“We can tell our values by looking at our check-book stubs” – Gloria Steinem
How can you and I possibly use this leadership quote?
Do you align your values with where you spend your time and money?
This is a simple and very powerful exercise to help you decide what is important to you and what you value. Are you are matching those things with where you spend your time and money? You might say that you already have goals and values in your life and would rather read more quotes on leadership. Stick with me!
I want you to find a time and place where you can clean your mind. Take your bank statement with you with you for use a little later on. Relax! Take a clean sheet of paper. Letter-size or A4 is good. Have the paper in landscape format – so the long side is across-ways. Pick up your pen and draw two vertical lines to divide the page into three equal sections.
Write down your values
On the left-hand side, write down the six to ten things which are the most important to you, in terms of your values. We are not talking about goals here! Goals are different. “Make a million by the time I’m 50” is a goal, it’s not a value. Values are things like family, peace of mind, control, spirituality, love. Think about the times when you are at one with yourself. What has been happening leading up to that? That is probably associated with one of your main values.
You don’t have to rank your values. And if you can’t think of more than four or five, that’s fine. You might find it useful to check and see if things are duplicated. If they are, either cross one out or merge it with the other one. Spend a while on this. I’m sure you will want to revisit it and it’s really useful thing to do every few months. As you think about it, as it sinks in, then you will come to terms with the idea and maybe alter it.
Where do you spend you time?
Now, in the middle section of the paper I want you to jot down where you spend your time. I know this is not a full time log and if you want to do that then great. For this purpose, you just need to estimate where you spend most of your time rather than try to analyse down to the last minute. Again, you must be honest. This is for you, nobody else. In this middle section of the page, write down 6 to 10 things you spend most of your time doing. You can leave out sleeping!
What about your money?
Now, do the same thing your bank statement (or your check-book stubs – does anybody write checks these days? Not me!). I’m sure you are catching the drift now. Honesty and an overview are in order. If you want to categorise your spending and do a detailed analysis, then fine.
Compare, decide and adjust…
When you have these three lists, compare them. Do your values match where you spend your time and money? If one of your values is to build a successful business and yet your time log shows that second on your list is playing computer games, then you are well out of alignment…
A ready note of quotes on leadership is helpful, but you will find this list we just made is a very helpful document to have. I strongly recommend repeating it every six months. It will become easier each time you do it and it will be a real crosscheck on what you are doing, how it matches your values and purpose in life.
Now you can adjust what you do to make sure your values and actions match more closely.
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