A few days ago I used a couple of tools I mentioned in my post about finding Your Values to determine what my values have been for the last three to four years.
Since then I’ve been spending some time thinking about my life and what changes I would like to make, and how my values would play a role in those changes.
Values play a huge role in our lives.
When we choose to value something in our lives, or when we raise its importance in relation to other values, it affects everything in our lives.
Values affect our goals, they affect our energy, they affect who and what we attract into our lives and ultimately they affect the kind of results we produce in our lives.
My Former List of Values
Getting clear on what my values have been in the last four years, revealed this hierarchy of values:
Spirituality (Intuition, Inspiration, Spiritual Connection)
Peace (Tranquility, Stillness, Presence)
Wisdom (Awareness, Understanding, Intuition)
Health (Fitness, Diet, Environment)
Abundance (Freedom, Financial Independence, Legacy)
Joy (Passion, Competition, Lightheartedness)
Love (Connection, Authenticity, Oneness)
This made total sense to me because if I looked at my life in the last four years, I could see that I have accomplished so much in the top values (spirituality, peace, wisdom) and definitely less in the bottom set of values (health, abundance, joy and love).
What makes sense about these values is that they also represent the biggest voids I had in life prior to four years ago.
I felt spiritually disconnected in my life. Peace / Stillness / Tranquility were not a big part of my life at the time.
I also didn’t feel connected to my true source of wisdom. I had a lot of knowledge in my mind from the thousands of books I’ve read over the last 15 years, but there were a lot of conflicting ideas. By tapping into my inner wisdom, my intuition, I was able to connect with the truth that was best for me.
Four years later I no longer feel a void in those three values of Spirituality, Peace and Wisdom.
So, it is now time for me to re-shuffle my values and work on my next set of voids.
Voids Create Values
One of the main things to understand about values it that they are driven by what we perceive to be “voids” in our life. A void is simply something that is missing.
For example, Spirituality has been at the top of my values list in the last four years because I felt a void there. That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t at all spiritually connected, or that I was less spiritually connected than someone else.
Voids have nothing to do with someone else. What it meant is that I perceived my spiritual connection to not be where I wanted it to be according to my own standards.
I knew a lot about spirituality, but I wasn’t being spiritual. My career path at the time especially didn’t align with my spiritual beliefs. What I do now as a Blogger, and Internet Marketer aligns with my spiritual beliefs way more than what I used to do.
So, the tricky thing with identifying your values is that it’s not so much about identifying what you think is important in life in general, but rather where you are perceiving a void in your life right now.
Anywhere we have a void in our lives, it simply means we haven’t valued that part of our life enough recently to expand energy and effort into improving it.
By changing the hierarchy of our values, we can completely change our lives.
My New Hierarchy of Values
Making the conscious choice to change your values is not easy. It is natural to identify with our current values. However, we must understand that we are not our values. We are much more than our values.
The easy thing to do is to just keep clinging onto the current set of values we have in our lives, and resist change. However, that will just create a bigger and bigger void in our lives in the areas we don’t value.
So, one of the first things I asked myself is “What is the most important value that I feel I need to focus on right now?”
Health vs Financial Abundance
Health and Financial Abundance were the first two that popped into my mind.
I then tried to think about which of these two is more important to me right now in my life.
Health seemed like the more obvious and logical choice, but I had to really think about it realistically. One thing I have learned over the years is that stress and worry can literally kill you. What good is eating healthy and exercising regularly, if your finances are in such a mess that you’re constantly stressed out and worried about how you’re going to pay rent the next month?
On the other hand, if I put abundance and financial independence above health on my hierarchy list, then I will always put making money ahead of my health. If for example I had a project to work on which was going to make me money, but it would mean I would have to miss one of my workouts, I would most likely choose working on the project.
This wasn’t an easy choice for me. I have never had health as one of my top values. It has always been somewhere near the bottom or middle of my list. This is mostly because I’ve been pretty healthy most of my life and I’ve never felt a void of “health”. However, now I’m getting into my mid 30′s and I know that if don’t start taking care of my body right now, it’s just a matter of time before my body starts to show symptoms of some sort of disease.
I struggled with this decision. Remember, I wasn’t trying to decide whether or not I wanted to value Health. I was trying to decide if I wanted to value Health above everything else on my values list.
Ultimately, I came up with a simple set of questions I could ask myself to compare values. I asked myself which of these two scenarios I would feel more comfortable with:
If the amount of financial abundance I feel in my life decreased by 10%, but the amount of health I feel in my life increased by 90%, or;
If the amount of health I feel in my life decreased by 10%, but the amount of abundance I feel in my life increased by 90%.
Of course, since I have both of those values at the top of my list, chances are that both of them will increase but I was talking about worst case scenarios. Which of these two choices would I be more happy / fulfilled with?
I realized that if the amount of financial abundance I feel in my life decreased a bit, but my health improved a lot I would be happier than the other way around.
I can’t afford for my health to get worst by 10%, but I can afford for my financial abundance levels to go down by 10%. Of course I don’t want either of them to happen, but I’d rather take a financial hit than a hit to my health.
So, after some deliberation and really getting clear on what is important to ME, I have decided to put Health as my #1 value.
I know this may seem like a trivial decision, but I assure you it’s not. This is going to completely change who I am in the next five years.
Fun vs Love
With Health now occupying the first spot, and Financial Abundance in the second spot on my values hierarchy, the next two values I had to struggle with were Fun and Love.
Both are something that I want to create more of in my life. But which one would make more sense for me to put first?
At first I was thinking about putting Love ahead of Fun. It would kind of make sense. My definition of Love as a value is the feeling of oneness, authenticity and connection with others.
Judging purely from a “should” point of view, I really “should” put Love ahead of fun. But that would be injecting someone else’s (like society’s) values onto my life.
I decided to explore further. Why should I put love ahead of fun as something I focus on?
I define Fun as the feelings of passion, adventure and competition.
I asked myself “Where do I feel a greater void? Lack of love in my life, or lack of fun in my life?”
Immediately the first thing that popped into my mind was “Fun.”
But then I struggled with this a bit because Fun is also a value that I have never really had near the top of my list. What would my life be like if I put it up top, even above love!?
Well, in short, my life would be more FUN!
Once again I used my questioning method to ask myself which of these two scenarios would I prefer:
If the amount of love I feel in my life decreased by 10%, but the amount of fun I feel in my life increased by 90%, or;
If the amount of fun I feel in my life decreased by 10%, but the amount of love I feel in my life increased by 90%.
Again, I came up with the same thing. I am not scared to have 10% less love in my life if it means 90% more fun. On the other hand, I haven’t really had a lot of fun in the last four years of my life, so lowering that by 10% seemed like a big no-no, even if it meant 90% more love.
What’s interesting here is that I realized very quickly that moving Fun ahead of Love scared me. How would that play out in my life?
Then I asked myself “What are you afraid of?“, and I realized that one of the things that kept popping into my head was that people were going to judge me.
Most of the people in my life don’t have a very high value for Fun (or Health for that matter 🙂 ), but I do know that a lot of them value Love.
Even if it’s not at the top of their list, they definitely value Love higher than Fun!
This is the process we must go through though when deciding on our values. We must take a stand and choose what’s important to US, and not what the other people in our lives say we should value.
Because of this, even though I know it’s not going to be a popular choice amongst the people in my life, I decided to put Fun high up on my values list – even above Love. I’m really curious how this is going to shape my life.
Whenever you change your values in life, it is going to cause waves across your entire life.
Chances are, the people who you have attracted into your life right now align with your current set of values. Four years ago, when Spirituality wasn’t one of my highest values I didn’t hang around a lot of people who had Spirituality at the top of their list of values. Since then I have made many friends in the Spiritual field who also value Spirituality very highly.
Whenever you change your values, you also change the types of people who you attract into your life and who you hang out with.
This is especially true for non-immediate family members. When it comes to your spouse or immediately family, we usually still maintain a connection with them even if our values don’t align exactly, but usually with acquaintances or business type relationships we tend to be attracted to people with similar values.
When we sit down to go through our values it can be tempting to take other people’s opinions into the equation when trying to decide on our values.
For example, when I was trying to decide whether I should value “Fun” higher than “Love” one of the first things that popped into my head was “What will my wife think of this?”
In the same token I could also say the same thing about Health being higher than Financial Abundance.
I mean, if I look at the survey I did which you guys filled out a few weeks ago, the voting showed that you guys as my audience were mostly interested in learning about Personal Development and Making Money Online. By making Health my #1 value, I know some of you are not going to be happy with that because it means I’m going to be writing health and fitness articles and not just money related ones. With Fun high up my list as well, I’ll probably be blogging a lot more about fun stuff as well.
Here’s my advice for working on your values.
Do NOT create your values hierarchy based on what you think is going to make OTHERS happy. These are not their values, they are yours.
You have to trust that your Higher Self / Intuition will guide you in the right direction. Right now, mine is telling me to focus on Health first, Financial Abundance second, Fun third and Love fourth.
I have to trust that having them in that order will bring more fulfillment into my life, as opposed to just doing what those around me think I should be doing.
Don’t let the drag of social pressure and your current social circles keep you stuck within a set of values that isn’t serving your highest good anymore.
When you change your values, those around you will either adapt and also be inspired to change their values to be more similar to yours, or you will attract other people into your life whose values are more aligned with yours.
The Complete List
I have given you guys a few examples of how I was able to compare between different values on my list to figure out my Top 4 values. I also went through and compared them to each other in different combinations just to make sure I had the hierarchy in the right order.
Once I got the Top 4 finished I moved onto the next set of values and my final list looks like this:
Health (Diet, Fitness, Environment)
Financial Abundance (Financial Independence, Contribution, Freedom)
Fun (Passion, Adventure, Competition)
Love (Connection, Authenticity, Oneness)
Wisdom (Awareness, Understanding, Intuition)
Spirituality (Spiritual Connection, Intuition, Inspiration)
Peace (Tranquility, Presence, Stillness)
I highly recommend going through the process of first getting clear on your current set of values, and then going through and deciding if your current hierarchy of values is serving your highest needs.