There are moments in life that make you reassess everything. Moments that throw a spotlight on your reality. A disaster that reminds you that you are alive, This last week I have had one of those moments. 3 days ago I was rushed to hospital suffering from ketoacidosis ( a horrible side effect to diabetes). And now I am sitting here writing to you. Now if you are not initiated in the school of diabetes type 1 ketoacidosis is pretty serious and can be fatal. So for the last couple of days, my medical team and my body have been fighting to keep me out of the danger zone and on this planet.
I feel very lucky and incredibly grateful. Grateful of course to the amazing medical team who have looked after me but also to Mr T, my friends and family who from near and far have sent me so much love and caring. However, I also feel incredibly grateful for my life. When this stuff happens I feel it is a kick from the universe saying “Hey! You! You are alive. What are you doing with this gift?” Bad health, with a reminder of our mortality, is a great lesson, if a somewhat badly wrapped gift. For me, it has shown me what I value. What I am doing in my life that is me really listening to my soul and what I am doing that is me lying to myself. How do I live with integrity? And how do I not? It’s a hella important process. I mean we only have one life in this body, as this person at this time. Wasting this amazing gift is more than criminal, it is arrogant and spoilt. And so many of us to waste this gift by not living with accordance to our own values. So I have welcomed this opportunity to really look into my life and find my truth. What do I value and how am I living that each day? How can I live with more integrity?
Then it struck me. Why has it taken a medical disaster to make me look at this? Why do we only get motivated to check in when things go horribly wrong? Wouldn’t it surely be more beneficial to do this process on a regular basis? Would it not be more respectful to the gift of being alive, not to mention be incredibly beneficial to ourselves, to check in and see if we are living in accordance to our own values on a regular basis. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”. And I agree.
If I had died this week would my soul have been happy with the way I live? Would I have felt that I have lived a life of integrity? That I have walked my talk? To be honest not really. I mean I would be able to acknowledge the efforts I have made but in truth, there are some things in my life that I do that in no way shape or form, fall in line with my values. And there are things I really want to do that I have never done, or put off constantly. What is the point of that?
So I have decided to set some time aside each month to take a 15-minute check in with myself. It’s now scheduled in the diary as my Life integrity check-in. A 15-minute recess to reassess my life*,check in with my values and to make sure I really am living a life of integrity. What about you? When did you last check in with your values? When did you last reassess your life to see if you are prioritising or ignoring the things that are most important to you? Do you know if you are living a life of integrity?
I invite you to try the following process. It will take you 15 mins max and will help you to really see where you are, how you are living and if this really is the way you want to live. Without the bother of having to have a horrible disaster in your life!
Life Integrity check
Step 1: The question to ask yourself is this: What is truly important to me in life?
Brainstorm a list of your values as your answers to this question. Be specific. So some of my list looks like this (In no particular order of importance):
- Mr T
- My brother
- My cats
- My Parents and family
- Mother Earth and Paganism
- Community and friends
- Creativity- Writing -Drawing and painting – colouring
- Making memories and having adventures
- Good food and wine
- Coaching and Teaching
- Playing and having fun
- Good health and happiness
- Me time
- Inspiring work
- Love and being loved
- Acknowledgement and respect
There’s no hard rule for how long your list should be, however, a list in the range of 15 – 25 values is easier to work with.
Step 2: Ask your self what is a real priority for you on your list?
The next step is to prioritize your list. This is the most difficult step because it requires some intense thinking.
Identify the top value, then the second highest value, and so on until you’ve rebuilt the whole list in order of priority from the top to the bottom. So you may begin by asking yourself these questions: Which of these values is truly the most important to me in life? If I could only satisfy one of these values, which one would it be? The answer to this question is your number one value. Then move down the list and ask which remaining value is the next most important to you, and so on, until you’ve sorted the whole list in priority order.
Step 3: Now ask the question How much are my values prioritised in my life?
We may have these values but do we prioritise them? Go through your list. Put a smiley 🙂 next to those that are visibly prioritised in your life, an uncertain emoji for values you sort of prioritise and a sad face 🙁 for values that are not prioritised at all.
It’s quite interesting to look at. I found that I was only prioritising 14 of my values in my life. 9 things that were really important to me were only semi prioritised and somethings that I thought very important were not prioritised at all.
Step 4: Now ask yourself How would I like to prioritise my values in my life?
Now you can see what matters to you and what you are and are not prioritising, ask yourself “How would I like to prioritise my values in my life?” We all do only have 24 hours in a day and of course, we would love to fill every moment of the day as we liked. But this is not always possible. So you have a choice of daily, monthly and weekly. Assign this to each of your values. Basically, you are choosing how you will prioritise your time according to your values.
Once you have assigned Daily, weekly and monthly to each of your values rearrange them in the order of daily, weekly and monthly. This gives you a new and unique perspective on your values and what is important to you.
Step 5: Now ask yourself What can I do to make this a reality in my life?
In the last step, you created a wish list of how you would like to live with integrity. Now you need to plan your action. Make a practical mini goal for each value of how you will prioritise this daily, weekly or monthly in your life. So, for example, I have ‘Making memories and having adventures’ as something I value and wish to do on a monthly basis. So I have to make sure there is a time in my calendar every month for an adventure day with Mr T, or a good friend to have an adventure and make a memory.
For the last time prioritise these goals in the order you would like to start introducing them into this month. Don’t try and do everything at once. Choose a few (maybe one monthly, one weekly and one daily) and start to create these fantastic new habits that mean you are living a life of integrity.
Put this month’s goals somewhere you can see them. Now, book in your calendar next month ’s life integrity assessment. Remember your values change. Maybe next month you would like to focus on something else. For example, I know that my health and Me time is high on the list this month as I need to recover. However next month it might be spending time with my Mr T. You may just choose new goals to start to fulfil from the list you make today or you may find that you make new goals. This system is as flexible as you and will change with the ebb and flow of your life keeping you true to yourself always.
Have a wonderful week <3
( *try saying that fast it’s full of s’s!!)