At TriForce, we’re all about helping you organize your values so that you bring more positive value into your life.
We already gave an example of how Megan and I used our values to determine what was most important for our lives. Now it is time for us to outline the process so you can do it in yours.
We will outline how to think of value, then we will go through an exercise in really evaluating these values in our lives.
What is value?
While it certainly isn’t quite as simple as this, I really like to think of life like a video game. And for our purposes today, VALUE is your “life” bar.
In most video games, you spend much of the game avoiding losing “life.” You are just trying to make it to the next level. Similarly, it is really easy to get busy in real life, just trying to survive. Our lives really require a constant need to go and do.
This can certainly be a good thing because we can go and do things we enjoy. But, be honest with yourself.
Most of the time we are putting out fires, accomplishing our “must-do’s” while trying to keep our lives in neutral. Consider this equal amounts of life-giving and life-taking activities.
In the end, nothing notable has been added to your life, and all that has been lost is another day.
In your game of life…
Ouch! Run into a spiked, grizzly monster, your character blinks a few times and you take a look at that ever important life bar. IT IS ALMOST COMPLETELY DRAINED!
In real life…
POP! Run over a spiked, terribly-placed nail with your back tire. You’re an hour late for work and have spent an extra $100 for a new tire. Get introspective for just a moment and consider your emotional state. IT IS ALMOST COMPLETELY DRAINED!
There are tons of things that you can consider that are life-taking. These are often obstacles that we jump over, duck around, and do everything in our power to avoid. Unfortunately, some of them still knock us down and if we aren’t careful, too many negative value experiences can leave us down for the count.
Hearts, stars, coins, 1-ups, mushrooms. All of these things make you smile when you collect them.
You have now gained more health, a new power, a cool tool, a second chance, or some otherwise useful object that makes your character better. Consider our life meter, and by gaining more (+)’s, there is now a bigger buffer before you end up in the (-).
What do you value?
With video games, your values are already set. The rules are already written for you.
In real life, this isn’t the case.
There are personal choices to be made on what you truly value.
An Exercise in Values: Finding Your Life Bar
Today I want to focus on the positive value component to this equation.
It might be a worthwhile exercise to consider what the negative value experiences are for you, but often times, these are just the opposite of your positive values. Therefore, let us focus today on positive value.
Get some paper, get a pen.
Write “What Do I Value?” at the top.
Now, make a list of at least 10 things that you value.
Seriously… do it right now. You will be happy you did, I promise.
Evaluating Your Values: Are these Your Core Values?
Now, reflect for a minute on your list. I bet I can guess at least two of the items on your list.
I bet one of them is time and another one is money.
Please take your pen, and cross through these two things.
Do you value money or what it can do for you?
You probably don’t really value money. You value the things that your money can buy you, or do for you. Perhaps you really just love having Benjamins to bathe in. But more than likely, you enjoy the places you can go, the things you can have, or even the other people you can bless by giving away your money.
Do you value time or what you can do with it?
Similarly, it isn’t just “time” that you value. Time in and of itself is really valueless. Time does however allow you to do or get the other things you enjoy. Examples of replacement answers might be: “Time by myself to think.” “Time to play with my kids.” “Time to go on a date with my significant other.”,
Does your life reflect your values?
So now that you have your list of 10 things that you value, here comes the hard part. Gut check time.
The real introspection comes when you consider how your life really shows that you value these things. If your list is full of things that include spending time with your family, but you find that you spend 80 hours a week at work, your life bar is getting depleted quickly.
It’s much easier to say that you value being healthy than it is actually do the work to capture this value.
Too many times, we spend our resources on the neutral value activities and don’t ever prioritize the positive value items.
That sucks! And it’s joyless.
Those positive value experiences are what give us energy, make us smile, and feel like our lives are worth working for even though there are negative value experiences along the way.
Steps You Can Take to Add Value to Your Life
It is time for your time and energy to reflect a striving towards your list. We’ve established what you truly value, and that realistically, most of your life isn’t really spent pursuing these things. Now it is time for the “how to.”
In one semi-popular arcade game from the late 80’s, Gauntlet, as your character’s health would run out the narrator would let you know that your character is dying.
He would say, “Warrior is about to die.” “Warrior needs food badly.”
Unfortunately, we don’t have a life narrator to tell us what steps we need to take to restore our “health.” We need to consider what action steps to perform to achieve more life. This is the point that we need to start peeling back some layers.
Some Examples of What Could Add to Your Life Bar
Let’s pick a couple examples to work through. Hopefully they resonate on some level and then you can do the rest of the work for your list.
Example 1: Playing with my kids
I value spending time with my kids. But it isn’t really just sitting and watching TV together that gives me the most joy. I love jumping on the trampoline with them, and playing tag. Because when we do those things, they smile and laugh and squeal in a way that really makes me happy.
What resources do I need to be able to do this?
Time: I need to set time out of a busy schedule to play. Uninterrupted time. So I need to be able to put my phone away, shut down the rest of my responsibilities for a few minutes, and focus on my kids. Time is a resource that will get spent one way or the other, so it is imperative that it is spent on these positive value experiences.
Stuff and space: What are some fun ways I can play with my kids? Jumping on the trampoline is a great thing for us to do together. So we need to either have the money and space in our yard to be able to put a trampoline, or we need to find one that we can play on. This is a good place to get creative, because often times, the resources of stuff and space can be hard to come by.
Energy/health: If I have zero energy, I am just not going to play with my kids. If I have little energy, I can play with my kids for a little bit. Likewise, if my knees are killing me, I can’t jump on the trampoline for very long, if at all. So if I want increased stamina for playing, I need to look at the rest of my life and health choices. Physical activity, nutrition, sleep, injuries, and stress will all affect your energy levels. Maybe if I poop out after 5 minutes of jumping, I should consider working out a little more, eating some more fruits and vegetables, and going to bed a little earlier.
Example 2: Affirmation from others
Let’s be honest, this is probably something we all value to greater or lesser degrees. Don’t pretend you don’t grin a bit when a friend, co-worker, or even a complete stranger drops you a compliment.
“Did you get a haircut? It looks great!”
“I love those shoes!”
“Have you been working out?”
In reality, when people affirm us, it is usually just for taking care of ourselves the way we should. Instead of seeking the approval of others, compliments are usually a good barometer of our self-care.
Self-care has multiple avenues for delivering value. Get a fresh new haircut, get a compliment, and suddenly you feel more prepared for the interview you have coming up. BOOM, nailed it, got the job!
New kicks. Man, they feel great. I think I can park a little further away from the grocery store. I keep walking more, improving my fitness. Go to the doctor, “wow, your lab results are better…you may even be able to come off of your blood pressure medication soon.”
You’ve started working out, doing some CrossFit, but you aren’t really sure if it’s working. You return home for the holidays. I know that you aren’t supposed to open umbrellas inside, but dang, it’s raining compliments in here!
Everyone notices the hard work you have put in. Wow, you feel strong, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. So much so that you are able to talk with one of your relatives about an unhealthy habit they have, and maybe empower them to take action.
So to summarize, we can get lots of value by putting in the work to care for ourselves.
How can TriForce can add value to your life?
Between all of us here at TriForce, we went to lots and lots of school to be equipped with tools to help other people.
If you value living a long life to see your family, we can help you improve your health and literally add years (Lord willing) to your life.
If you value traveling, but your bum knee keeps you from walking in the airport, we can take away your pain and get you walking again.
If you value going to the beach but you don’t go because you are ashamed to take off your shirt, we can help you become confident with who you are, and help you get to where you love the way you look.
Let us help give you life points with lots of positive value!