How to Create a Life That Reflects Your Values




Feeling stretched


What has the COVID pandemic revealed about how you’re showing up in your life?


Many working moms have felt stretched to their limits in the last several months. As mom CEO’s, we occupy multiple roles in our daily lives. We try to give our 100% to every single one of them. While this can feel necessary in the moment, it isn’t sustainable in the long-term.


For many of us who have worked both inside and outside of the home, the pandemic has only intensified how stressed and stretched we feel. On top of that, it seems that men and women continue to experience the dynamic between their working lives and personal lives differently. The pandemic has only intensified how stark the inequities between working mom and dads are.


A new study revealed imbalances that were intensified by the COVID pandemic:


  • Women carry a greater load of childcare responsibilities in the home than men

  • Women were more likely than men to reduce their work hours

  • Women were more likely than men to exit the workforce

  • Women were more likely than men to experience psychological distress


It’s not that the pandemic created new problems as much as it dramatically magnified problems that were already there. Women are disproportionately impacted by major life stressors at home and in the workplace.



Sorting it out


If you took some time to list your various roles, what would your list look like? Mine would include:


  • Spouse

  • Mother

  • Christian

  • Coach

  • Psychiatrist

  • Writer

  • Daughter

  • Friend

  • Colleague


When I try to give all of my attention to all of these all of the time, I feel frustrated, depleted, and ineffective. I have realized that I need to be intentional about how I engage in the different areas of my life.


Paying Attention


So, what do we do about it? Much of the change needs to be systemic. Our society has been slow to accept the changing nature of how women live various roles. Support and advocacy inequities persist.


However, individually, we can examine how we live our lives, looking for opportunities to make shifts that will allow for a greater life satisfaction and sustainability.


Roles are labels for the things we do, they don’t define who we are. Knowing who you are helps you decide how to show up for the things that you do.


Understanding who you are is all about getting clear on your identity. Your self-identity is grounded in your personal values. Your values represent your deeply held beliefs. While your self-identity may be grounded in your values, your daily behaviors might not reflect these values.


For example, a value might be staying healthy. But you may find yourself so busy that you are only able to squeeze in 6 hours of sleep each night and often feel tired. You might know what’s important, but your behaviors and values are mismatched. You are out of alignment with your identity.


Roles are labels for the things we do, they don’t define who we are. Knowing who you are helps you decide how to show up for the things that you do.

Living in Alignment


Whether or not you are feeling off because COVID has stretched you beyond your limits, or you realize that your identity and values were out of alignment before the pandemic began, there are some steps you can take right now to start changing your behaviors:


  1. Start by naming your core values.

  2. Examine how your daily behaviors determine the roles you play and get curious about how these align with your values.

  3. Explore how you can reorganize your roles based on how well they line up with your values

  4. Ask yourself what changes you can make to get in better alignment.


I’ll give you an example. Health and family are two of my core values. Over a period of time, I found myself going to bed later and later, waking up tired each day. I wasn’t putting a limit on how late I worked. I was also trying to make sure that I spent enough time with my kids and left time at the end of the evening to spend with my husband.


While all of these activities felt important, when I took a closer look, they didn’t all line up with my values. In other words, nowhere on my list was prioritizing computer work over family time or health. So, I set a computer shut off time each day. I physically close my computer and put it in my office. This simple boundary allows me to focus on those things that align with my values (health and family). I get to spend quality time with my family and get to bed at a time that allows me to get a full night’s rest.


If I’m being honest, this doesn’t always work so perfectly, because life is life. But the awareness and attention to it has been life changing.


I encourage you to take some time to dig in to how your values and behavior line up. You don’t have to do this alone. Knowing how important this is, I coach women on how to live in greater alignment with their values.


Feel free to reach out to me if you want to explore deeper in 1:1 coaching.

 

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