Discovering my Life Values
Values help us decide what is important in life and where our priorities lie. They help us to differentiate between two alternate options but with so many to choose from, which ones fall into my top 5?
I met yesterday with one of my mentors from the True Athlete Programme, where we worked together to find values, and the meaning of those values. We discussed how values naturally change over time and they can be used as a tool to measure how well you're sticking to your life plan.
Fortunately, the values I discovered can form the acronym B-HELD, with an aim for me to be held up through these values. Here's what they stand for:
B - Balance
I like to consider myself as a 'Yes Person,' in that I like to be able to say 'Yes' to every opportunity that comes my way, whether it be speaking at Buckingham Palace or looking after my niece. Having said that, I really appreciate being able to allocate myself time for myself and my own emotional wellbeing - hence where balance comes in.
With 8 difference jobs, ranging from working a few hours in retail to motivational speaking to hundreds of people, it's very difficult to balance enough time between paid positions, volunteering, progressing in my sport and allowing enough time for my partner, friends and family members (including my cats).
Balance to me, means having the freedom to choose how I manage my time and being comfortable in the amount of time that I give to others and myself. Ensuring I have enough money to support my lifestyle and enough time with my loved ones is an ongoing process but is also something that I value strongly.
We are often so wrapped up in the competition season that we don't consider what is best for both our mental and physical health. As a young amputee, I do worry about my health and the affect that my high activity levels will have on my joints in my (much) later years.
Healthy, for me, means listening to my body and appreciating when enough is enough. Being able to spot an injury before it erupts into a permanent and persistent problem but also when planning events to realise my physical limits.
By placing healthy into my values, it makes me consciously think about whether my plans are too much for my one-legged body to handle.
Is it possible to enjoy every second of the day...perhaps not however ideally, we need to be able to have the enjoyment factor in every activity that we chose to undertake. There are times in every athlete's life when they consider why they are doing something. Whether it be getting up at silly o'clock in the morning for training or the day after a competition when you're aching and contemplating the meaning of life.
I chose to become an amputee, I chose to be an athlete and most of all, I have the ability to chose to enjoy being an athlete. Without enjoyment, there's no passion and without passion, there's no love.
Acting with integrity and being able to pioneer the future are very important to me. With many athletes aiming towards the Olympics or Paralympics, they often reach their 'high point' and have no clear vision of their future for life after sport. As my sports have a ceiling, in that the Paralympics isn't possible with Judo, I really value the need for pioneering the future for adaptive individuals.
It's very important for me to build communities whereby support is available when needed and individuals will not have to face the adversity or loneliness that I felt when overcoming my challenges.
As well as the development of others, it is very important that I see a future for myself with my own personal development both on an emotional and physical level. Through balancing, allowing enough time for myself and staying healthy, I will be able to concentrate on my physical development.
Lack of development can always be demoralising but that's when it's important to turn to developments away from sport. With time and experience comes development but it's always best to make the best version of yourself.