Do you ever find your mind swirling around a big decision you need to make, or lost in a mental fog where the answer you need seems to be persistently unclear? The experience of being human makes me say “yes!”
Being clear on what we want to achieve, do, decide, can be a huge relief. And it’s true to say that the clearer we are on what’s most important to us, the easier it is to make decisions. No surprise that this is easier said than done. But there are some useful questions (developed by Kate Burton in her chapter on “Tuning into Values”) that aim to clarify our core values. And once we’re clear on those, making decisions and setting priorities becomes more doable.
Next time you want to blast through to crystal clear clarity, see if this process works for you:
Finding our values: Take a blank sheet of paper and try to define your values. We can get at our core values by asking ourselves: What’s most important to you? What do you most need in your life? The answers to these questions should disclose the the things that matter the most.
Defining the big ones: Answering these questions may generate a long list. We can sort through our list to see which things overlap or are similar and put them into groups. Our goal would be to get to a short-list of around six or nine core values.
Clarifying the end values: To be able to use our values as guideposts for goal-setting and decision-making, we need to get even more clear on our short-list of values. To do this we then have to ask ourselves: What do I get from this value? For example:
My teenage neighbor told me that his car was the most important thing in his life. But as he worked through what his car gave him, he realized that his car enabled him to drive high into the mountains. What he really valued was freedom, and his car gave that to him.
This process may not be easy to do alone, but it most certainly can be illuminating. Once we have our list of end values, we can keep them on-hand to use as a filter when we want to set goals, make decisions, and prioritize anything from whether to take a new job to what to order from a menu. Happy decision-making!