Finding Stability in the Chaos

Posted on January 31, 2019


Today’s Buzz is by Samantha Roberts– connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter!

What I’m Listening To: Space Cowboy by Kacey Musgraves

What I’m Reading: Spark by Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch, and Sean Lynch, as well as Smart Women Finish Rich, by David Bach (and 6 other books because I’m way to excited about what people are doing rn)

What I’m Watching:  The linen curtains blow in the breeze inside my Cancún hotel room (don’t be jelly)

Breath in. Breath out.  Breathing in intention, breathing in what is. While I stretch into a vinyasa I think about the metaphor between yoga and life. The stretch can hurt, but a rush of acidic toxicity courses through my muscles when I breath into the darkest recesses of my joints and ligaments. In a moment I feel a burst of energy – I feel new.

While running through a refreshing flow of sun salutations I think about two books that I’m reading: “Spark” and “Smart Women Finish Rich” (the title sounds pompous, but it’s actually a good read). While each book is starkly different in their content, a theme arises in each that gives me pause for my professional self, and other professionals around me.  Values.  Do I know what mine are?

The word strikes dread in some, anticipation and expectation in others. Some feel grounded in theirs, while others have no sense of what the word means. Yet, regardless of our awareness we all have them. Values show up in the things we purchase, the foods we eat, the people with which we associate, the work we commit to do, the people we love – everything.  Values determine every choice and belief we make and have.  But do we know what they are?

These two books highlight a tension that exists for many, but for which these many may not realize. There is a tension between living life the way we will, and living life the way we feel we ought to. There is often tension between what we actually value and the way we actually live. For instance, I may value honesty and truth, but find myself engaging in gossip or placation. Without realizing this tension, I’ll walk away from a conversation about a coworker feeling gross and not knowing why. I may value sustainability yet make purchases from companies with known unsustainable business practices. Unidentified values leave the door open to working and living against our natural grain.  This may leave us feeling exhausted, irritated, and like we’re spinning our wheels. So how can we change this, or even avoid it all together?

Image result for values cartoon doctor medicineIt’s time to breath in the truth, and breath out the excuses: get to work understanding what you value. A great first step is to write it down.  This doesn’t need to be a “feel good” exercise – though it certainly is for me.  Simply 10-15 minutes of intentional thought can give you a day, week, month, year – or heck , a life – worth of fullness, intentionality, and meaning behind everything you do. These values may grow or flex over time, and so occasionally checking in again is necessary. If you feel comfortable, talking to someone like a friend, significant other, or counselor can help you better understand these values, or help you define them further as they can ask clarifying questions you may not have thought of to get to the root of what makes you tick.

With a living set of values in place it’s time to put on each as a lens for the way we are living. Has the gossip you engaged in left you feeling sticky? Perhaps there’s a value you violated. Do you feel irritated about a project your supervisor prioritized (again) over one you think is more important?  Perhaps there’s a tension in values with that of your supervisor. Did you regret that second rerun on the couch instead of lacing up your shoes for another mile? Perhaps your values are in conflict.

While living by our values can be a daily, intentional struggle it can also lead us to take beneficial risks, find meaning in daily choices, and towards meeting our goals. In the toughest moments, living by our values can give us a sense of confidence in our difficult choice. In the quiet moments, values give us a sense of intentionality and grounding. In all, identifying and choosing to live by our values (while in constant growth), can provide us a sense of stability when all else may feel like chaos.

So go – spend the next 10-15 minutes and think about your values. Be as specific or general as you need to be. Write them down on a sticky note, your hand, your phone.  Question why you chose them as values. What may have led you to value these? What will you do with them? Remember that this one moment won’t define you entirely, but it could be the beginning of a life long journey to living intentionally.

Breath in, breath out. Breath in intention and purpose. Breath out the excuses and wasted energy.

Liked what you read?  Share this post on your favorite platform using #ELGLvalues, and share what you find yourself valuing.

Samantha Roberts works as a freshly minted Deputy City Recorder for the city of Eugene in Oregon.  She is the mama of one rambunctious three-year-old boy, a 6-year-old terrier mutt and a 5-year-old redbone coonhound.  She’s also the proud wife of 40&20 cofounder, Army veteran, and all around beautiful person.  She spends her days geeking out about local government, leadership, walging (walk+jogging), and finding new delicious brews (coffee or otherwise) to try. Follow her on Instagram (@lifeattheroberts) or Twitter (@sproberts10) for basic and real-life content.

Close window