As part of my class on Resilience, we were asked to look at our values. The definition used in class for values is “my chosen life paths in a few key areas”. What are the kinds of behaviors that matter to me the most in guiding my life?How would I describe them?
In order to explore our values we did the “Bull’s Eye Exercise”, a values-clarification exercise designed by a Swedish therapist, Tobias Lundgren. We were asked to look into four important domains of life: work/education, leisure, relationships, and personal growth/health.
I thought I would share my responses (in bold below) to the first two parts of the exercise. If you are so inclined, you could do the same for yourself. I’ve left some of the instructions to help with guidance.
Part 1: Identifying Your Values
As you write your values, consider: What would you value if there were nothing in your way, nothing stopping you? What’s important? What do you care about? And what you would like to work towards? Your value should not be a specific goal, but instead should reflect a way you would like to live your life over time.
- Work/Education: refers to your workplace and career, education and knowledge, and skills development. (This may include volunteering and other forms of unpaid work). How do you want to be towards your clients, customers, colleagues, employees, fellow workers? What personal qualities do you want to bring to your work? What skills do you want to develop?
DW – Continue to be a lifelong learner- to challenge myself mentally and to enhance other parts of my life. In work, be “present” in service to others, helping them gain the right balance between career, relationships and self
- Leisure: refers to how you play, relax, stimulate, or enjoy yourself; your hobbies or other activities for rest, recreation, fun and creativity.
DW – Be open to travel that incorporate my interests in history, family and fitness. Ensure that I set aside time for reading, blogging and taking classes that increase my knowledge, engages me intellectually and betters me.
- Relationships: refers to intimacy, closeness, friendship and bonding in your life. This domain of your life includes relationships with your partner or spouse, children, parents, relatives, friends, co-workers, and other social contacts. What sort of relationships do you want to build? How do you want to be in these relationships? What personal qualities do you want to develop?
DW – Be a person with a positive attitude, who encourages others and recognize their good. Be the kind of person that radiates positive energy.
- Personal Growth/Health: refers to your ongoing development as a human being. This may include organized religion, personal expressions of spirituality, physical health and well-being, developing life skills, engaging in self-care to promote positive mental health.
DW – Be active and fit so that I can continue to run and be able to enjoy physical activities. Strive to be healthier and constantly challenge my physical bounds.
Part 2: Locating How Fully You Are Living Your Values
Make an X in each quarter of the dart board, to represent where you stand today (a total of four Xs) in that domain. Closer to the center means I am living the values more closely.
The idea the class is imparting is that we need our values clearly articulated. The values form the basis on how we react to events in life. Increased knowledge about what are our values guides us. When stressful events occur – which they inevitably do – we lean on our values for making decisions and guiding our actions. Having a “strategy” for dealing with stress helps us be more resilient. Makes a lot of sense to me.
I encourage you to give this exercise a try. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does take a lot of thought.
If you are interested, here are the four parts to the exercise:
- identifying and writing your values in four domains of your life;
- locating how fully you are living your values;
- identify barriers or obstacles that interfere with living consistent with your values; and
- creating a Values Action Plan
And here is a blank bull’s eye: