Practice Values with Definement

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What’s the Situation?

I once attended a lecture given by a man who had served as an Army Chaplain. He said that he would often get asked the question “When did you decide to be a Chaplain?” He’d always reply the same way: “This morning.”

He went on to explain that there was a difference between choosing a career path (even a spiritually-motivated one) and dedicating yourself to meeting the challenges that lie ahead. Dedication to your Values isn’t determined once, but rather day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. I truly believe that is the power of Values in action.

I have found that Values contribute to Spiritual Energy to the degree that we live by them. But I’ve found that my Values are far too frequently lost in the slog of day-to-day life.

There have been plenty of times where I let the busyness of life overwhelm me. Where all I could focus on was getting through the day or the week ahead.

But when I lose focus on my Values, I have less Spiritual Energy with which to meet my day. And the harder it is to get through it.

To me, that’s the importance of the Chaplain’s daily dedication to his service.

So I challenged myself to do the same.

What’s the Strategy?

Each week, I challenge myself to go through a process I call “Definement” (yes, I know it’s not a word; I just like the way it sounds). I start with a blank sheet of paper and I write out my personal Vision, Values, and Goals. I then create a set of directives for myself that inform my key Apple Tasks for the week.

For the Values section, I ask myself the following question “What are the things that matter to me either as a part of fulfilling my Vision or leading a full life?” I then create a list of those items.

Sometimes my Values change from week to week. Sometimes they remain consistent. Both scenarios are fine with me. That’s the point of Practice. What’s important to me will certainly change as I learn more about who I am, who I want to be, and the good I can contribute to the world around me. And that’s ok. I acknowledge that. And I (try to) embrace that.

And so each week I start with a blank sheet and a single question: “What matters to me?”

Now, while that is a powerful exercise in and of itself; I don’t stop there. I’ve found that even mid-week I can lose sight of my Values. So I set them out each night in a place I’ll find them in the morning; usually, let’s be honest, on top of my laptop.

I challenge myself to read them when I wake up. To take a few moments to think about why they were important to me when I wrote them. To think about why the are still important to me right now. And then I start my day.

Do I always do this? Nope. But I’m getting better at it. And that’s what Practice is all about.

What’s the Impact?

The benefits of Definement aren’t limited to the increase in Spiritual Energy. I’ve found it has a tangible impact to Emotional Mana as well.

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  • Values – The primary benefit of Definement is an increase to Values. By consistently bringing my focus to what’s important, I can commit myself to acting accordingly. This is an increase to Spiritual Energy.
  • Self-Valuation – I have found that taking a moment to remind myself of the things that are important to me has the added benefit of increasing my own sense of self-worth. It makes that future version of me seem that much more tangible and achievable. This is an increase to Emotional Mana

So with that, I just have one question left. Have you done your Definement yet?

See you at the finish line!

-The Jack of Spades

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