Updated: Apr 7
Think back 5 or 10 years ago to who you were as a person and what was important to you at that time. Do you recognize yourself? Chances are, not so much!
We know that our values are a result of our upbringing, our culture and life experiences. We grow and change with each new experience, each person we encounter, and we internalize some of the values of the communities we are a part of.
As we live, change and grow, our values change right alongside us!
I grew up in a communist country and my life was defined by the value of survival. My family and our church needed to stay safe under an oppressive regime that did not tolerate religious faith. We learned what to say, how to act, how to keep ourselves invisible to the powers that be, while at the same time continue to live out our other value--faith. My grandparents smuggled Bibles, my parents held small Bible studies in their apartment, our church sanctuary was literally built underground, so it looked like a regular apartment building with no indication of the existence of the church.
When I came to study in the United States, I had to adapt my values to the environment of a student. Suddenly, survival was about learning a new culture, a new way of thinking, becoming visible in my classes by stating opinions and asking questions. Talk about a change in what survival meant and how I had to live it out in all new ways!
Later on, when I got married, the value of family floated up to the top.
At this point in my life, my number one value is growth. My kids are older now and I have more time to focus on my professional, personal and spiritual growth.
One question that Maryanne and I get a lot around personal value is: How do you live out your number one value? How do you make sure you keep your number one value in the forefront of your life?
The answer is: Through your everyday choices and actions! Use your top value as a filter. Choose how you live your day, what you focus on (or not), what you read, what information you pay attention to, what you ignore, what people you listen to, and what social media you consume. All these choices will allow you to either live your value or leave your value behind.
Another way to live out your value is by taking a closer look at your actions during the day and asking yourself: Is what I think and how I act in line with my value? If you notice a discrepancy, pay attention to that. Where did you fall short? Think about what you can do better next time.
I live out my value of growth as a part of my vision right now: the books I read, the podcasts I listen to, and the wise people I learn from all reflect that value. And if I come across something not in line with growth, I have no regrets passing it by. I challenge myself to grow in big and small ways each day.
Look back at your life and see how your own values have changed. Would you recognize yourself 5 or 10 years ago?
How do you live out your top value right now?
What choices do you make each day that are in line with it?
How do you actions reflect your value? Where are you doing well? Where can you do better?