God comes to you and says,
“It’s your lucky day. I need a vacation. I’ve chosen you to fill in
for me today to run the world. You’ve got 30 seconds to decide what
four things to bring with you.” What will you bring?
Can you reschedule your
plans until next week? I’ve got a big charity event coming up
this weekend and they can’t do it without me.
My family, my photo album,
my cell phone, and a hot dish for God’s freezer so She doesn’t
have to cook the night she gets back.
My cat, my jewelry, a
bottle of wine and chocolate truffles.
My enthusiasm, my love, my
creativity, and my health. If God needs a vacation,
I’ll need the best of me.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
When my nephew Michael was in third grade, he and I began planning how
he would introduce me when I visited his classroom the next day. To get
him started, I asked him what he thought I did as a professional
With the wisdom of a nine year old, he replied, “You talk to people
about what’s important and help them get a life!”
I laughed and then felt myself beaming at his simple answer, which had
been so challenging for me to identify for myself. I acknowledged his
insight and then asked, “Michael, what’s most important to you?”
He paused a minute and said, “My family, my house, my dad’s job, and
laughing with my friends Nick and Arthur at school.”
I was surprised by his inclusion of “his” house and his dad’s job until
I remembered that his father was making a transition from full-time
employee to entrepreneurial architect. In addition, my sister and her
husband talked with their two boys at weekly family meetings about their
family values and what was most important in life.
Love, security, laughter, learning. Core needs. Whether it’s a
nine-year-old boy, a 39-year-old CEO, or a 59-year-old nurse, we all
have core needs that reflect the values we hold most dear. These needs
and values shape how we experience life. Yet, many of us never explore
or talk about these needs and values until a crisis hits, which only
adds to the pain we’re already feeling. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Take the time now to identify and prioritize the values that are most
important to you. Share them with the people you love. Rather than
making choices by default, make them consciously and life will become
easier, more meaningful, and more enjoyable. As you discover, talk about
and act from your values, you unleash your enthusiasm, freeing yourself
to create even more fulfilling experiences that match your values.
Without the knowledge of what is truly important to you, life is one
unconscious choice after another. This approach is unlikely to get you
what you truly want and need.
What’s the most important
thing we can think about in this extraordinary moment?
~ Buckminster Fuller
Here is a list of 20 common core
values to help you get started. Read through the list, noting what jumps
out at you, then follow the directions at the end of list.
Exploring the world; taking risks; embracing the unknown
__ ART & BEAUTY
Appreciating fine arts, culture; surrounding yourself with beauty;
making art, music
Being the best in some area; mastering a craft or skill
Using your imagination and resourcefulness to create solutions and
Being independent; doing things on your own; having freedom to behave as
Noticing what is good about life; blessing all past, present, and future
experiences; saying thank you
Staying well; taking care of your human system – body, emotions, mind,
Accumulating knowledge and understanding of that which interests you
Connecting with family, friends, community
Acting as a steward for the planet; protecting natural resources;
respecting the earth
Being happy and having fun, feeling good; being playful; enjoying
Controlling the situation around you; being successful; competing and
Finding meaning in life; seeking to understand life; creating a legacy
for loved ones
Giving and receiving acknowledgment for who people are and what they do
Doing what’s right; following through on commitments
Feeling safe in the world; having your basic needs met
Developing yourself to full capacity; realizing your potential
personally and professionally
Contributing to the welfare of others or the planet; wanting to help
with no thought of monetary gain
Having devotion to your faith; connecting to God or a Higher Power
Earning a great deal of money; being able to buy whatever you want and
do whatever you want
Using your skills and talents to help produce a service or product in
exchange for money; creating “right livelihood"
This list includes the primary values that allow for a well-balanced,
fulfilling life. I encourage you to give yourself all the time you need
to think about these values. List them in order of importance from 1 to
21 (1 = most important, 21 = least important). When you make your
choices, choose what calls to your heart. This is not about what other
people think or what you think you “should” do. It’s about who you are
at your best, what reflects your “True North.”
Prioritize, Review, Reprioritize
I know this is a lot to prioritize. I was overwhelmed the first time I
went through the exercise. However, it’s well worth it. Also, because
priorities change through different passages and phases in life, I
review this list annually to see if I need to reprioritize. I recommend
you do, too. Feel free to come back to the list if you don’t have time
right now. It’s okay.
There’s another technique on the next page that will help you prioritize
quickly. (Time for a 16-second smile!)
To read more, click here...
© 2003-2004 Mary Marcdante
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2003 Mary Marcdante