Satisfaction comes from living out your values

Every week I attend an incredible goal-setting group for entrepreneurs and other professionals. It’s been such a joy for me to set goals for both the long and short term. One of the things I’m focusing on more and more is goals and values as a creative entrepreneur.

I’m also learning about figuring out my purpose. Being around like-minded people has been one of the most transformational aspects that has helped me to use my voice, build confidence, feel validated and learn from others.

The weekly format is LIFE for me and I really notice the loss of momentum when I miss a week. I’ve tried other in-person groups that meet monthly and it just never worked for me. There was little to no accountability or continuity session to session.

READ MORE  What I learned at Showit United 2019

Needless to say, being part of the group has been instrumental in my own personal development journey. It’s increased my confidence and feelings of legitimacy. I never expected any of that. I went in believing that I would learn solely about setting and achieving goals – and helping others stay accountable with theirs. It’s so much more.

When I meet weekly with the same group of people, it forces us all to be honest because the conversations go deep. There’s no hiding behind the façade of ‘yeah, business is great! Life’s going so well!’

I have had to own up to things that have been difficult. That’s the beauty of accountability. We’ve all faced some ugly truths about ourselves!

The challenge of goal-setting without foundational beliefs

But one thing that has always been a challenge for me is the idea of goal-setting itself. I thought by now, after 20+ meetings, I would surely find the goal-setting process a cakewalk.

Last night at the group I spoke up about how hard I find it to set goals that are SMART. And it set off this whole discussing that still has me reeling – and excited.

I hardly ever share anything personal on this blog but I think this is my time to start. It’s easy to feel alone, easy to feel ‘what’s the point of sharing anything, and who even reads blogs anymore’ but this is MY place on the internet. Plus, I’ve made some incredible and unexpected connections because of random blog posts I’ve written in the past.

And I want to put this out there as another form of accountability.

So what emerged last night was the idea that without knowing your priorities and values, having goals is meaningless.

Woah, I said it.

Spoiler: I don’t know yet what my values are. It is honestly something I’ve never given a lot of thought to, as much as it pains me to admit that. I’m guilty of coasting through life and business without truly considering what I want out of both those things.

This list of values will probably be a starting point I’ll consider in more detail later.

It’s really, really hard to know where you should be focusing your time and energy if you don’t know what’s important or meaningful to you. 

describing the struggles of creative entrepreneurs and Goals and values

So what are values and priorities?

Priorities might be things that are time-sensitive, that shift and that might be in conflict with values.

Values, on the other hand, are the drivers behind the decisions, the foundational beliefs that inform and maybe dictate the action.

ExistGreat has it:

Values

Define who we are and bind us together

Are defined in every interaction—including those with coworkers, customers, and the public

Priorities

Things that need to get done

Can and do change

blossom flowers against light blue sky to illustrate figuring out goals and values as a creative entrepreneur

When values aren’t clear…

Personally I’ve had struggles in my business because

  1. I am not clear on my personal values
  2. I feel that I sometimes compromise them in order to respond to priorities. That results in an icky feeling.

For example, one of my values might be family time and that may entail switching off computers and turning off email phone notifications after a certain time.

But I know that when a message pop up from a client or prospective client, I do see it and do answer it and then get sucked back into work world.

That means disconnecting from my family. So even though there’s a sense of urgency around the work, I am compromising my values.

Conversely, let’s say that like in the example my number #1 value is family time. So there’s a day of the week when all I do is spend time with my husband.

But at the end of that day, instead of thinking ‘yay, I did the #1 most important thing to my life and I feel great’, I may be worried or guilty that I did nothing to advance my business that day.

Goals and values as a creative entrepreneur

Every week I’ve had to sit down and write down my long term goal and my weekly ‘one thing’ goal.

And every week I’ve felt like they’ve been chosen somewhat at random or on a whim.

I’ve learned that I tend to dive into new projects impulsively without proper planning or figuring out what need they fill or value they bring.

My sense of what’s a priority has been colored by impulse rather than strongly-held values that should underpin the stuff that’s within my control.

Long term goals have been particularly hard to pin down. It might be ‘live a life of minimal stress’ or ‘build a business that’s sustainable’ or ‘work only with clients that truly value what I do’.

But there’s no way of measuring these goals or understanding when I have reached them.

When goals are more feels-y than metrics, it means I have more work to do and lots of digging to figure out values.

I also need to frame my values around the things in myself that I’d like to change. One of these things is that I don’t plan the way I would like to.

Hopefully I’ll write another post when I’ve reflected on what my values are and how that translates to running my business.

Thanks for reading and be sure to leave a comment about how goal-setting and figuring out values has been for you!

pink blossoms and pondering the truth of goals and values as a creative entrepreneur

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What I learned at Showit United 2019

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Goals and values as a creative entrepreneur

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Lover of ice cream, killer of houseplants, Zoe is a San Francisco-dwelling love documentarian. Contact | Insta

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MOMENT CATCHER, LIGHT CHASER, DETAIL LOVER 

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