Over the weekend, I held my first Flourishing for Midlife Seekers workshop. In the workshop, we uncover the hidden forces that drive our actions in life: we name the storylines that define who we are and the values that help us make decisions. We later articulate an inspired purpose that helps us figure out what we're here on this earth to do.
Before we started working with the workshop participants' values, I shared my own. I noted how important I think polarities are in values. Polarities are interlocking sets of opposites. The easiest way to describe this is by thinking about how much you value breathing in. But I would also bet that you equally value breathing out. Indeed, if you try breathing in at the expense of breathing out, all sorts of bad things happen.
The same thing happens with values. If we live any value to the extreme, we're likely to overlook another interdependent value that's just as important to us. By bringing that polarity into consciousness, we can better cultivate what brings us joy and successfully manage what gives us angst.
The way we arrive at these values is by naming a value that we know we have. Then, I ask, "What's at stake if you live that value to the extreme?" For example, one of my values is Individuality. To me, the interlocking positive opposite is Unity. If we spend too much time focused on the individual, we can forget the importance of the individual living in community with others. Conversely, if we put too much value on Unity, we can forget to celebrate the uniqueness of each Individual. As I shared my values, I noted that I hadn't named the polarities for some. For years, I was ok with that. On Friday night, I decided I needed to take my own medicine.
One of my values that stood alone was Vibrancy. As I recharged in a restorative yoga class Friday evening and felt the depth of the stretch, I wondered what I might be missing by not naming the polarity. For me, Vibrancy is about my positive energy...showing up with contagious electricity. My focus on it helps me maintain my health, recharge my body and have a positive impact on people. But what, I wondered, would be Vibrancy's polarity for me? Suddenly it came to me...Depth. Depth of the full experience of life. Depth of all of the positive and negative moments. If I only focus on vibrancy, do I give myself permission to be deeply saddened by the loss of a loved one? Do I appreciate it when my body is telling me to rest? Might I seem like the wrong person to talk with when a friend's life is tanking?
So Saturday morning I made an adjustment to the Personal Mission Map that is the framework for all of my work and life. I added two new values (the other is Presence to balance my value of Impact). I'm excited to learn how adding these polarities impacts my life.
What are your values? Have you taken the time to name them? If you have, consider the polarities to those values. How would naming those polarities help you have more balance so you can enjoy the richness of life?
Want More on Values?
If you're curious about your values, consider signing up for a Flourishing Workshop. Participants leave with a clear understanding of their values and how to use them to craft a more fulfilled life. Workshops not your thing? Consider one-on-one coaching. Knowing your values can help you lead a team, find a new job or build your personal brand. I have coaching packages that will help you define who you are, what you stand for and how you want to show up in the world. Send an e-mail to me to learn more. Are you more of a DIY'er? Our Etsy Shop has a downloadable Uncover Your Values e-book that will get you started on the right path.