What’s Important?

You need to decide.  It could be a mundane choice, like which color shirt to wear today, or it ccould have a bigger reach, like whether to accept that job.

What drives your choice?

The classic decision making model is Steven Covey’s 4 Quadrants where one axis is Important/Not Important and the other is Urgent/Not Urgent.   Things that are Important but Not Urgent seem to be consistently pushed to the sidelines of our lives.  We passively let Urgency drive us.

How much more content would we be if we understood what is important to us and focused on that first? But what determines what’s important?

Here are a couple of lenses to peer through when you’re in the moment of a choice.

Values

Values reflect the innermost understanding of what’s important to you. My values around creativity, independence and curiosity are reflected in my constant quest for knowledge. Those values make me a good teacher.

I’m curious about everything and I bristle when someone else tries to direct my thinking. I have walked away from hairdressers who said, “We can’t do that, you won’t like it!” My creativity shows up in my fiber art and in the classes and workshops I develop for my clients and future clients, and even in my cooking. That’s just how I roll.

But values-based decisions extend beyond the individual. Those choices will impact those closest to you. Your choice can conflict with your loved ones; sometimes their values are not the same as yours. Differing values can be the source of a lot of heartache or they can highlight a deeply binding connection.

Six Human Needs

Beyond values, the Six Human Needs address the layers of our humanness. The first four needs center around our experience as an individual.

As humans, we all need certainty. Certainty about where our next meal comes from, whether we have shelter for the night, or whether we are safe. But when we are so certain we can predict what comes next, then we crave uncertainty, adventure, something new.   We need possibility and variety to stretch to our full potential.

The next two needs are around relationship with others. On one end of the scale, we all need connection. We need a tribe, we need to belong, but too much of that and we feel smothered. That pushes us to the other end of the scale to seek autonomy.   We need to recognize that we are unique and find a way to express it.

The last two of the Six Human Needs address the idea that we are spiritual in nature. The first is growth. If you’re not growing, you’re dead. Your choice is to decide which direction or life area you want to grow in and make choices to support that decision.

And finally, we have a need to contribute. The most satisfying work we can do is in service to a purpose greater than ourselves.   When we rally around a cause we can create change that impacts all of humanity.

I’m so curious about what criteria you use to decide. Please comment below!


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