progress — By cj finley
Anyone who gains traction in the pursuit of progress typically understands the flow of ups and downs that come along with this pursuit. One of the biggest challenges though becomes when to say “NO” to along this journey. This is something few expect to be a problem in the first place.
I like to equate the beginning of an idea, project, or business, to the feeling of being on an island. We sit there stranded, not knowing exactly what to do next, just hoping someone will hear us, and praying maybe they will help us successfully get off of it. Unfortunately, this leads to us saying yes to literally anyone who comes along the way, rather than being patient and defining who would be the best candidate to help us get to the destination we are trying to go.
Yet, when you are starving to succeed and get off the “island,” how do you remain disciplined enough to make the right choices along the way?
Defining my core values changed my life and my business, and I want to talk about them because maybe they can do the same for you.
The man on the island, that used to be me. I would say yes to any and every opportunity that came my way because I was telling myself a story in my head that “this opportunity could potentially lead to something down the line, which then would lead to something else, so on and so forth.” It was an endless loop of living in the future, rather than being patient in the present moment.
It was not until a long, tough discussion with my wife at the end of 2017 (fiancee at the time), that woke me up from the dreamland I had been living in. This dreamland took me away from her, and other important aspects of my life. Even though I was physically present, I was a shell of myself because I was constantly in hustle mode planning and strategizing for how we were going to “get off the island.”
The dramatic realization that I had from this convo was to stop trying so hard to get off the island, and instead, build my life right upon it. The “island,” while it may not have had the people, infrastructure, or luxury of relaxation then, was a beautiful place to be with massive potential.
By now, you should start to realize that the “island” I speak of, is our lives. Humans are all walking around on their own independent island in their minds. Constantly, going back and forth in our heads trying to figure out how to get to the next achievement, opportunity, “island,” in our lives, rather than realizing how AMAZING life already is and thus being grateful for the current moment.
When the light turned on for me and I decided to start building on the island I owned, great things started to happen. One of the great things was the connection I made with Chris Devine from Rhone. Prior to meeting Chris and learning what Rhone was, I had defined my core values and was holding myself accountable to LIVING through them. Meaning, I would only surround myself with people, places, and opportunities that aligned with the person I wanted to become. A few months after meeting Chris, I listened to a podcast where Nate Checketts talked about the importance of core values within the Rhone culture, and I was officially hooked to the belief that understanding our own values can help us successfully navigate our lives.
So how do you go about defining these values?
For me, I reflected on my entire life. From sports, to movies, to family and friends, I thought about what feelings and characteristics I looked up to most? I asked myself what personal attributes I wanted to exemplify and attract into my life.
Core Value Exercise
Here is where I recommend letting your mind wander.
Think of as many traits that you wish to embody and write them down. Do not limit yourself!
Once written down, start to see which traits are related and merge some of what you have written.
After you have minimized the redundancy, go through the words one by one, and tell a story about how each word matters to you / has impacted your life in some shape or form.
The words that are easiest for you to tell a story about, those are your core values.
As for mine, here is a quick picture to show them.
Today, I live my life in the pursuit to embody these values to the best of my ability. On certain days, they are the guide that help me overcome any obstacle put in my way. On others, they are the reminder that this life should not be taken for granted, and I should do everything in my power to make every heartbeat count while I still have the chance.
And it is my hope that maybe you will do the same.