Ep 76: What do you want on your plate?

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We’ve gotten pretty good about identifying priorities. But how do you know those priorities are the ones that will take you where you want to go?

You need to understand your values first to know how to load your plate each day. Learn a few ways that better values can help you set your priorities and make decisions.

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 76: What do you want on your plate?

Hi. I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

Do you focus on your priorities?

We definitely focus on making sure we’re not just doing unimportant tasks, things that don’t really lead anywhere.

We sit down and look at the activities that will give us the most value, maybe even putting them in a quadrant or matrix, if you roll like that.

But what happens when those priorities in their worthiness still don’t seem to be leading anywhere?

Maybe we haven’t really examined our values.

Not the easy stuff to identify like being a good parent, or being an accessible leader or serving the community.

Who doesn’t want to be those things?

But the harder stuff.

  • Like how do I develop self-control?
  • How do I become more assertive so that I have a voice in everything I do?
  • How do I live my life in such a way that I build trust and integrity?
  • How do I develop patience and persistence to power through my challenges?

Values are the driving force behind everything we do.

We don’t often write them out or memorize them.

And when life presents difficult challenges, we don’t stop and analyze whether or not our situation fits in with our overall values.

But this kind of analysis can actually make decision-making a whole lot easier.

Life today has evolved into a race to finish something that feels undefined.

  • We complete stuff.
  • We cross things off our list.
  • We accomplish.
  • We feel pretty good about all that.

But at the end of the day, sometimes we’re just not sure what all this is adding up to.

So we feel like we’re always struggling to get our priorities swimming in the same lane as our values. And we’re starting to get a little tired of all that moving around in the pool.

Maybe you need to be more productive and focused.

Or…maybe you need better values.

How do you define better values for yourself?

Values that you can point to in a pivotal moment that will light up your path forward like a summer carnival?

It’s really no different than breaking a project down into smaller chunks.

Instead of just wanting to be a good parent, what does that look like?

Close your eyes and imagine yourself being the parent you envisioned when you were waiting for this little creature to arrive.

Are you available to run alongside them as they learn the simple basics?

Are you patient in coaching them through challenges instead of just delivering a set of instructions?

Can you practice the humility to truly hear what’s in their heart as they navigate their own values, even if those values are a little different from yours?

If you want to be a more accessible leader, have you learned how to be an active listener?

Have you learned the skills to navigate conflict in healthy ways?

Do you know how to follow others in order to demonstrate your own respect for leadership?

What about serving your community?

Many good people value their ability to participate in keeping their community healthy and being a powerful force in the face of so much that seems to be going wrong in our communities.

But that can easily become another list of tasks and activities that compete for attention.

How can you better define this value to keep it from feeling like another drain on your time and energy?

  • Do you want those most vulnerable to better connect with their financial independence as a result of your work in this space?
  • Are you focused on helping others develop a spiritual practice that will help them through their own difficult times?
  • Do you want younger generations to have access to some well travelled knowledge to reach their own goals in a constantly changing world?

These are a lot more prescriptive than “serving my community.”

Find a half hour sometime this week to consider all the different areas and domains of your life.

Determine one or two values in each of these areas that speak to your skills, experiences and desires.

Where do you want each of these areas to end up?

If you are successful, what does it look like for you to be operating well in each of these areas?

See what interesting things you can come up with, things that excite you.

There are no right or wrong answers because other than math and some delicious bakery cookies in New York City, life isn’t always black-and-white.

You get to decide what you pay attention to, even if you’ve come to feel a bit trapped by ill-defined priorities.

When you put your focus on concrete values, values that are focused on specific skills and actions, you may find is that it’s easier to decide what stays on your plate on a Monday morning.

Because now you have a better picture of where you’re headed.

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

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If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting my website at LoriMiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

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