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Issue 99

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In this issue ~~

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The Value of Values

As the year comes to an end and a new one begins, it's natural for our thoughts to turn to, What do I want in the coming year? In making these choices, we want to come from a place of clarity. But as we move through these chaotic times, we may feel we're being swirled around in a storm of confusion. We get all kinds of conflicting information from TV, newspapers, the Internet and our friends. How can we possibly evaluate our next steps from a clear place?

natureBefore we do anything, we need to find a quiet place, both outside and within ourselves. Get away from the media and other people, even for a short time. Go into meditation or take a walk in the park. It's only by quieting the multitude of inner and outer voices that we can open ourselves to receiving clear guidance, wherever we may believe it comes from.

We also need some kind of compass for making the best choices and decisions. One of the best I know of is our values. Our values are a set of principles and standards by which we live. They determine what's truly important to us in our lives and provide a set of criteria by which we can make the best life choices.

You may feel you already know your values, and that may be true. But in times of stress, it's not uncommon to forget our values and react from fear. To prepare, take the time to write down your values. Clarify that each of these is a true value for you, not something you feel you *should* value or that the people around you value.

Put your list aside for a few hours or days, and come back to it with a fresh eye. You may find that a value that you thought was yours was one that you adopted decades ago, but no longer rings true for you. If so, take it off your list, or reframe it in a way that feels good to you.

Keep working on your list until it feels authentic. It may be a work-in-progress that you revisit annually. Review your list often to keep it fresh in your memory. You may want to include it as part of your morning and evening rituals.

When the time comes to make a decision, pull out your list. See how your options weigh against your values, and then make the appropriate choice. Making value-based choices may not always be easy, but they will be the ones that serve you best in the long run. As you make choices that are aligned with your highest principles and standards, your life will become a greater reflection of your highest values.

So, take some time to go inside and reflect. Work with your values to set new goals and visions for the coming year. Use your list of values as a compass to keep you on track, and then set about making this coming year the best ever.

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Action Challenge

Do an inventory of your values. Make a list. Check it twice. (Santa made me say that!) Put your list aside. Come back to it and look at each value. When you think about this value, how does it make you feel? Is it a good feeling? If not, look at where this value comes from. Is it one that belonged to your family or a peer group? Does it still work for you? If so, keep it. If not, cross it off the list. Continue going through each value, until your list feels authentic for you. Then, refer to it regularly.

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Wise Words

"People can't live with change if there's not a changeless core inside them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value."

~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

"Life's up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want."

~ Marsha Sinetar, To Build the Life You Want, Create the Work You Love: The Spiritual Dimension of Entrepreneuring

"Nothing is given to man on earth struggle is built into the nature of life, and conflict is possible the hero is the man who lets no obstacle prevent him from pursuing the values he has chosen."

~ Andrew Bernstein

"Authentic values are those by which a life can be lived, which can form a people that produces great deeds and thoughts."

~ Allan Bloom

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Bookshelf

(click on the book to see a description at Amazon.com)

Values Clarification . . . Dr. Sidney B. Simon, Leland W Howe, Howard Kirschenbaum

What Matters Most: The Power of Living Your Values . . . Hyrum W. Smith

What Are Your Goals: Powerful Questions to Discover What You Want Out of Life . . . Gary Ryan Blair

A Question of Values: Six Ways We Make the Personal Choices That Shape Our Lives . . . Hunter Lewis

Character Is Destiny: The Value of Personal Ethics in Everyday Life . . . Russell Gough

Understanding Human Values . . . Milton Rokeach

Balancing Individual and Organizational Values: Walking the Tightrope to Success . . . Ken Hultman

Managing by Values: How to Put Your Values into Action for Extraordinary Results . . . Ken Blanchard and Michael O'Connor

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© 2008 Sharon Good. All rights reserved.

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