System Update | Making Sure Your Set of Values Is Up to Date
Iva: And this episode is all about the connection between the struggle we might feel when it comes to making decisions and examining our core values. We are referring to those instances when you feel torn between two sets of options or directions, not fully sure which one to take. Or which one is best.
It can be work related where you know you need to decide but you’re not sure about which path to take. It can be home and family related, where you make decisions but immediately regret them, It could be that you simply put it off for days waiting for some sign or epiphany to strike. It's not that you're indecisive, but rather that you’re lacking clarity to make a choice. Has this ever happened to you Des?
Desiree: Yes. Totally in all aspects I think decisions are… I'm a very indecisive person, that's for sure.
Iva: And obviously, having difficulty making decisions of any sort, but I would say, also in like those hard decisions that can really quickly drain our energy levels, because, you know, we tend to put it off for days. And we just we're just mulling over it but we're not really sure. And, and it just hangs over our heads like a dark cloud don’t you feel? That sometimes it's hanging there, but you really cannot make that choice. And this could very well because we might be unclear about what our values are.
Because once we know what our values are, and the hierarchy that they have in our life, a lot of things become suddenly clear. We make decisions much faster and also the mom guilt, dissolves. So, for example, I want to do a quick exercise with you if I may. And all you need to do is grab a quick piece of paper and a pen. And you can also pause this episode if you're listening, and really want to go along and do it as well.
I am going to name 10 values out to you. And I need you to rate them in order of priority from 1 to 10 one being the top, top, top, okay?
Desiree: Okay. All right,
Iva: And I'm going to call them out in no order of importance. Here they go:
Freedom. Intimacy, Success. Love. Health. Security, Adventure, Power, Passion, Comfort
So quickly write them down and go with your gut. And I'm going to give you a hint: there is no right or wrong answer. So, being honest.
Desiree: But that's really hard. Okay.
Iva: What's the most important, is going to set you free. I promise you, there's no judgment here it's a judgment free zone, in this podcast. So when you're done, don't tell me yet, but when you're done, We'll move on to the second exercise and then I'll explain how they connect.
Right, so now we are going to rate the next cluster of painful emotions, on a scale from one to eight, one being the emotion that you really, really seek to avoid experiencing. So, this is, you know, I'm going to give out eight emotions. And these are all emotions that we will all love to live without. But some, we tend to avoid more than others, and that one, the one that we tend to avoid more is the one that we're going to give it the number one rating.
Desiree: Okay, all right.
Iva: So in no particular order:
Guilt, Loneliness, Frustration, Humiliation, Failure, Anger, Rejection, Depression.
Desiree: Okay. Oh, it got even harder, because I feel I have three immediately. And all of these three I want to avoid
Iva: Yeah you also have to go deep inside you, there's some nuance. There's one out of those three that definitely, definitely hits you harder than the other ones. And, you know, those little nuances are the ones that we're looking for because that's where the you know the real thorn lies.
Desiree: Okay All right, so I got it.
Iva: Do you mind sharing what you had as your number one top priority for the value that we, that we, that we called out.
Desiree: Okay, so I put, again it was a little bit difficult to choose between a few, but I put success as my number one, because for me as well I translate success in all areas of my life. Sort of like the business side but also definitely success for my children, success for our marriage, success for our life, like, yeah, in each area of our life.
Iva: That's the one that is your top for you, and which one is the top painful emotion that you absolutely need to avoid?
Desiree: So I was between the three different ones that I was really at the top, but I think if I really have to choose, I'd would go for failure. Yeah, for yeah failure I think that's just a horrible, horrible, feeling.
Iva: Okay, so I want you to just take a look and see: you are doing everything to have success in all areas of your life, on the one hand. But on the other hand, you are avoiding failure at all costs, at the same time. So, do you see that there are possible conflicts between the emotion and the value that you have listed? Because, you know, if you really analyze it, failure is a big part of success. You have to really have experienced some failure in order to have success because you need to go through trial and error and you really have to sometimes scratch something, and then start all over again or pivot and absolutely say, you know this is not going in the direction that it needs to be. So, it could be that when you take stock of what your top value is and what your top painful emotion to avoid is, on the other hand, you might find yourself that they could be in conflict, directly with one another. And, you know, in your case, it would be good to examine if there are some aspects in which you feel that you might be going a bit into self-sabotage.
Desiree: Yeah that's true, that's true because we did discuss that before I mean, in order for us to be successful, we need to fail, a couple of times that's very true. Because failure will actually propel us into even more successes because we can iron out all the kinks that happen and failure is not necessarily a bad thing. That's actually true. It's funny that, I didn't even think about that, but it's like the first thing that I chose. So, yeah, something I definitely need to think about.
Iva: Another great mindset shift that you can, that you can use to look at this exercise and it is that you can free up your energy levels by understanding that we are not our values. So what do I mean by that? I mean that, yes, when we listen to certain values we resonate more with the song than with others, and for the most part, we tend to have a lot of values that we really want to have and to live up to, within our lives. However, it could also be, that some of these values, were conditioned into our lives by our parents, by our upbringing or loved ones or communities. And we can all definitely redirect and change the priority of our values to reflect what we ultimately want to achieve in life, so it's a bit of reverse engineering, if you will. Because we can always update our inner compass by asking this question: What values do I need to have to achieve my most cherished goals?
And then you work from there. So, sometimes we feel like, well, because my top value happened to be, I don't know, success, then I'm stuck with that one, like there's nothing that I can do, I'm going to have to, you know, die considering success my number one top value in life and that it's fixed forever. And it isn’t. You always have the opportunity to ask yourself, Okay, maybe success was important, and I'm just, just holding on to it.
Desiree: Yeah, it's true, I mean it's, it comes with different phases of our lives, doesn't it? Values I probably had when I was young and single and, you know, traveling the world, having my own adventures were different than when I was all of a sudden in a relationship, and then became a mother. And then, you know, started from having little ones to now, little ones and a business, for example. Values completely shift all the time, and I think you're completely right, we need to be open to it and be open to re evaluating that to move forward and it doesn't always, life doesn't have to be always in a straight line. And I think that's a lot of the misconception out there as well, but that we can really pivot. Like you beautifully said pivot in different directions. Yeah, really, really good, really good.
Iva: It’s a great eye-opener because going through this exercise, I know when I did it, it took me a couple of days, and a lot of soul searching, but I decided to do this exercise because I really, really, you know, there's so many amazing values out there but I really, really wanted to make a point of just having three that I could focus on. And my intention with that was I wanted to make it sort of a triangle, and on each end list one of those three values that mean the most to me right now, at the moment, as you say, under my new current circumstances in life. And then this can change next year, it can change in six months, but for right now, these were the ones that I decided to really, really say, Okay, these are going to be my filter.
And through these three top values, I am going to analyze every single task, activity, decision that I make. And if it ticks all three boxes, then it's green light. If it doesn't, then it's probably not something worth pursuing, for me. And I have to tell you, it really rids me from a lot of guilt, especially that mom guilt that we all have, because now when I make decisions, and I really, really pass them through this prism of okay, these are my top three values is it ticking all three? And is it passing the litmus test? And if it does, then I know that I am going in the right direction. And I don't have to think about it, then I don't have to mull over it and it's not a couple of days of really pondering and back and forth, and writing pros and cons. It's just automatic. And it's a great exercise that has worked wonders for me and I am sharing it with you today and with all the moms and mompreneurs out there, because really it's just important to take stock and say, ‘Okay, have I been operating with an outdated value system from probably a different stage in life? It doesn't even necessarily have to go all the way back to childhood. But as you said, maybe when we were single, when our careers were top priority, other values were associated to that in that stage in our lives but now things start to shift. And we just have a completely different perspective on what is truly important for us at the moment. And again, changing our values it's not going to make us look wishy washy or flip-flopping, or that we are completely confused in life. It's just adapting ourselves to the ever changing circumstances of life because life is dynamic.
Desiree: Yeah, I mean it's it's really, really true even if we think about this present time, right, probably actually health goes a little bit higher on that value list as well and everything we do, whereas before we always should have it on the top, right, but it does kind of like, we do lose focus a little bit yeah so that's true so even when times like today, these values can shift. But it also reminds me of the time when we were at the planning stages for this podcast and we had quite an intense schedule and had to make quite a lot of decisions and we were talking about timelines and all of that. And I remember that you did tell me about this at the beginning, a little bit now, I was like wait, don't tell me everything I think this is going to be a perfect topic for us to explore in more detail. But I found that really fascinating and I still cannot get that conversation out of my mind, to be honest, because you said no, it's something we just made a decision against something because it just didn't fit according to the values that we were after-the reason why we were doing this in the first place. And I'm like, oh yeah that is so true, why would we sacrifice this for that? That was not the point why we started this, and that was really, really an eye-opener for me too and I'm glad we're exploring this.
Iva: I am happy that it resonated with you. I feel very strongly about this. And I go back to this, you know, to this question: when was the last time, we updated our list of core values, you know, generally speaking? Because we update our phones or computers, and we get all this notices from the software manufacturer, saying, “Updates available, updates available” and we are always complying. But when was the last time that we really sat down and said, ‘Okay, so for me for my life moving forward in the present moment, where I am standing right now, what is it that really moves the needle? What is it that I am aiming for, what do I stand for? And am I leading up to it by the decisions that I'm making each and every day? So, it is it is an exercise that is going to yield, amazing, amazing results in the sense of being an eye-opener for doing it and realizing, ‘Oh okay this is where I'm at’ and at the same time, I also want to make the disclaimer that just because you're coming to that realization, it does not mean that for now and ever until the rest of time, you are tied up to whatever comes up because you always have the choice to change.
Desiree: I think it's also a wonderful exercise to do with your partner, to really, you know, see our how aligned our values and I guess by no means they have to be identical, but they have to be aligned when it comes to values while raising our children or how we want to design our own life.
Iva: I love doing this exercises with my husband.
Desiree: I love that. I'm gonna do that straight away with him.
Iva: You do you want to work on a life vission, down the line. And yes for right now, you know, being expats and being a little bit at the mercy of where the job takes us, it's probably not the right time to do that but, but looking into the future and saying like, ‘Okay, when we finally retire and we really decide on our forever home, where is that and what does that look like?’ When you do this exercise it's really wonderful because then, the decisions that you're both making are going to be based on what comes up for you, and then it's going to be much easier or at least it's going to open up a much authentic conversation between you and your spouse. So what is important, what is it that all of this means and what is it for at the end of the day? And if you're able to answer that with points in common, I think it's unbelievably powerful to strengthen that relationship with our partners because we are really enjoying this adventure alongside them. Our kids, yes they are fundamental and they are, you know, my children are my heart, they are my everything, but I am also conscious that very soon they're going to grow up, and then they're going to make their own decisions and you know they're going to do their, their own thing live their own lives, and your partner, your life partner, the one that's going to be there with you, that is the person that you have to most consistently be taking the pulse with of, you know, how are we doing, you know, where are your values at the moment, are they still the same, have they shifted, have mine shifted? And just taking that periodic poll, is also a great idea, so I love this suggestion that you brought up because it's true to do it in tandem with our spouses can yield, amazing, amazing conversations.
Desiree: Absolutely and we always need to be looking in the same direction, rght, so when it, when it comes to yeah to living our life. So thank you so much for sharing this with us today, I think I'm really going to I to look at the entire list one more time and I think also take some more time to really reflect on it. And that's for sure an exercise I want to do together with my husband, maybe over this weekend to really see and I can't wait for the conversations that will strike up through that as well so thank you so much for sharing this with us,
Iva: You know, part of this, I took from Tony Robbins book, Awaken the Giant Within, it's an amazing book, it’s chock full of so much, groundbreaking, eye-opening information. But really this part about the values and these avoidance emotions for me, it was a great exercise. So, you know, this was the source of inspiration for doing this little exercise, and we're going to put all the info on the show notes about this book so you can always reference back to it and give it a read. In the meantime, wishing that you all keep your momergy up and we'll see you next time.
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Quick exercise on Top Values vs. Avoidance Emotions as taken from the book Awaken the Giant Within (pages 45-57)
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