Time To Make Good On A Dream: Why Good Isn’t Good Enough

We have a problem Houston and every other city, state and country in the world.  News flash, this is not a US problem it is a worldwide problem.

Prejudice (or as my 5th grade report called it Prejudism) abounds and we need to make some drastic changes or we will all peril in an “us against them” fight. The more we divide and decide someone is wrong because of their skin, religion, sexuality or nationality the less humanity there is for everyone.

I was raised to be a good person. My parents regularly exposed us to people different than us by culture and color. We didn’t travel but we had exchange students from around the world living with us for as long as I can remember. One student from India lived with us for years and was considered a part of the family.

My parents also taught us early to be involved and we gave our time to causes they believed in. My father was/is also quite an activist from his youth riding with the Freedom Fighters to leadership in teacher’s unions to now working with men coming out of incarceration and beginning new lives. 

We tease my father all the time that the government must have a thick file on him. My dad spends a lot of time writing to Congressional Leaders, Council Members and even the President about how well or poorly he feels they are representing their constituents. I now believe there should be thick files with all of our names on them!

As I became a parent I too involved my children in causes that I feel are unequal burdens. We spent a lot of time working with homeless shelters, hunger programs and donation sites and I felt good about that.

My children each grew up as strong advocates in causes they felt were unjust and equality was sorely missing. From GLBTQ and women’s rights to marijuana decrimalization they have each been loud and vocal advocates.

I find myself here, in this moment thinking, all that is good, but it is so terribly incomplete. Good just isn’t good enough.

I don’t know if you are feeling the same way or not, but for me it is hard to hear that a black man doesn’t step out of his house without his ID for fear he may have to prove why he is walking in his own neighborhood. It is difficult for me to comprehend why a whole race is being blamed for a pandemic because it came from their region. And there will never be a time or reason that I can understand why someone would be killed for their skin color or sexuality.

As long as there are people deciding that their god, race, color, sexual preference or boarders are any better than another’s there is a whole bunch of work to be done. 

This does not mean to drown yourself in shame because of what color your skin may or may not be. It is not to guilt you into marching or getting on a bullhorn to either state your position or post on social media a square you don’t thoroughly understand.

Guilt and shame do nothing positive and actually prohibit the ability to think clearly on how to move forward. We do not need people acting rashly to assuage their guilt, we need people to stop and think about the world they wish to live in.

There are so many issues in this world today that we need to address in all corners of the globe. I encourage you to take a look around at the world you live in and see it clearly for what it is and how things could be. 

If you think change takes time – think again. In a matter of days we closed down a country and planet! We can do this with swift, thoughtful action and everyone becomes safer.

I encourage you to take some time to dream about the world you wish to live in and then take a step, just one step towards creating that. After that, take another. It can be something that you trumpet from your platform or a quiet letter to your senator or you might just read up on who your local sheriff is. Wherever you choose to make a difference, please start today and keep going. 

We can make a difference by each taking action in our own space in our own way. As Mother Teresa says, “If each of us would only sweep our own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.”

Good just isn’t good enough anymore, we can and must do better.

Thank you #BlackLivesMatter movement for waking us all up to the challenges you have faced for ages and inspiring us all to have a dream that one day we will not judge people by anything but the content of their character.

Excuse me, I’ve got a letter to write!

Dance Lessons

Most of my life I’ve danced to the beat of a different drum. In the beginning I didn’t realize that not everyone heard the same music I did. As I began to get older more people questioned my dance and at times it felt like everyone had an opinion about my dance.

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After a while it became supremely evident that everyone did NOT hear the same music I did. To many it seemed as though I was just recklessly breaking norms. At first I cared, then I just felt bad.

I felt like there was something wrong with me for not dancing like everyone else did. At points in my life I even tried to learn their moves and got good at mimicking the dance I saw others doing.

In those years many thought I was doing great and I got less comments about how my dancing was off but for me it was the most confusing time of my life. I couldn’t put my finger on it but something just wasn’t right, and again I felt bad and like there was something wrong with me.

I was dancing in complete dissonance to the music playing inside my head. I had forced myself to ignore or drown out my own music so I could keep beat to the music everyone else seemingly heard.

Do you know how hard it is to dance to music you can’t hear?

At some point I gave up. I stopped dancing altogether and slowly in moments when I got really quiet, my own music returned. Softly at first and as I began to celebrate it, it became a full out symphony!

I finally allowed myself to be who I am and to dance again to my own music. First I danced behind closed doors to make sure no one could see my flawed dance moves. Then as I found the joy again, I danced in public view.

I began to trust my dance and appreciate it even if others did not. I allowed the music I heard to move me and I enjoyed the dance so much I began to “dance as if no one was watching.”

This doesn’t mean that my dance suddenly began making sense to others. Nor does it mean that others didn’t have something to say about it or could even celebrate it because it looked so different.

What it does mean is that today I am able to be in harmony with my own music. I feel right even if I look wrong to others. And while others may still not understand my dance, they can’t help but see it brings me joy.

One of the most precious freedoms of this human experience is to dance to the music you hear. The music was created for you and no one else has to understand it for you to be able to move to it.

We are all here to live our own journey and the fact mine doesn’t look like yours is not better or worse. I know I can’t hear the music you are dancing to so maybe I won’t understand your dance or maybe you’re dance doesn’t make sense to me.

Please dance anyway. You might even find there are others that will dance with you!

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Dance Company Unión Latina of Medellin, Colombia

 

How To Marie Kondo Your Life

I have good news for you in this sea of crisis! There is a whole lot of power in this pandemic.

  • There is inspiration in the isolation.
  • There is clarity in the crisis.
  • There is opportunity in the unknown.
  • There is volume in the quiet.

I am not trying to be a polyanna here nor am I a fan of toxic positivity. While not ignoring the pain, suffering and disruption we are all experiencing, I am acutely aware there is a gift here that I encourage everyone to take some time to appreciate.

We have all been forced (or strongly advised) to physically separate from the world around us. We have been asked to shelter at home, which many of us consider our personal sanctuaries.

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Think about that for a moment, we have not been asked to go to war, we have been asked to remain in the safety of our homes. We have been asked to gather with our loved ones, families or on our own within the confines of our sanctuaries and put aside anything not deemed essential.

Wow! What an opportunity for those who have a home to go to and are safe and healthy where the worst thing at this moment is staving off boredom.

It’s in these moments that I encourage you to bask in the void of non-essential responsibilities and take a look at what you consider essential at this time. I’m willing to bet that there are less things that fall in this category in this moment then a month ago. The items may be a little different for each person and that is ok, but realize what really is essential.

Here is where I believe the opportunity lies for each of us to design what our “new normal” looks like. This is the clean slate from which we can decide what to add as we move into the next chapter.

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The opportunity here is to take a deep look at what you have deemed essential in your days at this time. Then take stock of your values and priorities based on this list which should be pretty easy in this time of unease.

From this viewpoint as the world begins to reopen, albeit slowly and likely in phases, I encourage you to be intentional about what you add back into your days. This is where you get to architect your life to the extent that is possible.

Everything you filled your days with prior to this time deserves a look.

  • Is this item essential?
  • Can you be absolutely certain it is essential?
  • Is there a different way it can be accomplished within your values?
  • Does it “spark joy”?

As the orders and advisements begin to lift over the course of the next weeks and months, I encourage you to really take a hard look at what you bring back into your days. Take the clean slate you have and really decide what you will spend your time and energy on and make sure each has a reason to be in there.

We are beginning again and this is an opportunity to design what your life looks like going forward. Choose wisely.

The Pony And The Pile

The other night after a long day, I got ready for bed and I could hear the distress cry of a cat outside. I went to my window and as I was closing my shutters, I saw the cat right outside my window, one floor down staring up at me, meowing urgently.

My first thought was one of empathy wondering what the cat was trying to communicate and my second thought was, Oh no, she’s not going to sit there all night meowing and keep me from sleeping is she?

It was at that moment, I needed to remind myself nothing is permanent – the good, the bad, the suffering or the joy. (OK the cat did not cause me suffering – lost some sleep, but let’s not be that dramatic!) Yet we often take the things that are bad or causing us pain and suffering and act as if they will last forever. When joy arrives we miss it because we are trying to find a way to cling to the feeling for fear it will vanish as quickly as it came.

As humans we are wired to look for danger, but are we also wired to cause ourselves pain? Are we the cause of our own suffering? Are we missing out on the experience of joy for fear of it’s impermanence?

I believe that through changing our focus we can experience more joy and peace in our lives, though it takes practice. Now this is not to say everything is rainbows and puppy dogs, I’m not practicing pollyanna optimism here. It is to say that if we look for the pony in the pile of shit two things can happen. One, we get excited that although we are up to our elbows in shit that there may be something beautiful in it so it makes what we’re digging through tolerable. The second thing that happens is that we stop focusing so much on the shit because we are looking for something in it, not just staring at the shit itself.

Again, don’t get me wrong, we cannot ignore that we are in shit up to our elbows, but maybe there is purpose in why we are there? Maybe there is benefit in the shit? And maybe if we stop looking at the pile of shit and start digging we’ll find a pony or something else.  Maybe we know we we’re looking for or maybe not, but if we begin to dig instead of staring at it and experiencing it in a state of overwhelm, we can begin to clear it up and see what is there.

This does not mean that the pile doesn’t smell badly or that it is pleasant, but looking for the lesson, the good thing that might be in there provides us a way to move through it. It provides an incentive to clean it up and not just stare at it and experience it as a whole pile. It allows us to work through it a bit at a time and get a better understanding of what is in it and sort out if there may be learnings in there.

An example from my life comes from my mother. She used to talk about the gift of cancer. As a 4-time patient of various forms of the disease, I do look to her as a bit of an expert there. She would speak to patients and survivor groups about what cancer enabled her to do versus what it took from her. She spoke of the benefit of the disease bringing to the forefront what was important to her, what she learned about herself and her friends and family through her times in treatment. She looked at life differently because she had faced death. She didn’t deny it was hard, she just focused on what good came from it.

The other night on the phone I was talking with a friend who, as a survivor himself, was now watching his mother take on her own journey with cancer. A comment he made struck me, he said, “I’m amazed at how strong she is, I had no idea.”

It was such a beautiful comment and even as I write this it brings tears to my eyes. As a mother myself, I think we often down play our strength or it seems to be taken for granted. For this son to be able to experience his mother in a new and beautiful light is an incredible pony in the terrible shit that is this illness.

So as we move through our days, we know that some will be joyful and some will not and that is the way life is experienced. What we can do is create our focus point so that when the joyful times come we are present to enjoy every bit in that moment and know that although it wont last forever, it will come again.

As you face painful or uncertain times your focus is essential to move through them knowing that these times will not last forever either. I encourage you not to sit in the big pile of pain rather to begin to dig into it a little at a time and ask for help if it’s really tough. If necessary, bring in an entire excavation team so you are supported as you dig through it.

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Having experienced many piles in my own life, I have found that there is always something I learn from the tough times.  As I focus on my learning instead of the pain I find peace returns and I am able to move through the pile better.

As I write this we are facing unprecedented uncertain times. Even though I began this post before the preverbal shit hit the fan, it seemed to be good timing to publish it as I work hard in my own life to remain focused on the lessons and pray for this to pass. I am hearing from my community they are in this shit with me and if we all dig maybe we can fill a whole stable by the time it passes!

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Photo Credit: Markus Korenjak

 

Mindful Time

My desire to grapple with the concept of time started at a very early age. I was a child IMG_9720living with a mother with a terminal illness and I always understood that she would not live the “normal” life expectancy. From the age of seven I understood our tomorrows are not guaranteed and that time is precious.

As a child and teenager, long into my early adulthood, I had trouble being “on time” for anything. As a young child my mother called me the pokey little puppy from the children’s storybook of the same name, but it quickly became an issue and not cute at all as I got older.

As a teen and young adult I struggled with schedules and meeting people at a specific time. It never failed as I was getting ready to meet someone, a friend would call needing to talk, or something would come up that I felt needed immediate attention.

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We now call that being in the moment, or being present – but then…it was called disrespectful.

I do own the fact that not everything truly needed the immediate attention I gave it, but this came only from practice and experience. I have also learned the art of predicting the unplanned and notifying people if it appears I’m going to be late now.

Once I got a handle on working within the constricts of time, I then was a single mother with children. Anyone with children knows this was an utter derailment and all my efforts to keep on schedule went down the drain as I tried to get my children to care about time.

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Children don’t care about schedules or time; they rely on their own rhythm and make their needs known as they arise. I allowed being on time to become so important to me that I missed so many important moments by hurrying them through something because of a schedule.

It’s funny how natural the child’s presence comes and as adults many struggle to become present. It is a natural instinct that we have put aside in order to work within the concept of time.

I know we need some type of order in the world. If everyone ran around being present and “in the moment” there would be chaos and we would certainly have trouble.

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Yet I think about living on the islands and going to a store or a utility office to pay a bill only to find a sign on the door, “out to lunch”. I knew that meant I should come back in 2 hours or so because they would come back when they were done, not within a prescribed 20 minutes or hour. Yes it was sometimes a hassle but not often because who doesn’t appreciate living on “island time?”

The thing is that time is a man made concept. It is a method we use to understand a rhythm of our existence. However this is not always to the benefit of our human experience, sometimes it separates us from the very experience and rhythm of life.

As I prepare to take a trip to the other side of the globe whereby I will cross the date line and a day of my life will vanish into thin air this concept becomes ever more illusive. A day will pass that I will never have lived yet been present the entire time.

If this doesn’t explain that time is not real, I’m not sure what does!

We are pulled each day by appointments, obligations and our schedules. Many often have trouble saying no to a request to spend their time doing something they may or may not want to do but once put in the schedule it is time spent.

Each time I step on a plane, each time I talk to my children on the phone or my family or friends either in person or on the phone, I recognize that time shared is a gift and not a guarantee. To miss being fully present in those moments however normal and routine they may be is to ignore the gift because it is those moments that are the ones I will long for if and when they are no longer available.

So I leave you with these thoughts on time. Time is a gift not a guarantee. It means onlyimages what you allow it to mean, so I encourage you to consider this each moment you
schedule on your calendar. Make sure what is in your calendar is what is in your heart and that you make space to be present during those appointments.

I encourage you to celebrate each moment. And if you forget how to be present, take a child for a walk in the woods and follow their lead, you might just spend a 20 minutes following a critter and it might just turn out to be the most magical and enjoyable 20 minutes you’ve had in a while.

Thank you for spending your time reading this and I hope it helps you be more present with the rest of your time.

Courageous Acts

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Sister: “What are you afraid of?”

Me: “umm, plummeting to my death!”

Sister: “You can do it, just jump, you saw me do it, I’m fine. You’ve got this!”

Encouraging words from my sister standing on the ground looking up two stories to me waiting on a platform to belay down.

I sat there listening and trying to get my courage up to jump. I coached myself, I listened to her coaching and in the end….

I unhooked my harness and traversed the course back to a platform I could walk down from.

My whole career these days is helping people make leaps! I help people do the scary things they are not quite sure they are ready for.

One of the best reasons to have a coach during these times is that – guess what? Sometimes you are not ready and it’s just not the right time.

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Having someone to encourage you and walk with you as you move through your process of collecting your thoughts, building your courage and thinking through your risks is the best gift you can give yourself.  Sometimes no matter how much courage you muster, the big leap is not right at this moment.

This doesn’t mean the big leap may not be right ever, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do other things that are smaller leaps that will prepare you for the big one or any combination of things.  What it does mean is that you get both the encouragement to stretch yourself beyond what you think is possible while still honoring exactly where you are at the moment.

This is a critical piece that doesn’t get talked about so I want to shed some light here.

When you arrive at a point where it is time for change and you begin the process you will come up against some challenges. Some of these you will plow right through and feel great about. Some will stop you in your tracks and make you question yourself, your capabilities, your sanity, etc.

This is how I work through these times because yes, even coaches get to these points and this ropes obstacle course just reminded me about the emotional part of what I do for a living and how I live my life in general.

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Remember what you have accomplished

First and foremost to even get to the point where you are thinking of taking a big leap deserves a celebration. Reflect on what you did to get to this point – it is highly likely you have pushed your comfort zone a bit already. Don’t discount that part – celebrate it!

For me, just to get to the second story platform getting ready (or not) to jump off meant that I had crossed all sorts of unstable rope bridges and taken a bunch of leaps that were pretty scary for me!  Even turning back and not belaying down meant I had to traverse more obstacles and challenges to get to a stable staircase to the ground. I was not choosing to walk away from challenge, simply choosing what challenge I felt capable of in that moment.

Be kind

It’s at these crossroads that we can be terribly tough on ourselves. We can be a big ole bully to ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t help me move forward, it simply makes me feel bad about honoring my feelings and my choice in the moment – that is not ok!

Originally my bully came out and I thought to myself – what kind of a coach are you? You tell people to make the leap all the time! You teach people move through their fears to push their comfort zone and here you are stuck!

I thought – well, if I jump and overcome everything I’m fearing I am a prime example of what I teach! This will be walking my talk and people need to see me doing this and hearing how courageous I am to feel that they too can do anything!

However, I also preach about living life for yourself and not to please others or meet anyone else’s expectations at your expense.

I then asked myself would replay this moment and feel regret. This ended up being a really important question for myself.

With this question moved into a much more gentle place and realized just how courageous it can be to walk away from the thing you are not sure you are ready to do. I thought of this decision as a strength equal to the decision to leap.  For me I saw no regret in not leaping…today. In the future I might come to another opportunity and feel more ready and I will welcome that, but I didn’t feel like I would regret this decision in this moment.

I also felt like if I dishonored myself by doing what I didn’t want to do and got myself hurt I would thoroughly regret not having listened to my “gut” to not jump.

These are important questions and processes to go through as you face new challenges. It is often very hard to determine intuition from indigestion –protecting yourself from harm vs. fear of doing the unknown (first kiss living).

Finding Your Courage 

So if you find yourself at a crossroads I encourage you to work through a process, here are a few questions I think my help:

            Am I doing this for myself or someone else?

            Will I regret doing or not doing this? And Why?

            Is this my intuition telling me don’t do it or am I letting fear or story keep me stuck?

Of course I must say, I also encourage you to have a coach to help you work through your process and help you listen to yourself, honor your stage and develop the skills and capabilities to build up to the leaps you desire.

I still have no regrets for not jumping and I believe I make as much of an impact helping people realize that sometimes it is not time to make a leap as I do helping people leap into incredible lives they have dreamed about.

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Sleeping With A Mosquito

I am reminded of the quote attributed to The Dalai Lama, which says,

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

For my purpose I would like to just focus on the size of something that can make a big impact. Such as trying to sleep with a mosquito buzzing around you.

We have all had one of these nights, where we actually end up boxing our own ears in an attempt to finally have some peace. The mosquito is a very small and insignificant insect on its own. It is only when it comes into contact with you that it has any impact to you at all.

Impact Matters

There are so many things in our lives that get overlooked because of their size or effort but ultimately are of great importance when they make contact.

Take for instance a smile of acknowledgment. The number one sadness I hear from people who are living on the streets is the lack of acknowledgement that they are human.

I have worked with people in various states of poverty for many years and have come across them in a multitude of countries and level of need. A smile, which by itself is simply not much can mean the world to a person who doesn’t feel seen, it is acknowledgement of existence. A smile means little until it is received by someone and then, there is no telling how big of a difference it could make for someone regardless of their situation.

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The Best Way To Upset Your Life Coach

Now I’m going to take this a bit further and more personal.

I work with people who on many occasions have shared with me that they are having trouble in their relationships. (Note – I am NOT a relationship counselor, please don’t ask!) I hear the phrase, “I love him/her, I’m just not in lovewith him/her anymore.” I hear this often enough to address it here because, I’m going to be honest with you, the comment pisses me off!

I feel like we’ve been sold a lot of goods from Hollywood and Disney to give some glamorous picture of love being pure bliss and sexual attraction at every moment. I call BS on that.

Love Is Not A Hole

Love takes work, it takes time and it takes attention. It is not something to be fallen into, a hole is what you fall into, love is actually cultivated.

I recently watched a conversation between Simon Sinek and Tom Bilyeu where Simon asks Tom, “Do you love your wife?”

Of course Tom replies, “yes”

Simon goes on to ask when did he know he loved his wife? What was the moment or day, it wasn’t when you met, which number date?

The Blueprint

You see, one doesn’t fall, one builds love through acts of kindness, compassion and attention. It is the small things of courtship that create love and it is those very small acts that get tossed aside for various reasons at some point along the relationships that suffer the most.

Of course there are the kids, the job, the Grand Pubah club, football on Sundays and girls nights on Fridays. Whatever the schedule is filled with between the familiarity that comes with time and exhaustion that comes with our busy and distracted lives, those small loving gestures disappear. But they’re small, so no big deal right?

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I’m Calling BS!

So when I hear that someone claims to have “fallen out of love” I call BS. You climbed out of love! You stopped giving attention when your partner was talking to you, you stopped making the other person feel they were prime importance in your life, you have stopped committing to cultivating love. Maybe you expect the work is done once the “fall “ has happened – but I’m here to tell you the Hollywood script is getting a rewrite.

I’m no expert in love but I have been in enough relationships to know when the magic is gone it is usually because the attention is gone. Those small details like realizing even though you think you understand what your partner is saying, they are still upset so maybe you should ask more questions. Or maybe your partner is seeming mad because you want to go out without them again which makes them feel they are not important. Contrary to popular belief, no one really likes to nag!

There are a million scenarios I could go through, but hopefully I’ve got you thinking of your own right now.

Love Is A Verb

Whether you are dating, married, in a committed relationship or looking to be, I ask you to not wait for some baby with an arrow to make things happen, commit to being love. Love is an act and it is often found in the small gestures that might be seemingly unimportant but can make a huge impact when received.

What can you do as an act of love to your partner, a friend or even a stranger today to be love?

If we all think a little more about how much that mosquito impacts us, we might realize the size of a gesture has little to do with the impact.

So go, be love today.

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Go Big By Going Home

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We’re at the beginning of a brand new year.

Everything is shiny and new and full of promise.

As we go big into our dreams and goals for the coming year I remind you (and myself) to also be present to home.

Home Is

Home is you, in all your glory. Home is where you are authentically you – no make up, hair messy and in your yoga or sweat pants – in all your glorious self without anything to prove or anyone to please.

Have you spent much time with that you?  Do you understand clearly all your cool features and talents? Are you leaving that you buttoned up in case it doesn’t fit into the world outside home?  Are you afraid that not everyone will find your uniqueness as cool as you do?

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So many goals and resolutions for the new year are focused on “reinventing” oneself or becoming a “new and improved” version of ourselves.

What if we recognized that we are pretty damn good just the way we are already?

What if we did not need to remake ourselves and instead decided to be courageous enough to share our authentic selves?

Authentic You, Authentic Goals

Our goals change focus when we do this. By discovering more of ourselves and being willing to share our unique qualities, we reach for more authentic goals. Instead of goals or standards set by society or some commercial that told us what we need to be “happy” or “better”, how about this year we follow what our unique DNA craves?

I am suggesting we make this year, not about reinventing ourselves, not changing ourselves because there is nothing wrong with us nor do we require a new version of ourselves. This year is about embracing ourselves in our truth, revealing instead of reinventing.

Knowing your heart and following it is not the easiest thing in the world (boy do I know this) however after years of trying not to listen to my heart, I can tell you it is the biggest gift I have given to myself and therefor to others.

Let Your Light Shine

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We are each pretty awesome and to know and feel that brings a whole different energy forward to everything we do. I’m not saying to be arrogant, however to live in a way that is aligned with what our values and hearts desire lights people up in a way that is noticeable, and that is pretty awesome in my book!

By going home to know ourselves fully we can then show up in the world BIG and share the gifts we have because we understand what they are and where they fit in to the world we live in. Let this year be the one we spend time fully understanding our thoughts, beliefs and who we truly are at home and be brave enough to share ourselves.

As we stand before a bright new year, remember, we are enough (actually, we’re pretty awesome) exactly as we are leaving 2018. We may have goals and achievements we desire for the year, but only by staying true to ourselves will those goals be worthy of our time and effort and become valuable gifts to those around us.

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Valuable Time

We arrive in December each year and remark how fast time slips away.IMG_5922.JPG

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

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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

imagesI 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.