The New Year is almost here. Can you believe it, another year gone by? Are you feeling totally accomplished and wonderfully fulfilled because you had an amazing 2018? Will you be raising your champagne glass on New Year’s Eve toasting to a very successful year? If this is true for you . . . congratulations and cheers! No need for you to read any further. If reflecting back on 2018 brings you disappointment and regret, however, read on. My 4-part blog series, “Making 2019 Your Best Year Yet,” will give you reason to celebrate as 2019 comes to a close.

Many of us have the very best intentions. Perhaps you made New Year’s resolutions and/or you were one of the very few who actually developed goals and put them in writing. The most successful people take responsibility for their lives and the results they produce. They write goals, goals to move them from where they are to where they want to be in life and with their careers. When they are unsuccessful in achieving their goals, they look at what factors might be causing the problem. Going back to school to complete an advanced degree, preparing for a career change or promotion, taking a volunteer leadership role in the community, losing weight or spending more time with family and friends might represent goals similar to yours.You wanted change, you wanted results, you had the best intentions, but nothing happened. Why?

In the first of our 4-part blog series, we are going to talk about building the foundation, doing the internal work, a prerequisite to goal setting, planning for your life and your career. In building a strong foundation, I believe there are a couple of critical elements to consider. First, start with having a clear mission, identifying your life purpose. Second, it is important to have a good understanding of your core values. Core values and life purpose serve as a compass pointing out what it means to be your true and authentic self. Goals that are in conflict with core values and life purpose can produce distress, frustration and be unsettling. Let’s look at each of these elements individually.

  • Life Purpose or Mission. I believe we are all born with unique gifts and talents to make a difference in the world. We need to look deep within ourselves to identify our treasures, the gifts we have to offer the world. Living “on purpose,” means we are doing what we love to do, what we are good at, and accomplishing what is most important to us. When we know we are making a difference for others, we are totally fulfilled. Without a life purpose to guide us, the goals we write and the direction we take may not fulfill us. Identifying and honoring our life purpose is one of the most important elements successful people take.

My life purpose is to inspire and empower people to find success, joy and fulfillment in their lives.

When living my life purpose, I lose all track of time. I am creative, enthusiastic, full of energy, and my very best self. What I am doing seems effortless. Most importantly, I am ON FIRE with passion for what I’m doing whether in my personal life or my career. As a professional life and leadership coach, I am honoring my life purpose, making a difference for my clients and, as a result, I am totally fulfilled.

  • Core Values. Values are who we are, not who we would like to be, not who we think we should be, but who we are in our lives, right now. Values can be things like integrity, independence, creativity, connection, security, learning and more. Knowing your values is very important as you plan for your life and for your career.

There are a number of ways to identify your core values. One way is to identify special peak moments when life was especially rewarding. Ask yourself, “What was happening?” “Who was present and what was going on?” “What were the values that were being honored in that moment?”

Another effective way is to go to the opposite extreme, looking at times when you were angry, frustrated or upset. This will often lead to identification of a suppressed value. Name the feelings and circumstances around the upset; then flip it over and look for the opposite of those feelings. For example, you might say, “I felt trapped, cornered and without choice.” If you flip that over, it might be that your suppressed value is around freedom, choice, and/or independence.

Another powerful way to identify your values is to look at what you must have in your life beyond the physical requirements of food, shelter and water. Ask yourself what you must have in order to be fulfilled. Is it a form of creative self-expression? Adventure or excitement? Partnership and collaboration? Accomplishments? “What are the values you absolutely must honor or a part of you dies?”

As you work through one or more of these exercises, make a list of the values you identify. Prioritize your values so that the most important rise to the top of the list. Your top ten become your core values. Keep the list with you as you go about your day to see if you identify other values that need to be added to the list. It may take some time before you feel certain you have captured your most important values.

A few of my core values include leadership, service and joy. As I’ve assumed formal and informal leadership roles in the past, I’ve honored my core values. Today, these values are wonderfully expressed in my work as a professional life and leadership coach. The more I honor my values and life purpose, the greater joy I feel.
To build a solid foundation and direction for your life, take a deep look within yourself to discover your life purpose and identify your core values. Do not despair if 2018 did not turn out as you had planned. Do not give up on your dreams and aspirations.

As you approach the goal setting process to make 2019 your Best Year Yet, start with step one of our 4-step journey, identify your life purpose and core values. You will be one step closer to your 2019 New Year’s Eve celebration and toast . . . Cheers!