Sometimes my days and weeks are more predictable. This one; not so much. I’ve been trying to get above myself and observe my reaction to this kind of week. Normally, I love routine and predictability. I love to have a check list for the day, and I love nothing better than to have a whole bunch of check marks beside the items on my list at the end of the day. If I had chosen routine and predictability to be the barometer of the success of my week, I would have given myself a failing grade.
I did not, however, use this measure of success. Instead, this week my marker for success was my ability not only to adapt to what was presented to me, but to do it with a welcoming and generous spirit.
The good news was that most of what I was presented with was positive. Having said that, and being perfectly honest, there have been times when just being thrown off my agenda, even for good things, would have left me feeling a bit out of control.
Had this been a normal week, I would have had certain things on my calendar; appointments with clients, yoga classes, meetings, time to write my blog, time to contact potential clients and dance class, to name a few. I also always have some unwritten things. I get up early every day to start the day with some vigorous aerobic exercise – usually either biking or running. I don’t put this on my calendar because I don’t need to. It happens daily.
This week, we have had our son and daughter-in-law, Greg and Cara, visiting. We love spending time with them. We also knew that they were coming to meet the new baby and that they would both be doing some work while they were here so we knew it wasn’t a typical vacation. This simply meant that some of the time I would continue with my regular routine, some of the time we would car share, some of the time we would visit and some of the time we would fly by the seat of our pants.
I also wanted to make some time in the week for our newest family member, Benjamin. Even I, a hard-core control lover, realized that it might be stretching things to think that Benjamin would arrive with a consistent schedule! And sure enough, he did not! I also realized that I needed to be available, not on my schedule, but based on when his mother might need my help.
These two things might have been enough to fill the ‘empty’ spots on my calendar, but I had forgotten about the full moon effect. Teachers know this well and they know to expect the unexpected when a full moon is near. This week brought a super, blue, blood moon, and that should have prepared me to answer my phone to a request for a new, custom, two-day workshop with a very short turn around time, and a new, very welcome, client.
As I’ve been observing myself and choosing my way of being, I’ve realized that everything on my ‘list’ this week, is something that I value. I don’t value everything exactly in the same measure, but each thing I have done, and each person I have been with, I have valued. As I have been running from one thing to the next, not only have I reminded myself that I value these things, but I have also reminded myself that it is not enough that I say I value something. I must treat it as if I value it. How we treat things is what gives them their value.
This is worth slowing down and reading again: How we treat things is what gives them their value.
Many people tell me that their family is their top value. Some rank their friends high on their list. Others rank health or honesty near the top. When clients reveal their values to me, a question I often ask them is, ‘How well are you honouring that value in your life?’ This is a great question as long as we do not confuse it with the question, ‘How much time are you giving that value?’ There is a very big difference between simply giving time to something that we claim to value, and giving it our most respectful treatment.
Baby Benjamin has been my perfect example of how to treat my valuables. When I sit and hold him, even if it is for only a few minutes, every part of me is focused on him. I do not distract myself with my phone, or with running through a to-do list in my mind or with wondering when I’ll be done. Anyone who watches an interaction between me and him would easily recognize the value he has in my life. He is priceless. It has made me start to think about how I can bring this level of value to other people and things in my life that would easily make my ‘List of Values’.
This week, choose one person whom you value. Place your focus on your treatment of them. Take a chance and give them what I call the ‘priceless’ treatment.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘How valuable is this?’
Elizabeth creates and facilitates custom workshops for corporate, public and private groups. She provides leadership coaching for individuals and groups. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to lead with your values.