I have a secret to admit — I am really bad at making decisions. At this point in my life (33-years) and business (4th year as co-founder of Primd Marketing), I feel I shouldn’t be. But sometimes I have what I’ve come to refer to as “the panic.” You know, you’re scrolling through Instagram and you see that someone has posted something and suddenly your insides are screaming, “WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT. Shit, shit, shit, she’s gone and done my dreams.”
Several months ago, I saw that a friend had traveled to Tanzania and hiked Mt. Meru, and my first thought was, “I love the outdoors. I would love to hike Mt. Meru. What am I doing with my time? Why haven’t I done this yet? What have I been so distracted with that I didn’t remember to be Jenni-the-Mountaineer?”
FO-MOP, ladies and gentleman.
I know this classically sounds similar to a case of FOMO. But here is a layer of nuance: Not fear of missing out, but FEAR OF MISSING OPPORTUNITIES. This feeling is not about wanting to be cool or have the cool-bosses like me. It’s more of a feeling that I’m drowning in opportunities and options of who to be, how to grow, or what’s going to be the thing that takes me to where I want to go. (You might especially be feeling this with the mania of January launches going on. Just me? Ok.)
So in a world where anything is my oyster, why do I still bounce between wanting to be Jenni-the-Boss, Jenni-the-Writer, Jenni-the-Mountaineer, and Jenni-the-Artist all at the same time — but still sometimes feel deflated? Because it’s just too many damn options.
Enter Values — Our Savior from FOMOP
We’ve all heard Kathleen say one-hundred times that knowing what you want is the key to tapping into confidence. But here’s my problem with that: the things I want sometimes are in conflict.We can’t wear nine hats all the time and be hustling 100% on all areas. Click To Tweet
What I want sometimes doesn’t go together. I want to be climbing Mt. Meru and growing at 6-figure business. And while yes, those both may coincide, one of those choices has to yield to another. We can’t wear nine hats all the time and be hustling 100% on all areas. That doesn’t work, and leads to burnout. I know. I had that in a real way last year. You can read more about my navigating out of that here.
So I want to add a twist to Kathleen’s mantra:
Knowing your values is the key to tapping into your confidence.
Values are your throughlines. They are the things that light you up, make you firey, make you stay late just to finish one more thing. And guess what, they are going to be pretty similar for most of the parts of you and stay mostly the same over the course of a life.
I’ve had goals or plans that no longer serve me. For example, I’ve had plans for a long through-hiking trip with my husband this next August. But now I’m evolving new directions, and these hiking plans wouldn’t let me explore new areas where I am feeling drawn. And yet, I felt committed to go on the hiking trip anyway, since that’s what past-Jenni would have wanted. I was worried that in my evolving, I was moving away from who I really was and what I really wanted, instead of just letting myself explore new desires or ideas.
Values are open and cushy, and ask you to grow and change. They just have a net around the edges that can remind you when you’re getting too off course. Which as a bad decision maker, gave me a lifeline, a way to measure out all of those thousands of opportunities I tend to feel buried inside of.Once I had a grip on my values, I felt I could get a bit more clear with myself. Click To Tweet
Suddenly, once I had a grip on my values, I felt I could get a bit more clear with myself. “Jenni you don’t have to go on this big hiking trip to always love and value adventure. This next year, you are working on a different value (building community). Jenni-the-Mountaineer isn’t gone, that value is always with you. And it will make an appearance in your life again.” Panic attack averted.
So, how exactly do I know my values?
This is going to take a bit of time, and a bit of introspection. But a good place to start is to by examining how you spend your resources. These are things you should be doing for both life and business:
1. Check your resources
- What do you spend money on? (You can pull out bank statements, and look at things outside of your mandatory spending like rent, electricity, etc).
- What do you spend time on? (Check your calendar)
- What do you take a lot of Instagram photos of?
I used to think that I was bad with my money because my family spent so much of it on eating out every month. But when I looked closer at my spending month over month, I realized that we never ate out alone. We ate with other people. For birthday parties, for reconnecting, for building and maintaining friendships. With a little examination, I realized I’m not bad with my money, nor do I waste it on eating out. What I am seeing in the bank statements is that we really value community. Communities are built over food. Therefore, we have allocated more of our resources in our family budget for eating out in support of this value. We had to pull back in other areas to do that, but they’re in places we don’t value as much.
2. Check your emotions
- What are things that make you upset when you see them happening? These are good indicators of things you value.
- What instances have you seen that felt as if you were missing an opportunity? If you had more control or had been asked to do it, you would have done it differently?
- Any time you have seen someone else’s work and it felt like they were wasting an opportunity with an execution that was less than yours might have been? Pay attention to those pits in your stomach. They’re not just envy or jealousy, they can be indicators of your values.
3. Check your people
A third way is to ask other people. Talk to your best friends, your partner, your best customers. Ask them what three words come to mind when they think of you, your services or your passions. Some of my best values (Equality) came from my husband, who noticed that when things are unbalanced in our marriage, I get pissed. I would have never picked that out, but knowing that has helped us create a better balance and has helped me create better relationships within my business.
In Business and Life
Spending some time to pen these to paper has really helped me get a clearer filter in which I can gage opportunities. And this has helped me gain some confidence and clarity around both personal and business goals. For most of us creative entrepreneurs, there’s some major overlap between what we value in our personal lives, and the brands we’re trying to build. Investing time in understanding your brand’s values can be a big step forward to feeling confident in the business and life you’re creating.
If you’re ready to find your values in 2017 and use them to drive your business confidence and growth, come check out The Brand Plan over at Primd.com We’ve spent years helping business owners figure out how to grow brands that align to their values, and allow them to grow and evolve along the way.
If you liked this post, be sure to check out:
- Once you’ve done Jenni’s exercise to find your values, check out How to Live Your Values Through Your Business
- When you know your values and they ask you to change what it is you want, Be Unapologetic in What You Want
- Check out Jenni’s previous Being Boss blog post: The Type A Creative: Finding Active Rest
- Being Boss Minisode: Finding Your Values
- Find additional resources for Identifying Your Values