How do we get a clear understanding about our own values? Understanding what our values are is a great start to living a life in congruence most of the time. It allows us to be able to make choices that are in congruence with our life mission and with our goal to be happy anyway!
So, how can we get a bit of a handle on that? Try an exercise that I call my Eulogy Dream (or Dream Eulogy!).
Imagine that you are eighty-something and have just passed away. We are all gathered together at a wake where people are going to eulogize your life. Imagine what the scene looks like. Now, do the following two exercises and write down what you imagine.
First, what are people saying? Be as honest and realistic as you can be here. What are you kids saying? What does your spouse say? What about your good friends? Your acquaintances? Your co-workers? Your employees/subordinates? The leaders of your communities (eg. church, volunteer group(s), neighbors, and so on)? Others who are parts of your life and are important to you?
Now, I want you to concentrate and think about what you would like each of those people to say. Pretend that you can write your own eulogy for each of those people to read. What would they say then? Are there gaps? Probably.
Look at the gaps and decide what you can do, starting right now, to close the gaps so that the people will be able to say what you would really like them to be able to say as they eulogize you. Now you have a better idea about what you want your values to be and can develop a plan to live more closely attuned to them. Do it!