Day 15

Know What's Important

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?

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. My cat, my jewelry, a bottle of wine and chocolate truffles.

  4. 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 speaker.

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.

Core Needs

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

Core Values

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

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 express yourself

Being independent; doing things on your own; having freedom to behave as you believe

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, and spirit

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 yourself

Controlling the situation around you; being successful; competing and winning

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...

 Turn Your Funk into Fun with the 21-Day Smile Diet  

© 2003-2004 Mary Marcdante

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