Values-based Decision Making

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Once I heard a woman speak about an exercise she does with her clients. She teaches a marriage class, and the first thing she does is take them into a room with three signs. One one end of the room is a sign that says “yes.” One the other end, a sign saying “no.” In the middle is a sign saying “I don’t know.” She asks the couple a series of yes or no questions, and it’s their job to ignore what their spouse thinks and walk to whatever sign best represents their own opinion.

Without fail, the results of this exercise creates somewhat of a rude awakening because these couples are forced to see for the first time that for years they’ve been hearing “Yes dear”  and not the truth about how their partner really felt. It serves as the beginning of an honest discussion about where their values really lie.

During the past year, we’d been feeling the earth begin to rumble, like it was time for a shift. We decided we’d get back to basics and have a good discussion about what’s most important to us in an effort to ensure that the decisions we make moving forward align with what we value as a family. Here’s what we came up with:

Having the courage to fail
Forgiveness
Acceptance/being nonjudgmental
Being Inquisitive
Exploration
Adventurous
Compassion
Congruence
Unconditional love
Listening
Appreciation for difference
Imagination – dream big
Working toward goals, skills
Accomplishment
Teamwork
Cooperation
Fun
Play
Health, wellness (physical/mental)
Faith (in God, in each other, in our kids)
An orderly environment
Quality (as opposed to cheap stuff)

This looks like a long, complicated list, but it boils down to a few main themes:

Having the courage to be congruent

Having faith

Having fun

Always learning

Showing kindness and love

Working together

Now that we’ve taken steps toward making our life what we want it to be, even though things aren’t perfect, we’re living MUCH closer to our true values, and that’s created more harmony within our family. Sure there are struggles, but working from a place where our values are our foundation means that we are more likely to find whatever success we may be looking for.

How about you? Do you feel like you’re living a life based on what you value most? If not, what would have to change in order to make that happen?

What’s New?

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I feel like these many months since I last wrote have been some of the most life-altering months of my life. Before I settle in to writing regular posts here, I thought I’d put together a quick list of what’s happened in the last year:

1) I launched a kickstarter campaign and funded the beginnings of a new business venture.

2) I started said business

3) I had another baby (girl – that makes 3 total if anyone’s counting)

4) My oldest daughter started kindergarten

5) The baby I had when I started this blog is now 2 years old!

5) My husband quit his job to follow his dream to write AND help me with my business. He’s now a regular contributor to the Good Men Project.

Basically this last year has been the year of “going for it.” In fact, Oct. 11 was the anniversary of my Kickstarter launch.

It’s pretty surreal to think back to what my life looked like a year ago, and what it looks like now. We are by no means THERE yet in terms of really seeing our dreams realized, but we’ve taken some giant steps in that direction. Sure it’s scary, but we have great support and we’re not afraid to fail, which is always a possibility.

What I can say is that being neck deep in carving our own path no matter how frightening and unpredictable, is much better than sitting around thinking about it.

I’m not advocating such drastic measures for everyone, unless that’s really what you feel you must do. But we can all take a step in the direction we want to go. It’s ok to start small, as long as you start.

What about you? What difference has a year made for you?