Last year my business coach Dallas Travers held a retreat in which a group of us did a values exercise. Out of all the other training I did last year, this one intervention had the single biggest impact on me and my work. I’m betting that this powerful values exercise will also be a game changer for you, as it leads to better decision-making for musicians. Let’s . . .
Clarify your values
Your values are the life principles that matter most to you. This exercise will help you identify your top four.
This matters because in order to be satisfied in life and in work, our values need to be acted upon. In other words, we need to walk the talk.
Determining your core values can help you assess whether or not you’re on track and can reveal whatever isn’t aligned so you can make the needed changes by making better decisions.
Your values change over time and now, when so many musicians have had to re-examine their lifestyles and work, clarifying values has become even more important. You may even find that simply identifying your core values is enough to make a positive shift in your life toward better decision-making.
Your Core Values: what matters most
Look through the list below and choose the 4 values that best express your top priorities in life. Choose the ones that resonate with you most.
If you don’t see quite the right words for you below, don’t worry. The list is designed as a prompt, so feel free to add your own values. But limit your choices to 4. It’s the narrowing your list down that reveals your priorities, so although it may be tough to choose, go with your gut and choose four.
What the words mean
Once you’ve identified your four core values, take a piece of unlined paper held horizontally, and fold the paper to get 4 columns. Yep, we’re getting all “arts and crafty.”
Across the top of the page, write your values in, one for each of your four columns. Below each value, write a few lines about what that value specifically means to you.
Your powerful values exercise results — in action
Now take a moment to look at your current life through the lens of your core values. Take one value at a time and assess how it aligns with your habits and behavior.
Consider how each value fits your habits in the areas of relationships, work, leisure, and body/mind. Notice where there is conflict or tension between how you’ve been living and your true intensions.
For instance, in the past (as in this last weekend), I’ve often sacrificed my well-being in the area of body/mind, for work. So two of my core values, well-being and accomplishment, have been in conflict. Taking the time to get re-aligned with all four of my values is helping me create my healthier and more balanced future.
The good news is that by honoring ALL your core values you can make the decisions that support and enhance your relationships, work, leisure, and body/mind.
Put your core values to work
Think how living with your values would look like in your life. How it might change your practical behavior and habits.
On your chart, in each column write down 3 practical actions you can take to bring that value to life on a daily or weekly basis. Think of concrete behaviors you can take to truly live into that value. For example, some of mine include going to bed by 10 and journaling daily. Be specific and practical.
What this looks like: Tap into the Power
For example, if one of your core values is courage, an action might be to do the one most important and scary thing on your daily to-do list that will move you forward in your career (send the scary email or make the phone call you’ve been avoiding).
But whatever your values are, I guarantee there are specific daily or weekly actions you can take that will help you live into the life you desire. Find the actions that are both realistic and stretch you. That way, at the end of each day, you’ll be able to feel good about yourself — knowing that you are living into your values.
The secret to better decision-making for musicians
When you know your core values, making decisions — both big and small — is easier. Keeping your values at the forefront of your mind offers you a custom filter through which you can more objectively consider your options.
Whenever you’re confronted with a decision, especially one that leaves you with conflicting feelings or pressures, ask yourself this: “How can I make this decision in a way that honors each of my values?”
I find that writing out my response (journaling about the decision and going through each core value one by one) is liberating. When there isn’t a clear “right” decision, your best bet is to be honest with yourself and choose the road that will best honor your values.
Clarifying my own values through this exercise helped me find and claim my center. And that felt good, but it also got me to confront where I was NOT living into my values. The piece about seeing HOW to put my values into action—and then doing it—THAT’s been the game-changer for me.
If you’d like help putting your values into action in this new year, with expert feedback and accountability, stay tuned for news coming your way!
Can’t wait? Reach me HERE.
Let’s get this going,
Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well