Living on a foundation of values

I have been enjoying a lot of time alone in the woods lately hiking up mountains, breathing in the cold, crisp air and being in awe of the magical wintery scenery unfolding before me.  These forays into the wilderness have afforded me the opportunity to reflect on 2020 and consider what I want for 2021.  For many of us 2020 was one of the most challenging years of our lives.  We saw or experienced egregious acts of violence, unrest, and suffering.  It was a year plagued by unbelievable hardship.  But 2020 may have also given us a most precious gift, the gift of reminding us of what we most value and how we want to live our lives. 

Earlier this week I was listening to a podcast with sport psychologist Jim Loehr.  In the episode Mr. Loehr was talking about an exercise he does with people where he asks them to think about and write down the words that best describe themselves when they are at their very best and feel most proud.  Surprisingly, what people do not write down are things like making a lot of money, getting a promotion, or acquiring some fancy new material good.  Instead, they mention things like being 100 percent present, being fully engaged with others, being trustworthy, compassionate, and kind.  He then takes the exercise one step further and asks people to identify what they want inscribed on their tombstone.   What he has found is that there is absolute congruency between how people show up when they are at their best and how they would like to be remembered. 

As we move into 2021, I invite you to join me in thinking about who you are when you are at your best and to identify what you want to see inscribed on your tombstone.  Then take it one step further.  How can you put your values into action?  How can you best align yourself with those values?   How might you be able to simplify your life to allow more of your energy to be allocated to what is most important?  Where might you be able to enjoy some quiet time to reconnect with yourself and make this part of your regular routine? 

Just like every year, 2021 will be gone in a flash.  My hope for you is that this year, you enjoy peace, well-being and a life lived in deep connection with your values.  I wish you all the best in 2021.  Take care & stay well.