Advertising
Advertising

Want to Know What Your Personal Values Are? Ask Your Bank.

Want to Know What Your Personal Values Are? Ask Your Bank.
    Photo credit: qas (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

    Before I begin, I need to give full credit of this post to Rob Lawrence, a great friend of mine and the co-author of a book we wrote together called Get Noticed. Rob is also a creativity coach who has inspired me on numerous occasions with his advice. One particular instance was when he was telling me about measuring values.

    I can’t quite remember how it came up, but Rob and I were having a conversation about how personal values can change over short periods of time and how you can measure them. Rob suggested to me that my personal values are largely defined by two things; how I spend my money, and how I spend my time.

    Advertising

    It’s a simple concept, but when you think about it we all have two main commodities which we can spend as we choose; time and money. Therefore, how we decide to allocate those two commodities should indicate which things we value more than others.

    In June 2011 I decided to open up my bank statement to see where I was spending my money. I was shocked to see that I was spending almost a fifth of my income on rent (something I don’t feel I valued highly) and also how little I was spending on eating out (something I thought I valued much more).

    Advertising

    My Values

      Four months down the line I revisited this task and was shocked by how much my spending has changed in such a small amount of time. A lot of things have changed over the past four months, but my rent now represents nearer to 10% of my income, which is good, but my car is now costing me 22% of my income, which is not something I’m too pleased about.

      Advertising

      It’s important to note when doing this, that it’s more to do with what each category represents rather than the category itself. For example, despite 22% of my income being spent on driving, that doesn’t mean I love driving, it means that I value seeing new places and getting to work on time. The 19.3% that I spend eating out is more to do with spending time with colleagues, friends, and my girlfriend, than it is about a love for eating in restaurants.

      How you spend your day is who you are

      Last month I realised that I’m as much a writer as I am a social media guy. When people asked me “what do you do?” my immediate reaction is to say “I work in social media at a digital marketing agency”, but in reality I probably spend more time writing books and blog posts than I do working at the agency, therefore, it’s probably fair to say that I’m predominantly a writer.

      Advertising

      Analyzing how you spend your time can be a very insightful activity to do from various angles, but looking from the perspective of “what are my values” can show you how much value you place on different friends, family, work, side projects, sleeping, keeping fit and other things that you spend your days doing.

      How knowing your values can improve your lifestyle

      All of this information is great, but unless you do something with it it’s worthless.

      I recommend analyzing how your money and time is spent for one month, and then writing down five things you want to decrease your spend on, and five things you’d like to increase your spend on. Then several months down the line revisit this exercise and see how you’re getting on.

      More by this author

      Want to Know What Your Personal Values Are? Ask Your Bank.

      Trending in Lifestyle

      1 The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want 2 Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) 3 5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life 4 How Many Hours of Sleep Do I Need? (What the Science Says) 5 How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

        Advertising

        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

        Advertising

        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

        Advertising

        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

        Advertising

        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

        Read Next