I mention my five Core Values often, but they’ll probably make more sense if I elaborate a bit. My journey to simplify isn’t just a desire to declutter and have less stuff but rather a goal to live with more intentionality and purpose focused on these values.
Replaying the last 20 years in my head and then writing My Story, I found my actions naturally centered around certain priorities. I’ve even gone as far as to define them as values for both my personal and professional life. Moreover, they shaped the vision that I had for Simply Enough. Values are what matter most to me and will be different for everyone but they determine how I spend the limited resources that I have. Helping me avoid spreading myself too thin.
Other authors, like The Minimalists took a similar approach and I’m following their lead with just 5 that rise to the top. Going to such lengths to write such a list might seem silly but applying the “value” filter quickly validates that I’m spending my time, talent and resources in the right places. It also simplifies my daily decisions, making it easier to say no when needed.
After a lot of thought, prayer and consideration, here they are:
Faith is first, always first. Looking through the lens of what it means to be a Christian pretty much covers the rest of my values. As a family, we attend church weekly either in person or thru live stream. Our week starts with church because worship centers us for whatever life sends our way. Not taking the highs too high or the lows too low but keeping perspective on how blessed we are to live in the First World.
Family – I’m smiling as I type and think about my husband and son. They are sitting next to me on a plane traveling to our next experience. My best guys as I call them. I often joke with my son that he is “my one and only best guy… just don’t tell daddy.” He is an only child with four living grandparents, aunts, uncles and a pile of cousins. Shared experiences and time with them are a priority, end of discussion. Because some of them won’t be here forever…well, none of us will.
Friends – This should probably read relationships or community but to be honest, I like the alliteration of Faith/Family/Friends. Relationships take time which we seem to lack in today’s culture. More and more people are moving away from family for jobs as we did over 20 years ago. So, our “village” means everything to us. But it takes effort and intentionality…and gets more difficult to establish close friendships as we get older. I realized that if I wanted to focus on building more relationships, that I had to give up things that were not a priority. If I’m being honest, not all friendships are created equal. Identifying which relationships align with my values and how they do so, is a delicate balance.
Health – My health was a key driver for living simply. My work hard/play hard lifestyle had pushed exercise to the back-burner. In my corporate days, I burned the candle at both ends and my health suffered. Migraines were frequent and exercise was non-existent. I could have written this article. Now, I go to bed at a consistent time. I’m up early because that works for our family. I exercise 3-4 times per week most often during my son’s swim practice. I’m showing him the importance of taking care of this one body that we were given by setting the example and encouraging him to choose a sport that suits his early-bird nature. 🙂
Last but not least, I’m learning to cook. My close friends will tell you how completely out of character this is for me. I-CAN-NOT-COOK, but Google is my friend and we’ve made some healthy meals together. If I can do it, anyone can. I’m caring for my family’s health by preparing meals we share together as many nights as possible. I know what you’re thinking…who has the time? All of us do! But like anything, how we schedule or over schedule determines our priorities for us. I can’t just say that health is a priority, I have to live it.
Generosity – Giving to others, giving back, being generous….whatever you want to call it, that’s what I hope I’m doing more and more and more of. “Living Simply so that others may Simply Live.” Simply Enough aligns with all my values. It will take work to grow and nurture the vision I have. I expect peaks and valleys but my passion has turned into a job that I love. Our family’s journey to live simply meant that we could easily adjust to the income from a start-up. We want to live a a life with intentionality, purpose and generosity. Growing a business that aligns with my values and giving back our 10% tithe and more whenever we can. Be Generous is also one of my Rules for Happiness and as to be expected, there’s a lot of crossover. Each of those rules falls into one of the Value buckets too.
Have you ever thought about your Core Values or Rules for Happiness? Not sure where to start? Try brainstorming a list on a blank sheet of paper. Don’t overthink it, just write a stream of consciousness and keep adding to list for a set period of time. Step back and look at your list. Do any of the items group naturally together? You’ll probably see your priorities materialize. Maybe instead of making a New Year’s resolution that will fade away by February, you’ll identify what really matters most and live 12 months of the year that way.
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