A few years ago, we installed a trampoline for my daughter in the back yard. One of the things we also invested in was heavy duty anchors. Because when you live in Nebraska, that means you have to prepare for tornadoes or windstorms. We didn't want to be that family who didn't secure down their trampoline and have it end up on neighbor's roof after a strong wind gust. I'm sure you've seen pictures on social media of mangled trampolines flung far away from its backyard. In times crisis, the chaos can feel like a wind storm that is blowing us every which direction.
Disrupted routines. Cancellations. Job changes. The surge of disappointing moments make to easy to get overwhelmed and sap our energy. First, it’s okay to have what I affectionately call a pity party. I’ve had plenty of them during the COVID-19 shutdown. We are all in the collective experience of losing something, and it’s okay to feel the grief that comes with that. I find that if I ignore it, I'll store it (only to come up later as resentment), so take the time you need to slow down and take care of yourself while you feel the pain of letting go of what you’ve lost.
When you are ready to take your next steps forward, you might wonder what the “right” next step is, especially when the future still holds much uncertainty. It feels like everything around us is just falling away. And, since you may no longer be commuting to a job, or you’ve lost your job or contracts or family events, you may wonder, who am I without these things?
Like a trampoline that easily blows away with the wind, we, too, must anchor down when life sends its storms so we aren’t tossed around. In my experience, the one thing that’s kept me anchored down so I can rise up is to reconnect with my values. For me, values serve as a confidence anchor. They keep me resilient and standing firm as my true self and not conforming to what’s easy or quick to make myself feel better in the moment.
When we don't know what we stand for, we will fall for anything. ~Alexander Hamilton
Core values are the foundation to stand upon to rise confidently. When we know and honor our values, then we know what we stand for. Our values serve as a compass or a filter for which we can make decisions that align with our desires. Maybe you've never thought about what your values are, and that’s okay. You might have a set of words that come to you, but maybe you’ve never thought about them in practice. The first assignment that I give my clients is to find their the values that create their confidence anchors to inform aligned decision-making.
Two Ways to Reconnect with Your Values
Notice what you admire in others.
Who is someone you admire, whether they’re living today or passed on, and why do you admire them? What actions or behaviors make you admire them? After writing down a few notes, pull out four to five qualities that you truly admire in this person. The qualities that we tend to notice in other people tend to also be the same things we desire to cultivate in ourselves.
Write about what you want to create.
Research shows that journaling just for 10 minutes about your values or describing what you want to create, even in the midst of crisis, not only improves our mood, it improves our performance. It improves our biometrics ratings and helps keep us motivated and resilient even when times when times get tough.
Do you feel like your career creates extra chaos right now? Maybe you’ve lost your job or you’re facing going back to an office that you realize was not a fit for you. Perhaps this time at home helped you discover that you need more purpose and intentionality in your work. In my personal experience, and in working with my clients, you might default to solving your career dissatisfaction by looking for certain job titles, employers or a salary. I encourage you to consider your values first. They keep you grounded so you can choose the right next career that is in alignment with the type of work you want to create in your life.
I write my values on my bulletin board that sits next to my desk. Keeping them front and center is key when I find myself feeling frustrated, demotivated or staring into the uncertain abyss of my future. Those five words – love, respect, family, creativity and learning - serve as a reminder that the only thing I need to do is take the smallest, bravest step that's in alignment with my values.
My client best articulates the true confidence that comes with anchoring to your values:
I took my values and my strengths, wrote them down in big, bold type and carried them around to every interview I went to never once apologizing for who I truly am. By doing that I was able to find a new leadership role with a company, leader and culture in a new industry that aligns to every single one of my strengths and values. ~Shandra
Join me as I dive deeper into these topics every Tuesday, live at 11:30am CT in my Rise Confidently Facebook group.
You can also join my inner circle and get five of my favorite tools to advance with clarity and confidence.