Lots of people go through it...the proverbial mid-life crisis.
Like a football team sitting in the locker room at half time, evaluating the first half and readying themselves for the second half of the game, a number of people, especially men, find themselves in their late 30s and 40s looking back at what was and looking ahead at what will be.
My friend Mark has a passion for helping people be who they are meant to be, especially men in the middle part of their lives. Mark is a coach withDare2Live Coaching, LLC (www.dare2livecoaching.com). He has a great perspective and a presence as a coach. I'm pleased that he agreed to share his latest blog post with me for you. You can reach him firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark offers some great insights into an important topic, aligning your life with your core values.
Have you ever listened to a guitar that is not in tune? You might not notice one that is only a little off. However, even a tone-deaf person can tell when a guitar is really bad. Still, the instrument remains a guitar; it’s just not performing at its best. The fix is a simple one—retune to the correct notes. Musicians know this and tune their guitars regularly to achieve the sound for which they were designed.
Sometimes life can feel like an out-of-tune guitar. You’re playing notes but they just don’t sound right. The chords seem correct, but it doesn’t sound like it is supposed to. When that happens, there’s a good chance your life is out of tune with your core values. You’re no longer playing your authentic notes—the ‘who you were created to be’ notes—and there’s dissonance.
Like notes on a guitar, these values are calling out for expression, for attention, for space in your life. They are more than just personality traits, or skills, or things you do. They represent who you are and what you are about—characteristics, causes, relationships, passions, dreams. They encompass your whole being. This is the unique person God designed you to be. And when you play these notes, you experience your authentic sound.
To be sure, it is simpler to tune a guitar. But the tuning process has application in life as well. Here are some suggestions to help you tune your ‘life’s guitar’ to perform at its best.
Discover your authentic notes. Write down your core values—be specific and concise. The process of choosing the words that best describe you brings real clarity. The more clear you are, the better you will be able to tune to that value. Writing them down also helps you remember and gives you a reference point to stay in tune.
Find the note that is out of tune. Awareness is the key at this step. This should be pretty easy—it’s the value that feels most out of tune. As W. Timothy Gallwey says “Awareness itself is curative.” These notes will be the values that have not been authentically expressed or are demanding more space in your life. This is where you will begin to retune.
Retune to your values. Now you can begin the work of tuning. If there is more than one note that needs tuning, start first with the one you can do most quickly. This will help you gain momentum for the more difficult notes. Depending on how far you’ve drifted out of tune, it may take some time to fully retune. Change can be hard but there is power in the process (see my article on change.) Remember why it matters—you are at your best when you play your authentic sound—as it will help you maintain the momentum to see it through.
Just like tuning a guitar, this isn’t a ‘one-and-done’ exercise. The process should be revisited regularly to prevent going out of tune or whenever you sense a retune is in order. Learn to recognize when you’re not in tune with your core values and use them to recalibrate back to your unique self. Life is much more enjoyable and fulfilling when you are playing the sounds you were created to play.