A Life-Changing Activity

This past fall, I took a class called "LifeKeys" with my friends Jen and Monica. I originally signed up for the class because part of it helped bridge life plans with Myers Briggs, but what I got out of the class was so much more.

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The 6-week class was divided up into sections, and each evening we discussed a new topic. Oddly enough, the evening that I was least excited about ended up being my favorite (and the most applicable!) of them all.

The evening dedicated to the topic of "Values" put SO much into perspective for me. When I used to think of values, I immediately associated it with a way of living / what is important to you. Things like "honesty" came to mind -- but I never really realized how much influence our values have on our lives.

In preparation for that particular evening, we completed an activity where we chose our top 8 values out of a huge stack of cards. Below are mine, in order of importance.

1. Authenticity - Ongoing desire to honestly express who one is

2. Happiness - Finding satisfaction, joy, or pleasure

3. Achievement - Enjoying a sense of accomplishment or success

4. Learning - Lifelong commitment to growing in understanding

5. Challenge - Attracted to new problems, difficult tasks

6. Personal Development - Wanting to use one's potential and grow to the fullest

7. Self-Respect - Having pride or a sense of personal identity

8. Efficiency - Working to accomplish tasks in comparatively little time

Numbers 3-8 weren't really a surprise for me, as they directly align with my top strengths; however, numbers 1 and 2 shocked me! Looking back at my life, suddenly so many things made so much sense -- why I thrived in certain relationships and situations, while others were a struggle.

Authenticity is important when I choose jobs, friendships, and opportunities. Small talk makes me uncomfortable because it feels fake and superficial -- I prefer a smaller group of close friends than a lot of acquaintances any day. I'm an oversharer, and prefer to be "real" with people verses putting on appearances. I like the grit and raw of real life (both the good and the bad) and feel like that is what ultimately unites us in relationships. I'd also loop "honesty" into this overarching theme of authenticity, as that is important to me as well.

As far as happiness goes, this is one that also surprised me, but it's taken me a couple of unhealthy friendships and ill-fitting jobs to make me realize how important happiness is to me. Early on in my career, I chased opportunities and money instead of happiness and now it feels so good to realize that happiness is so much more important than an admirable line on a resume or an extra grand or two each year. I've also reached a point where I refuse to stay in situations that compromise my health -- no job or situation is worth it if it is stressing your body and your mind.

If you're interested in taking this assessment for yourself, you may purchase the workbook and corresponding book here.

What's a value that important to you?
Are you more private or an oversharer like me?