A Values-led Life

Decide what you stand for, and then stand for it all the time!”

                                                       – Clayton Christensen

Put yourself in this position. You’re the starting center on your college basketball team, and the team’s successful season, combined with winning postseason tournament play, has led them to the final game for the national championship. It is to be played the following Sunday. This will be a problem. At age 16 you had made a personal commitment to God that you would not play basketball on Sunday because that is when you observe the Sabbath. To make matters worse, the back-up center is unavailable because he was injured in the semifinals. When you inform the coach his response is, “I don’t know what you believe, but I do know that God will understand.”  Likewise your teammates are incredulous. They don’t understand and simply tell you it’s not a big deal if you play on a Sunday just this one time. What would you do?

Pursuing a values-led life is both challenging and rewarding. The challenge is to be found in the constant and consistent alignment of our actions, decisions, and behaviors with our personal values, moral principles, and ethical beliefs. However, the rewards to be found extend beyond personal satisfaction and well-being, as living a values-led life can positively impact mental health, relationships, and our overall life satisfaction. So how does one begin?

Once you’ve made the decision to live a values-led life, there are four steps you can take to begin the journey:

Define Your Core Values: These are the personal ethics or ideals that guide you when making decisions, building relationships and solving problems. Identify the three or four that guide your life. To provide clarity, take the time to define your core values with a statement. This clarity will serve as a foundation for making decisions and guiding your actions. My four would be:

  • Faith: My faith is my compass
  • Family: My family is my strength
  • Integrity: My word is my honor
  • Service: Service to God and others is my gift

Access Your Current Alignment:  Reflect on your current life and evaluate how aligned it is with your identified values. Consider various aspects such as your relationships, career, hobbies, and daily routines. Take note of areas where you’re already living in alignment and those where adjustments are needed.

Set Specific Goals: Based on your assessment, set specific goals to realign your life with your core values. These goals could be related to personal growth, relationships, career, health, or any other domain. Make sure each goal is directly tied to one or more of your core values.

Create an Action Plan: Break down your value-aligned goals into actionable steps. Identify what you need to do to work towards each goal. Be specific about the actions you’ll take, the resources you’ll need, and the timeline you’ll follow.

Remember that basketball player? His name was Clayton Christensen, an American academic and business consultant who developed the theory of “disruptive innovation”. He didn’t play in that game and his team won anyway. “Looking back he says, I realize that resisting the temptation of ‘in this one extenuating circumstance’ has proven to be one of the most important decisions in my life. Because life is just a never ending stream of extenuating circumstances.”

A values-led life provides us with a roadmap for making choices and pursuing goals that resonate with our deepest beliefs. In turn, this alignment can provide a deep sense of personal meaning, enhance our relationships, and contribute to a fulfilling and rewarding existence. Embracing a values-led life will be an ongoing process, requiring dedication, self-awareness, and a willingness to adapt.. However, by committing to this journey, you can create a more meaningful, fulfilling, and purpose-driven existence. Bon Voyage!

Embrace a Values-led Life
Embrace the Challenge.