During one of our programmes empowering youth and giving them the skills to find direction and meaning, one of the images we equip our participants with is that of an 'internal compass'. For times of change, transition and sometimes lack of clarity, strengthening our inner compass can be an invaluable thing to guide us through to the other side, and help us make good decisions. Part of this is done by a Session I facilitate around writing a Personal Manifesto - something that I believe can be extremely useful to clarify our aims, remind us of our motivators and morals, and inject us with meaning and direction at times that we need it.
During one of those workshops, a participant, just 12 years old, asked me the following question:
"I don't know how to write down my aim in life. I want to make money, I want to be happy, I want to live in a place with lots of nice people, and work in a job to change the world. But these are too many things and too many directions for my compass. How do I choose the most important?"
I thought about this and tried to come up with a single pointer to add to the life compass - something that could be used to measure up decisions, re-orient if needed, and critically discern whether what we are doing is serving us, and others, in a good way.
This is what I came up with, and I thought I'd share it with you today;
Build value. Whether that means friendships, memories, experiences, skills, networks, money - get a good spread, and make sure you are building value around yourself and in the world around you. Money alone does not count as value. If you are unhealthy, overworked, uncreative, lonely and lacking in meaning, then just because you have a 6 digit figure in your bank account, does not translate to value.
Build value for others, and leave value in places and people after you have left. There's a quote that basically says, when you die, the only thing you will be remembered for is the impact you had on others. Aim to leave this world in a better state than when you entered it. Make sure you contributed to that.
Avoid taking or sucking value from others. This is a good way to evaluate the work you do, or relationships you cultivate. Are you building value at the cost of the value of another person, peoples, resource? Energy cannot be created or destroyed, so perhaps value too is in a constant state of flux and being transferred. But sustainable relationships and connections are symbiotic, and overall, beneficial ones will create value for both. See if you can build value in win-win situations; let your motivation be for abundance, and not greed. Share, offer, gift and be grateful - these actions in themselves will build bigger value than beneficial transactions. Accruing and hoarding value at the cost of others necessitates a view on the world of scarcity - which you will spend your time trying to escape by collecting 'enough'. But this will only serve to create more scarcity as there is no such thing as 'enough' - in this state, we only crave more.
So do your part in building a world of abundance and value - around you, around others, for others. Would love to hear any of your stories of flipping a situation of scarcity to one of abundance!