"Live your best life."
These four simple words, were made famous by Oprah Winfrey, as a single instruction to follow for happiness and success.
But Simon Sinek say living your best life is about knowing your ‘Why’. Because knowing your why is the purpose, cause or belief that drives every one of us. But why? Surely there’s more to it than that?
For me, living my best live is strongly related to my values and aspirations, and about bringing them to life by taking action.
Living my best life isn’t a goal, it’s a process. (Which makes the process the goal! 😊)
This is all fine as my personal theory but I was very excited recently when I made a friend who thought like I did.
So we got together to come up with a plan to help others learn to live their best life by creating a system for turning values into behaviours and aspiration into action.
Let me introduce Dr Lori Botter
Lori is a member of the She Loves Life Over 50 community. She is an HR and OD expert unlike others - because she doesn’t just talk concepts and theory. Rather she has taken the work she does with organisations and applied it to her own life.
Lori’s come up with a personal strategy to live her best life and like me, it doesn’t include knowing her Why!
Lori has over 25 years experience in helping companies reinvent themselves in their organizational pursuit for excellence. It was only recently that Lori thought it would be meaningful to take that same work and reinvent herself.
She wanted to find a way to attract quality people, to do intrinsically motivating work, and reignite her often neglected self-love.
Lori realized that when you are your best self, you attract the best life can offer.
We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others, living our lives to the expectations of others, that we often wake up and question how we could lose ourselves in something that no longer feels quite right.
In her personal pursuit of excellence (note, not perfection), she discovered who she really was and realized that she was not showing up how she wanted.
In this article, she tells us what she did, how she did it, and why she is now living her best life.
I’ll let Lori explain how this works in her own words
"As part of a life coaching exercise, I recently took some time to self-reflect on the life I was living and questioned what my personal values were and what they meant to me. When given a list of many values, I was asked to pick ten.
I picked my top 10 then I thought about how I was living those values. That is when the light bulb went off. If I do this for my clients, why am I not doing this for myself?
I sat down in a quiet environment and thought about operationalizing my values.
I will share these with you to give you examples of what operationalizing your values can look like on paper. The real work is being your best self by living those values.
I honestly thought I was living my values before this exercise however it was not until I wrote the behaviours I expected of myself that I realized I was not being the best person I could be.
My values were just words. The meaning could change in any given situation.
You don’t really think about the deliberate actions behind the words. Until now. This is the time to TAKE ACTION!
You can start today and take the steps to feel great about the person you are “becoming”, “living”, and “being.
Becoming, living and being
Let’s look at each of these words.
“Becoming” suggests a period of growth and transformation. We all need to invest time in developing and growing.
Part of “being” is to acknowledge your existence is an evolution of body, mind, and spirit. In short, your goal is to decide who you want to “be”.
“Living” is much more. It’s acknowledging that you have a life, and that you get to choose how you exist in that life.
Your best self wants to show up in all that you do; in your “becoming”, “living” and “being”.
We get side-tracked by our ego needs, the expectations of others, or the lack of clarity regarding how we want to show up. This is why operationalizing our values is so important.
This is your version of your best self. How do you want to exist? How will you know when you are living your values? Why are living your values so important to your life?
Why this works
The majority of people want to live their life with purpose. We don’t all start life at the same start line. Some are born into a life of privilege, others are born in situations in which they have to grow up quickly, while others are born as addicts and fighting diseases they should never know exist.
Whatever your start line, you have a choice in determining the race you run.
Through practices of self-reflection, faith, and building resilience you are in control of determining who you truly are, what is important to you, what you want your purpose to be, and then commit to showing up in a manner that allows you to live your values.
Your values are just as important as your DNA. They make you unique, special, and provide you with the tools to realize your personal vision.
I believe our personal vision is important in determining what we want to aspire to, or how do we want to be remembered? Perhaps it is our vision that provides “the why” in our life. This is the reason we exist however it is always something we work towards. It is visionary, it is futuristic and requires us to constantly grow and possibly reinvent ourselves as we get closer to our aspirational self.
Our mission is what we do to make our vision a reality. Our purpose is rooted in the present, taking each moment, making it the best possible, and learning from each experience.
This is how we grow, we experience, we feel, we reflect on what works well, we repeat, otherwise we make changes to create a better experience.
Our values are “the how” as we try to realize our vision
Our values drive behaviour. Our behaviour is what people see, our behaviours impact our interactions, our behaviour reflects our energy and overall well-being.
At a certain point in our life; it is different for each of us, we ask ourselves, “Am I really being true to myself?”
It is usually this question that precipitates a change in work, in a relationship, in our lifestyle.
Each of us desires to be our best self to be comfortable in our own skin, to realize a level of self-care, self-appreciation, and self-love.
Without showing up as our authentic self, we can easily lose ourselves in the vision of others. As a result, we often feel incomplete, lack motivation, and struggle to feel vibrant.
When we reflect on who we really are, how we want to show up and commit to living our best life, we must start with our personal values.
When we live our values we are demonstrating our authentic self in our words, actions, behaviours.
The result of living your values each day includes:
Raising your vibration; you smile more, attract more people, feel more relaxed
You show up as a quality woman, you are a role model demonstrating grace and confidence
You discover what is important to you and why it is important
Now you can start setting personal boundaries and work on the limitations that hold you back from greatness. We all have that potential, to be great. Greatness is totally subjective and is based on our values.
Try this for yourself
Now it’s time for you to define your own values and decide what behaviours support each value.
To help you we’ve included a worksheet you can download here.
Instructions to operationalize your values
The exercise of operationalizing your values takes some time. Don’t rush the experience, this is who you are, you want to give yourself time to give it your all, so all of you is captured in the behaviours that are specific to you.
Start by choosing 10 values from a list of values.
You can easily research lists of personal values. A simple phrase typed into an Internet browser, for example, “examples of personal values” will create hundreds of values for you to ponder.
If you have a vision board, start there. Look for the themes or words that are included in your vision board. What is important to you? Write the words down.
Whatever method you use to get to your values, don’t exceed 10 values. Conversely, don’t worry if you have less than 10 values.
There is no perfect equation, no right or wrong answers. These are words that are important to you, they evoke a positive feeling, or give your life meaning. Ten seems to be the number we can remember without too much effort.
Ask yourself what are the key behaviours that would prove you are living the value you noted on the top of your page.
List up to five actions or high level behaviours that are important to you in demonstrating this value.
Detail and list the specific behaviours that would prove you are living those high level behaviours.
The process is similar to flying
Your 10 values are the view you see when you are 30,000 feet in the air. You know where you are and you see a lot of potential but you are not close to your destination.
Your high level behaviours are similar to your start of your descent. You are starting to see things clearly and anticipating getting so close to home.
The detailed specific behaviours underpinning the high level behaviours signify the moment you touch down. You made it! You know exactly what you are going to do when you get off the plane.
Here’s how I turned one of my values into actionable behaviours.
My first value is: RESPECT
High Level Behaviours:
- Live in integrity
- Be Polite
- Demonstrate Positive Body Language
Specific Behaviours that prove I am living the value of RESPECT:
1. Live in Integrity
- I am honest
- My words and actions align
- I follow through
- I am accountable for my words and actions
2. Be Polite
- I allow individuals to open and close doors for me; I reciprocate
- I say please and thank you
- I recognize when someone needs space or privacy
- I am non-judgmental
- I do not interrupt when others are speaking
3. Demonstrate Positive Body Language
- I smile
- I am open, not closed when speaking to others (i.e. I do not cross my arms or roll my eyes)
- I hold good posture
- I maintain eye contact
- I lean in to listen
You can see how specific I am with detailing my behaviours because that’s where the magic is.
What’s the benefit?
When you show up as your authentic self you know how much you can give to a particular person, situation, and to yourself.
You clearly identify your needs with confidence, you forgive easily, even yourself, and you set boundaries or limits with others to prevent feelings of being used, undervalued, or forced to compromise what you once considered a “deal breaker”.
When we know who we are and when we are truly authentic, we set boundaries to protect our values. They are our “must haves” to engage in a situation.
Have you ever compromised your values? How have you felt?
Operationalizing your values, putting behaviours to those values, creates a sense of empowerment and worth, which is powerful, motivating, and liberating all at the same time.
It sometimes means that we must release what no longer serves us. When we live our values we focus on our must haves, we realize that we have grown out of our comfort zone. We leverage that strength to discover where the magic truly happens.
Dr Lori Botter
When you commit to demonstrating the behaviours that prove you are living your values, you enhance your personal mission and brand."
You can easily choose a mentor, select a job in which you can excel, prepare for an interview, and you can choose your life partner, someone who appreciates you for being your authentic self everyday.
What’s the outcome from the benefit?
The benefit of living your values gives you time to enjoy each moment to the fullest.
- You feel good about how you are showing up.
- You accept that it is enough for you and you are being authentic, true to who you are and what you want.
- You don’t spend time worrying about your “Why”, you are living life with purpose, that purpose has been defined by you.
- When you have chosen behaviours that come from a place of good intention, you will act in a way that is moral, ethical, and legal.
Have fun, be yourself, love yourself, laugh at yourself with joy and confidence.
There are days in life where you will be tested. Your resolve will be shaken to the core, you will need to stay true to your values to get you through your darkest hour.
When you demonstrate the behaviours you wrote down, you build resilience.
You will be better equipped to respond to situations of difficulty rather than react in a manner that is not aligned with who you are as a person. Our resilience provides opportunity for improvement, growth, and happiness.
Staying on track
Now that you have noted your behaviours, you are probably feeling energized, eager to begin showing everyone who you really are. Be proud, you just completed the first step in living your best life.
Now look at your list of behaviours and think about how you will choose the ones to work on.
For the most part, you will be doing a lot of the things you have written down however, you will find that some of the behaviours are ones you want to do more of - and then there are those you want to start doing.
One option is to create goals to motivate yourself. Choose say three goals for the week, month or quarter. Put targets in place to help you stay focused and on track.
For example, if you want to be more positive, post positive affirmations on your bathroom mirror, in your car, on the fridge, etc. Then set a goal that includes reading 3 positive affirmations per day.
Use a journal or a spreadsheet to keep track. They say new habits are formed within 21 days of starting a new behaviour so you should notice a difference within the month.
Or you can also ask a friend or mentor to be your accountability buddy and send a quick text to say “I met my goal today”.
When you realize that you want to live differently, it is going to take time. Don’t give up. If you don’t show up the way you intended, don’t worry, no one is keeping score, your intent is keeping on track, tomorrow is a new beginning."
Dr Lori has shown us how we can live our best life, and given us instructions to convert our values into actions. (Here’s the worksheet again.)
I agree with Lori that defining the actions that express our values and then living those behaviours is powerful.
We know exactly how we want to show up. Confusion is eliminated.
We know where to put our energy, and equally important, we know what to stop doing.
We can decide the impact we want to make on the world and which actions will make that happen.
Next time you think about how to live your best life, remember to reflect on your values, then turn those values into action.
Living the actions that align with your values will allow you to live your best life.
What values will you turn into action today? Please leave a comment.
Reboot Your Life
Get my proven four-phase online course to take you from stuck, exhausted, unmotivated, and overwhelmed to doing work you love!