I talked last week about passion and why it’s foundational to finding your calling. Today I want to talk about how your values fit into the picture, and how they, too, can help you find your calling.
However much the whole idea of values (much less the language) has been co-opted by both religious and political arenas (areni?), we’re all living by values regardless of our religious or political affiliations or non-affiliations.
Honesty. Compassion. Justice. Objectivity. Beauty. Authenticity. Courage. Humor. Love. Teamwork. Respect. We can argue all day and all night about what they mean, but I’ll bet that every one of us has a group of values that are especially central for us, and that’s because at the end of the day, the values we live by are an expression of the kind of world we want to live in.
What world do you want to live in?
And that’s the key question: What kind of world do you want to live in?
It’s worth taking time to sketch it out. What does it look like? How do people relate to one another? How does this world deal with difference and nationality and all those other things that sometimes divide us? What’s prominent? What doesn’t even make the cut?
Once you know what kind of world you want to live in, you can ask yourself this: Which part of this is most important to me? Which part feels so central, so necessary, so absolutely true, that I can’t imagine a good life without it?
What world do you live in?
How does the world you want to live in compare to the one you do live in? How much of that central-to-a-good-life thing is in your actual life right now?
These questions can function like compass points as you explore your calling and work to translate your calling into action: Does this get me closer to or further away from the world I want to be living in?
Chances are, the values you sketch out aren’t necessarily going to be the things you actually work on explicitly. But if they’re important to you, they need to be there implicitly. Knowing what they are — articulating them and seeing how they play out — will help you get closer to what it is you want to do next.