Focusing on your spiritual growth work, finding a supportive community and counselling can be cornerstones for helping you navigate through challenging times.
One often overlooked way of navigating rough seas is learning or getting more clear on your gifts, passions, and values. Knowing your gifts, passions and values will likely not magically fix your challenges; however, it can help very much in building a strong foundation to weather the challenges. It will also help you stay on course if you have something you are working toward in life whether it be tangible and concrete or personal growth centered or even both.
If you have no idea where to start, start with what you tend to be good at. Writing down a list, creating a doodle or drawing, or creating a vision board of your gifts can be a good way to remember. Include anything you have been good at over your entire life, even if it seems silly or trivial, include it! You never know when that long forgotten gift that you have might come in handy. Sharing your gifts with others can be useful or helpful in honoring and recognizing your own innate talents as well as creating connection with others. Often sharing your gift benefits both you and the receiver.
Some would say that gifts and passions are synonymous, I would say that is true sometimes but not always true. Passions can be something you are not gifted at or even good at. Gifts can be something you are naturally good at or have acquired an expert-like ability for, but sometimes you might not be passionate about it at all.
A passion is something that you feel moved to do or practice; your heart often does the driving. If you feel lost here, you might try writing a list of what you feel like could be your passion and then go over each one and see how it makes you feel.
If you think about your passion and mostly feel excited or energized by it then you are on the right track. If you think about something that you might think is your passion and you feel deflated or exhausted, then it might be a good time to re-evaluate. It might be that you need some clarity, an adjustment, or that the passion is just not doing for you what you had hoped it would. Leaning into your passion and cutting out the things that are draining can help you focus more time on something you love and expand it rather than being stuck on a spin cycle trying to make something work that is not.
Last but certainly not least is values. Your values are your guiding light beliefs. They are fundamental beliefs that drive who we want to be, how we express that in the world, and how we interact with or treat others. Values help us guide our actions and determine how to react to challenging situations in our life. If you don’t have your values defined, it can be tough to know how you want to act or react to something going haywire in your life. Values especially help you take action in a way that you feel is integral for you. In turn, you will find that although knowing your values doesn’t make your challenges disappear, being aware of them can significantly help you make decisions you feel more aligned with and might save you a bit of time swimming in regrets.
If you aren’t sure what your values are or if you want to get clearer on them, try this exercise.
1. Go online and search for a list of values. There are many many lists out there, so grab a tea or a coffee and take some time looking at the many possibilities.
2. Write out a list of the qualities that you feel most in alignment with, 5-10 is great. Try to stick to one word values so they are easy to remember and you don’t get too stuck and heady about it.
3. Next to the values that you have on your shortlist, write a number from 1-10 beside each value on your list. Ten would be the value that you feel most strongly in alignment with and one would be the value that you least align with.
4. When you have completed assigning values to your shortlist, have a look at your top 3. These are your core values that are the strongest for you right now. Don’t worry about getting this exactly right, if you feel that they change or that you could better describe one or all of them, then go ahead and adjust them.
You might want to visit these values from once a month to once a year to make sure they are updated and aligned with all your new life experiences and growth.
So now that you have a start on clarifying your gifts, passions, and values, you have added reinforcing to your foundation. This means that you are working toward having more tools at your disposal and a greater ability to know what your needs and wants are.
These are not “just a do it once and forget it,” type exercises, If you would like help continue to define and develop a relationship with your gifts, passions and values, contact us here to get some support while you discover and more deeply define parts of yourself.