A month ago, I pondered over how my word of 2017, really fit my life’s theme this last year. When I chose the word, restoration, it was because I wanted to do away with the coined New Year’s phrase, “new year, new you” slogan. I feel that nothing is wrong with the proverbial “old” you, or me, for that matter. My point being that, maybe, we, as a society, just need to refocus our attention toward the restoration of our souls back to their original condition rather than “fixing” everything that God has put in our path to build each person. We have allowed our vision to replace our values.
“I want my life to reflect my love for God, my passion for self awareness, healthy relationships, and my drive to provide myself and my family a safe and loving household.”
After reminiscing on the concept of this last year, I set out to find my new word for 2018. It wasn’t very long until the word, intention, kept popping up. Not just the word, but, more specifically, intentional living. I want to dedicate this year to live and love on purpose. I want to premeditate my choices against my core values. I want my responses to all life situations to be in alignment with my own idea of peace. I want my life to reflect my love for God, my passion for self awareness, healthy relationships, and my drive to provide myself and my family a safe and loving household. I want to choose how my time is spent. I want to only attract well balanced, emotionally healthy people into my safe space. I want to help and pray for those that are not well balanced or emotionally healthy. I want to intentionally be a light for all that I come into contact with. I want to choose my values before my vision.
I have, nearly, 38 years of practice with unintentional living. One thing is certain, ladies, we will find ourselves in the wilderness more often than not on this earth and when we don’t exercise our right to choose the contents and quality of our lives outside of the wilderness, then burnout is inevitable when the hard times come calling. This can make a huge difference in the way we handle our lives in the dark.
A few years back, my salon was invited to participate in a competition between local salons. I had always loved the concept of this particular show, and I was thrilled to, finally, have the opportunity to be involved! Not to mention, my staff was pretty new at the time and we hadn’t done much together outside of working hours.
When originally asked to participate, my intentions for accepting was to bond with my staff and to have an outside source of creativity feeding our work behind the chair. Not to mention, on the night of the competition, we’d be able to get dolled up and enjoy an evening together. The vision I had for my team was to enjoy each other, feed our passion, and have fun!
In pursuit of my vision, I misplaced my values.
From the very beginning, I thought our idea was absolutely incredible. We chose to create a Cleopatra costume made entirely out of hair. When I say the construction of this costume was tedious, I am not kidding. Every single aspect of our model’s costume was made entirely out of hair or products that we use on a regular basis. For example, her necklace was made out of bobby pins and her top was handmade out of plastic fingernail tips. It was brilliant!
Over the course of a couple of months, my vision turned into an obsession. My focus shifted from a fun, team building activity into creating “the best” costume for the competition. I went as far as setting up the headpiece next to my bed. I stayed up late to work on it, nearly, every night. On the weekends, I hardly slept. The bonding opportunity that I initially wanted for my team turned into a one man circus act. I was juggling a new growing business and a competition that I hadn’t nearly enough manpower to participate in. In pursuit of my vision, I misplaced my values.
Had I identified my core values and known what was most important in my life before receiving the invitation to participate, I would have never signed up to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the night and I NEVER regret learning lessons, but, given the opportunity to do it over, I would never put myself in a position to over work myself to the point of burn out for reasons that add absolutely no value to what’s most important in my life. If bonding with my team was so important to me, I could’ve planned a simple girl’s night instead of killing myself over the course of a couple of month’s for a competition against people I hardly know. Too bad I hadn’t heard of intentional living by that point.
The concept of intentional living comes to mind every time I think of that timeframe. It may seem like a “no brainer” to base decisions solely on your core values, but how many times do we actually put that into practice? Intentional living means that you have identified the core values that fuel your most happy life. Once you have your list of core values, you have something to cross check all of your choices with. This is important because you will be able to acknowledge which decisions align with the life that makes you most happy. In that particular situation, had I known that one of my main sources to happiness was simplicity, I would’ve never taken on a project so big for a small staff. Believe me, when they called the following year, I had no hesitation when saying, “Thank you, but no thanks.”
All too often we get bogged down with burn out, feeling stuck on the same hamster wheel, running the same race, day in and day out, accomplishing nothing that’s most important to the progression of our own version of a happy life. Then, we stand there scratching our heads wondering how we’ve “woken up” 10 years later unhappy in a life that feels like it has gone no where. It is easy to blame God for not being present when it seems like our lives are not as blessed as others. But let’s be honest with ourselves, it’s usually because the only person that hasn’t made it a point to show up for 10 years was you. You see, God’s plan will always prevail, but I can almost bet that He doesn’t want you to sit back and let life happen while He does the work for you. He wants you to intentionally choose Him everyday. Just like He wants us to intentionally choose to love and forgive others like He chooses to love and forgive us. He wants us to put our values before the momentary satisfaction of our vision. Everything in life is a choice. The question to ask is, do we want our choices to be intentional or do we want them to be chosen for us? I know my answer to that question. Do you?
In order to begin the process of living intentionally, we must first do an activity together. I encourage you, in your journal, to write down or draw, what your most ideal, happy life looks like….and I mean every single area of your life. My list looks like this:
- Ideal spiritual happiness
- Ideal financial happiness
- Ideal physical happiness
- Ideal mental happiness
- Ideal relationship happiness
- Ideal parenting happiness
- Ideal friendship happiness
- Ideal work happiness
- Ideal community happiness
After this, we will identify our core values. That will be on the agenda for a later post. It will ultimately, be the list in which we crosscheck every single decision with.
We may not, always, see the full picture from where we stand today, but intentionally aligning our actions with our core values will ultimately support our vision for a happy, well balanced life. When we are intentionally living our best life, we are being proactive towards God’s plan for us. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am excited to see what a year of living on purpose can do, not only for me, but for God’s plans for me. This year, I will put my values before my vision!
Sweet child, live free.