Have you ever done one of those values exercises where you are given a deck of cards with meaningful attributes printed on them and then through a series of quick exercises you whittle down your stack to 5 or 6 cards that represent your core values? I had the privilege of doing this at a leadership training and I found it easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. I knew myself, knew what made me tick, felt confident in what I brought to the table so narrowing this down to a set of 6 cards was no problem. That was 7 years ago and I have had the 6 cards pinned on the bulletin board above my desk ever since. Family, Integrity, Relationship, Growth, Winning and Fun represented exactly who I was and who I wanted to be. When I selected them, I felt I could ride these cards out and live up to them for the long haul. Taking a look at them now, they still feel right, I just haven’t felt right. My cards have been shuffled and two of them have slipped into the back of the deck: Winning and Fun.
What happened? A rough couple of years: my only brother being diagnosed with and then dying of cancer; my own health and aging issues including going through that thing that happens to women of a certain age that no one warns you about, adrenal and thyroid problems that have turned my lazy boy recliner into my best friend and my memory to mush; an increasingly competitive and high pressure work culture; and reaching the point in my Christian faith where I was taking in more about what I thought a Christian should act like (shoulding on myself) than I was of my Father’s love. This combination had not only taken much of the spring out of my step but had allowed self-doubt, who had always been a lurker and uninvited guest, to gain a prominent seat at the inner-monologue table.
What does it feel like when your doubting self joins the party? Well it isn’t Fun that’s for sure. All of your ideas suddenly seem stupid and not worthy of sharing and you don’t put yourself out there for people to get to know your Fun side. Getting the Win or recognizing and accepting when you do Win gets harder and harder, too. Choosing safe and predictable over bold and transformational doesn’t align with your track record but is the safest way to avoid a shame spiral. Anything that does go well is overshadowed by all of the things that could have gone better.
The good/great news is, I figured out I was in trouble a few months back and have (thank God — literally) been on the mend ever since. Here are some ideas of how I will weave my 6 top values into future posts:
Family – blessed to have my own and come from a great one. I often share with friends that I was raised by kittens, all fluffy and sweet without much fight in them. Spoiler alert: I almost waited too long to get serious about finding the right guy. Watch for upcoming posts on internet dating, in-vitro fertilization and going where no kitten has gone before.
Integrity – because you have to live life on the up and up. Do the right thing. I have found that when my spidey senses tingle, it means I know better. Watch for future posts on some of my key life lessons and stories about character.
Relationship– both with people and with God. This isn’t just about being in relationships it is also about consciously relating. Seeing, hearing, responding. I like to serve God and serve people. My posts will reflect that. (see how I am making a commitment and not hoping or trying?)
Growth – to continue to grow is to continue to live and you either get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’. Maybe by sharing some of my teachable moments I can save you money on buying books, going to seminars or hiring a life coach.
Winning – I’m an admitted achievement junky but I caveat this with the fact that I am also a fan of the group win and make an intentional, pro-active effort to congratulate and celebrate others when they win. If I want others to be happy for me when something good happens, I have to genuinely put that out there first, right? I’ll be posting about getting them, celebrating them and marinating in them.
Fun – Laughing is my favorite. I plan to weave fun into all of it. It’s time to bring out the Fun side and have more side-splitting and almost pee your pants moments. Speaking of which, have you played Cards Against Humanity yet? So wrong but so right.