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On Lived Values and Perceived Values

Think about the weekend that just passed, and see if you can recall what you did each day. From the time you woke to what you immediately did, to each of the hundreds, if not thousands, of micro-decisions you made. You chose to do certain things and not to do others.

If you want to know what your priority is at any moment, look at what you're doing. My priority is writing this blog post.

But back to you. When you reflect on your weekend, what does that recollection reveal about your values? How did you spend the bulk of your time? Who did you spend it with? What was the environment? What do those two days say about who you are and what's important to you? After all, you could have made different choices. You chose to do what you did, maybe not because you wanted to, but out of obligation (which says something about who you are), or maybe you didn't have to but the obligation was a handy excuse to avoid something else and the avoiding was the priority. What three values emerge from your weekend?

I'm just here to invite you to ponder your lived values.

Who do you think you are?

Are you doing all kinds of mental acrobatics right now regarding who your weekend says you are? How does that sit with you—reflecting on your choices?

Values research, like other endeavors into our motivations and identities, might yield answers and outcomes that are unexpected. You might think that you know what your values are better than anyone would, but as it turns out, the self-report of our values doesn't always map onto our lived values.

If you do values work with clients, patients, students, or team members, I highly recommend you use a validated tool, such as the one by the Values-in-Action (VIA) folks, which is free. Asking someone what their values are and then creating a plan based on those values can result in a plan that isn't appropriate for the person. When we match our plans with our actual values, what results is a flourishing that's not likely when we aren't behaving in accordance with our values.

The resources on the site are unparalleled when it comes to this work, and there are ways to partner with the organization. There are oodles of tools for adults and youth, and you can even do your own research, for free, using their tool.

If there's anything we've learned over the past decade or two of deep investigation into the human mind, it's that who we are and why we do things isn't nearly as clear or easily determined as we thought they were. Using tools that have been validated, and basing your next move on research that has been replicated, is crucial.

What does this all have to do with mindfulness? A lot. Here's some of the research around the benefits of mindfulness as applied to values.

The final classes of the year are in full swing, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness for Financial Advisors both begin again in January.

Have a peaceful week . . .



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