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What Matters? Well, It’s Personal!

I’m gearing up to teach a new workshop at the Women’s Health and Wellness Expo September 17 in Barre. This short interactive seminar, titled What Matters? is brief journey into the world of personal values—those internal forces that drive our lives whether we are aware of them or not.

It benefits us to become aware, and better yet, aligned with these principles. Doing so can make us more grounded, heart-centered, and decisive. (In short: happier!)

Let’s Name Them

Many clients have done a values ranking with me over the past two years. When choosing the most resonant from more than fifty suggested, these are words people often place at and near the top of their own list:

  • family
  • gratitude
  • adventure
  • accountability
  • peace
  • contribution
  • personal growth
  • money
  • community

Do any of these tug at your attention more than the others? You’ve likely just identified one of your own personal values! Did a word come to mind which you were surprised not to see here? That could be another.

Some Real People

This photo album (also titled What Matters?) is a project I’ve been working on over the last year. In building it, I’ve asked people what they are concerned about. First, the context is the present moment. Then, what is a larger or more global concern? There are responses from essential workers, entrepreneurs, and tourists whose daily concerns range from saving lives to getting a business license. It is when we consider the larger, ongoing concerns that we begin to uncover personal values: Justice. Faith. Health.

And, I’ve Got a Favorite

One of my core values is connection. In addition to connecting with nature and with spirit, it brings me joy to connect with other people. Coupling this value with my fascination with—and understanding of—the human condition makes facilitation and personal coaching a pleasure for me.

The root of this word also shows up when I map out my life’s work, which looks something like this:

connect → distill → create

(These are the skills I’ve brought to my life inside and outside of work/school since I was a child.)

Come Play!

My magnetic priority board, paired with a basket full of magnets displaying values words, will be at the vendor tables at the Expo. Come by and take the opportunity to consider, sort, and rearrange your own list.

We’ll have fun with a shorter list at the workshop. One (playful) word of caution: You may be asked to have a conversation with someone whose values are not the same as yours. Can you still find connection?

Susan McDowell is a certified Whole Person Coach and facilitator based in Central Vermont who works to support maturing women in building an on-purpose life. Alongside her ACC credential from the International Coaching Federation, she is qualified by a life refocused after dilemmas, brouhahas, quandaries, entanglements, and heartbreaks.

Read more of Susan’s blog.