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?