Wednesday, November 4, 2009

#16 Value for Money

September 10th 2009

Value for Money

Starting a company has taught me a lot about myself and what I value in my life. I have recently starting a Coaching Programme with my team in which values are the foundation. Our lives are run and ruled by what we value and consider important. If what we do on a day to day basis, ie our job, does not reflect our value system then we end up frustrated and unhappy. It sounds really simple, but the reality is often a different story.

Often times we have to juggle our values and decide what is actually important to us at this stage in our life. Friends of mine who make a lot of money, clearly value money and being able to afford a high flying life style. They don’t begrudge the hours they work or the other aspects of their personal lives that they are compromising because money is high on their value list. Other people I know value their family and spending time with their family. Thus they have switched jobs so that they have the flexibility to actually be able to raise their children, rather than the Phillipino nanny. These people tend to be happy and moving forward in their lives. Complaints are few and far between and are often not much more than your average whinge.

Then there are the others, those whose daily lives do NOT reflect their value system. One may believe that they highly value their health, yet they don’t sleep more than 5 hours per night due to stress, they smoke, have no time to work out and their hair is falling out, again due to stress. (Sound familiar?) All the money in the world will not make them happy if health or family come higher on the value scale than money. Another prominent example of this is happiness. Happiness is always on the value list somewhere. Sometimes I think that people haven’t even figured out what makes them happy but they are still searching for it. Yet I know dozens of people who will, day in day out for 10 hours per day, do a job that categorically brings them nothing but misery. The big question is why? Expectations, family or peer pressure, the list can go on.

One of the real driving factors that seem to fuel people living outside of their value systems is fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of failure to be exact. I’ve previously written about comfort zones and how successful people often push the envelope and the boundaries of their comfort zones on a pretty regular basis. The unknown is scary for the precise reason in the fact that it is unknown. We often want to know all the facts before making a decision but one of the facts we won’t be able to know until we do it, is how it will make us feel. If it will make us feel happy and content and fulfilled. If it will make our lives make sense. Another is the fear of failure and I reckon this one holds a lot of us back and has certainly held me back on too many occasions to count. Someone could sit here until they are blue in the face and tell me that ‘failure is just part of the learning process’ and that ‘failures are learning experiences’ and ‘all successful people have failed a number of times along the way.’ It’s not that I don’t believe them. A large number of hugely successful business people have been bankrupt a number of times and no one considers them failures. It’s just that for some of us, the fear of failure is so deep seeded that discontentment is often an easier option.

So the point of this is not to depress anyone, but simply to make one think. What is important to you? I have been thinking for awhile now, long and hard, about exactly that and I have made changes to reflect these things are am planning on making more. It is not an overnight process by any means. But, I am sick of hating Monday mornings and loving Fridays and I can only imagine a lot of people feel the same way. If so many of us are struggling in this economy anyway, shouldn’t we at least be struggling toward something that we will value when the sun does shine again?

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