Kim and I are writing on a prompt a day for the month of December. Feel free to join in anytime!

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Prompt 24: Values. What did you value this year? How did you live from your values?

Earlier this year I had Jess Lively on my podcast. Jess Lively, of course, has her own wonderful podcast where she addresses a whole host of topics like mindfulness, careers, wellness, etc… But one of her main tenants of her podcast (and blog and online class) is this idea of living from your values rather than outcomes.

I’m raising my hand and admitting, yes, I absolutely do things because I want a certain outcome. I want to wear a certain size clothing. I want to receive recognition. I want a certain number of likes.

This is dangerous.

And ultimately unfulfilling.

During that podcast (and for the weeks and months afterwards) I questioned why I was doing certain things. Was it because I valued it? Or was it because I was aiming for an outcome?

When I aim for an outcome (likes, clothes size, accolades), let me tell you what happens: either 1) I don’t receive it, and I’m super sad. Or 2) I get it but it’s a momentary high than dissipates into a cloud of nothingness.

For example, let’s talk about my podcast. I didn’t start it on a whim. I had thought about it. But I did let it go in that I began recording without the perfect set of circumstances. I got drawn in. The conversations were amazing. And I didn’t care at all about the numbers.

I get asked all the time: how many downloads do you have?

I have no idea!

Because that’s an outcome. I can’t control that. I can’t go around to everyone I know (and everyone I don’t know) and force them to subscribe and download my podcast. I can’t make people like it or rate it highly.

Would that be fun to have a quarter million or half a million or a million (!) downloads? Sure! That sure would. But that’s not my driving force.

I value the podcast because I love chatting with interesting people who generously share their stories. That’s the value. The connection with people and the sharing of stories. The process of creating and sharing these stories, that’s the value. Not how many people download it or subscribe or rate it.

This concept resonates so strongly with me that I apply it to everything. This blog. I write because I feel compelled to. That’s the value. The process and the sharing. Not who reads it, who shares it, who likes it.

And in parenting. The value is in giving and receiving love and support and being my best self to them. I can’t control how they react all the time, e.g. tantrums in the makeup aisle at Target. I can value parenting and being a good parent.

I’ve stopped entering into situations with the outcome as the goal. Living my values, to be a good friend, to be a good wife, to be a good daughter, to be a good mother, to share my story truthfully, that’s it. That is the entire purpose.

When I initially started thinking this way, I worried it would make me lazy. Goals! I’m all about setting and reaching goals! Wouldn’t this fly in the face of achievement?! But, in fact, it doesn’t. In fact, it makes me so much richer in experience because I’m not so strung up in an outcome that I center my entire worth as a person on that outcome. Instead, I find living from values totally freeing. I can’t go wrong – or even fail – if I stay true to what really matters.

Author

Sarah is a thiry-something wife to an engineer and mother of three. She loves teaching aerobic and cycling classes, learning to shoot with her DSLR in manual mode, and drinking coffee.

  • Marie

    That particular podcast really resonated with me, too. I have been thinking about it ever since! Such a freeing concept to live by values rather than outcomes.

    • Agreed! I think about it a lot when I’m making decisions/thinking about (or why not) I should do something.