring the most fulfillment and happiness.