Forget Coffee, Try Values
15 years ago I moved out of my hometown to the ‘big city’ to start university. Exciting right? I would have said yes at the time.
It began well enough, but by the end of my degree I was holding on by my fingernails. I quickly became exhausted and started cutting corners just to ‘get through’ my remaining years there. I’d do the minimum amount of studying needed to get a passing grade, and I opted out of all ‘optional’ learning opportunities. By the end of my degree I knew that the career path I had chosen (speech pathology) was definitely not for me.
Sometimes I ask myself why I stayed in a degree I wasn’t enjoying or planning to benefit from. I thought I loved learning. What the hell was going on?
A more useful question to ask myself now is: why did I decide to go to university in the first place?
Was it because I had a passion for speech pathology? No. Was I driving toward my dream job? Hah. When I initially enrolled, if someone asked me what my dream job was I would have said, “…something artistic maybe?”. I wouldn’t say I was ‘compelled’ towards anything in particular.
I chose the life path I did because that’s what my friends were doing. I chose it because I was too insecure to even consider doing anything else. I was not in tune with what I cared about. I wasn’t connected with or even aware of any of my values.
So, I sunk 5 years (yes, it took me 5 years) and thousands of my parents’ money (thanks again, mom and dad) into an Arts degree with a major I didn’t even like. By the time I left I was completely burned out on learning. And here’s the kicker: it wasn’t because the professors were working me too hard that I had to drag myself to class every day. It was because I was funnelling my energy into something I didn’t truly care about, and it was bleeding me dry.
Fast forward to now, I’m writing a blog post at 8:30 at night after a full work day and I’m filled with gratitude. I’m filled with energy. I’m filled with purpose.
Why is that? Here are 3 big juicy reasons.
All of my top values were met today. Here they are:
Meaning: Today, I contributed to building a service that the world needs.
Connectedness: I got to have real, genuine conversations with my workmates as we add the metaphorical bricks and mortar to our course offerings.
Acceptance: Finally, and possibly most importantly for me, I made mistakes today and I wasn’t judged or shamed by the people around me. I was held, and those mistakes were celebrated as opportunities for growth.
Values! Who knew?! Not me at the time. I can’t help but wonder – if someone had filled my in on this secret 15 years ago, where would I be now?
No matter. We move forward. And now, I’m aiming for as many days like this as possible.
If you want to learn how to align your life with your values, check out our prerequisite workshop, Know Your Values, to get started.