Happy July 4th!
Picnics, BBQs, bike rides, walks, fireworks - I'm seeing them all on my Facebook profile. Viewing it from Mexico City, I confess, it makes me a little homesick. I'm grateful to have grown up in a country and home that nurtured my independent spirit. Ironically, that's why I'm not in my country right now on Independence Day!
I am so grateful to be now living a dream that I had in my 30s of settling in another country for awhile, perfecting my Spanish and navigating a different culture. I do wish I could have included my kids in this adventure, and that I had achieved a head start on trading our growing mound of possessions for life experiences and flexibility.
I also wish I could have convinced that younger version of me that this would all work out. She spent a lot of time stressing even though she had a good marriage for most of that time, and two children that are now making amazing progress as young adults, contributing to the world in their unique ways.
Sometime in the last few years, though, I began to give up on a piece of myself. This became very clear as I worked through a values assessment a few months ago, when I was researching and experimenting with resources for the DreamBiz Test Drive.
It became clear that Independence is one of my top 3 values, the other 2 are gratitude and creativity.
I thought, duh, that is why I grew increasingly unhappy over the years. I was not successful in finding a way to balance my needs and worklife with the needs of my family and my ex-husband's career. I was out of alignment with a core value. I didn't know how to fix that life, so eventually, it broke.
Now that situation is in the past, where I try to spend as little mental energy as possible. I'm not going in that direction, and its certainly not the point of this post.
On July 4th the word "values" is often thrown out there. Let's think of it this way - the point of this post is a Values Check-in. What is your contentment score in your life right now? If you are discontented, bored, easily drifting toward the negative, not living the larger life you know is out there - it may be because one or more of your top values is being suppressed.
This is especially tricky for women because we are the nurturers, the multi-tasking queens, the emotional home base for our loved ones. The difference between thriving in that role, and feeling absolutely sucked dry by it, is a clear vision of our top values and using THOSE as our guiding star, not just the needs of those around us.
I had a friend once who had 5 children. She was a stay at home mom, prior to that she had been a successful attorney; her husband liked to joke that when they met she told him she didn't want kids! She was very matter of fact about her decision to stay home; I always appreciated that about her. She believed that women should do what is right for themselves and go from there.
Once she said, "Women should make the choice that feels right to them and stop second guessing. The happier you are, the better off your family is. Work if you like your work. Stay home if that feels right to you and its possible for your family. Or, craft an in-between solution. But don't decide out of guilt, that is never the right motivator."
What? If we can't rely on guilt as women, what are we left with? lol. But again, the point of this post is not to debate mother guilt.
This is the point - its important to get clear on what you stand for - and to check in regularly because it can change over the years. There are an infinite number of choices you can make to change your life, so, really, that's not the issue.
The issue is choosing - and the only way to feel some guidance in that process is to check in with your values. We cover this in detail in the first unit of the DreamBiz Test Drive for Savvy Women.
You can get a sample of it, including the section on uncovering your values, in the Video mini-series of the whole course that we send out over 5 days. Sign up below and we'll send it right out, along with a colorful booklet that complements the Miniseries.
Thanks and here's to your Independence Day!