Walking your why

Not that I fully understood it at the time but from a young child I was encouraged by my father to “walk my why”. He was one of those very rare people who I think definitely walked his why, and quite possibly reached what Maslow would have called self-actualisation. The fact that his final words on earth were: “Hell it’s been fun” says a lot too. I wouldn’t mind if those were my last words, albeit I am sure he would have enjoyed a bit more than his 53 years allowed.

Susan David, PhD., explains that walking our why is the art of living by our own personal set of values. Our values act as a reference point or compass for who we are; what we stand for (and equally what we won’t stand for), how we behave in certain situations and where we want to go in life. These values are the core, fundamental beliefs that help us decide what is important in life, the driving force behind attitudes, emotions and behaviours. Looking back now on periods of my life, I can see when I was not living in alignment with these values; that perhaps I was reflecting the values of others: parents, friends, society rather than my own true values.

In her book “Dare to Lead”, Dr. Bréne Brown suggests that walking our talk means that we are clear that our intentions, words, thoughts and behaviours align with our beliefs. She goes on to state that: “We can’t live into values that we can’t name AND, living into values requires moving from lofty aspirations to specific, observable behaviours.”

Easier said than done.

Having read a few articles on this, there is an exercise that I think we could all benefit from, taking a few moments to identify the values that resonate the most with us and ask ourselves:

Ultimately, what matters most to me?

What situations make me feel most alive and ‘in the flow’?

Given all the freedom in the world, what do I want my life to be?

Knowing our values allows us to get closer to way we want to live our lives, it can also bring us freedom from social compassion and fosters self-acceptance, all of which are crucial to mental wellbeing.

#walkingyourwhy #walkyourtalk #mentalwellbeing #values #purpose