Live According to Your Own Values
August 27, 2014
Hi Passion Fit Crew! I hope you all are doing well. It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged and I’m so sorry for the hiatus. The last few weeks have been extremely busy with officially launching my new company, website, YouTube fitness videos, social media platforms and planning my launch party. Also, my kids just went back to school and are starting their fall sports (soccer), so I’ve been busy preparing for those things as well. 🙂 However, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting these last few weeks and wanted to share my thoughts on the concept of living according to your own values. If you’re able to do this, I think this quote from author, Paulo Coelho, sums up perfectly what the end result could be, “What is success? It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace.”
The concept of living according to your own values is definitely easier said than done and for many people, it can take a while to actually make it a reality in their lives. I, personally, have had periods of my life where I’ve lived according to many of my own values and other periods where I’ve gotten a little off track on some of them. When it has come to my general values of taking care of my family, being giving and kind to others, living with honesty and integrity, having empathy for people, having a strong work ethic, continuously pushing myself to learn and grow, staying positive and optimistic, exercising, eating healthy most of the time, etc., I’ve worked hard to stay true to these values throughout my life. However, when it has come to some of my other values such as doing things that truly make me happy, spending enough time with my family and having work/life balance, following my heart and listening to my inner voice, being passionate about my career, managing stress, getting enough sleep, having some down time, being creative, overcoming fears, etc., this is where I’ve gotten off track. My hope is that through telling my story and challenging you all to reflect on your own stories and ask yourselves some important questions, I can help you find ways to live according to your own values if you aren’t already.
So here’s my story. I’ve always been a very driven and ambitious person, a perfectionist and a people pleaser at heart. When I was younger and I only had myself to worry about, I was able to get by with these characteristics, which sometimes have been strengths and other times have been weaknesses in my life. The period after getting married and having children is when things got tricky for me.
I had always worked in Corporate America, specifically in the fast-paced world of digital advertising and media. It was a great career, I worked hard, was successful at it and enjoyed it. However, once I had children, something inside of me changed. I still wanted to work hard and progress forward, but I worried about how I would manage having a busy, corporate career with two young children and I was often plagued with “working mommy guilt.” Now I’m lucky to have a wonderful husband, who is an amazing father, a great help around the house and has always been hugely supportive of my career. However, he also had and still has his own busy career as an executive in the high-tech industry and has had some pretty crazy years of heavy workloads and travel. So here we were, a very busy, dual-career couple with two young children, trying to make it all work like many people we know.
During these last several years since having children, my heart has hurt so much when I’ve dropped my boys off at daycare and they’ve cried so hard or when my older son started having to stay at the after school care when he started elementary school. He cried almost every day of kindergarten and often last year in first grade and would ask me why I couldn’t be a “mommy in the crowd” and pick him up right after school like the other mommies. As a result, I would spend hours crying myself, analyzing and talking about what to do with my husband, parents, sister, brothers and some of my closest girlfriends. I tried to work from home as much as I could, dropped down to 80% after my younger son was born, volunteered in both of my sons’ classrooms as much as possible and tried to minimize my travel for my job. I was determined to make this “corporate mommy” thing work and it became a huge part of my identity at that time!
So what was the result of all this? Well, I was extremely exhausted, stressed out, overwhelmed since I was overcommitted at work, my sons’ schools and home, working until midnight almost every night and falling asleep at the computer, traveling about once a month for work (even with trying to minimize travel), not cooking for my family as often as I wanted and often ordering out, exercising as much as I could, but not enough for my standards, rushing through my time with my kids and husband and not really enjoying it or being present, often lying awake at night worrying about missing out on my boys’ childhoods while also worrying about work deadlines and just feeling miserable. Also, during this time, I was often managing work, the kids and home front solo because my husband was traveling every other week and working about 100 hours a week for a period of about two and half years for his job. So, all in all, I wasn’t happy and certainly wasn’t living within my own values, especially when it came to my family, work/life balance, health, wellness and fitness, being passionate about my career, etc. My husband was also in the same boat as I was and experienced an even greater negative impact to his health, sleep, stress levels, etc.
It was only a matter of time before I, along with my husband, would hit a wall…and we certainly did. We were so tired and burnt out and I know our kids could feel that, which wasn’t fair to them. And for those who know me well, I’ve obviously had a lifelong passion for health, wellness and fitness, which was a big reason why I finally got the courage after almost seven years of being a “corporate mommy” to leave my corporate job and start Passion Fit in the first place. I also realize now that deep down in my heart, I really and truly wanted to be home for my kids and give them the childhood I had (I had a stay at home mom), while also having a flexible career that I was passionate about. My husband also took a sabbatical from work this summer, has been really focused on exercising and his overall health and wellness and is now going back to work for a boss and team he loves, which will also give him greater work/life balance for himself and our family.
So fast forward to today and this story has obviously taken a very positive turn! I’m absolutely LOVING having more time with my second grader, preschooler and husband, being a “mommy in the crowd” and picking up the kids right after school/nap time, taking them to their after school activities, scheduling more play dates, cooking healthy meals at home, planning to volunteer at their schools without feeling overly stressed, prioritizing getting eight hours of sleep per night, exercising five to six days a week (including teaching my fitness classes), creating and building my new company, Passion Fit, which has been such an AMAZING experience so far and just being more relaxed and present overall. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not all roses and rainbows all the time…my kids can drive me nuts when they fight with each other and don’t listen and I do miss my friends from my old job and the perks of working for a big company sometimes, but overall, I couldn’t be happier and more at peace with my family and career. I think the picture above perfectly illustrates what my values are and what is truly ME….being a mommy and a health, wellness and fitness professional. 🙂
So what’s your story? What are your values? Do you feel you’re living according to those values? I understand not everyone can or wants to leave their current job, start a company, be at home more, etc. Those are just my circumstances and choices. However, my hope is that you all are able to really think about your own lives, circumstances, choices, loved ones, passions, etc. and spend more of your time being the person you want to be and doing the things that get you closer to what you value most in life. This could be in the form of picking up a new hobby, taking a class, signing up for an activity or event, changing jobs, changing your schedule, having a heart to heart conversation with the people you love, etc. You may find that things feel much more natural to you and you could be happier and more peaceful as a result of that. Ultimately you’ll be living a life that is true to YOU and honestly, what could be better than that?
That’s it for today my dear friends. If you haven’t already, I hope you’re able to set aside some time to think about and plan for how you can better live according to your own values! Until next time… 🙂