What"s the Value in Values?

I used to think that life coaches who focused on values were traditional, overly simplistic, and hokey.
The practice of having clients check values from a checklist reminded me of some meaningless exercise from Psych 101.
Don't people just know their values and naturally live accordingly? Aren't our real values seen in how we live our life rather than as words in a checklist? Although values weren't my thing, listening to the Universe is.
So about a month ago, when three separate professionals who I deeply respect and admire started talking about the need for crystal clear values, I listened.
And it has changed everything.
My "values", or the things I consider most important in my life, aren't surprising to me in the least.
Freedom, fun and laughter, maintaining a happy marriage and being present for my daughter, creativity, service, experiencing joy in the moment.
I knew those words and phrases like I knew my name.
Although they've evolved a bit in recent years (especially joy, creativity, and service), they've been pretty constant for most of my life.
My current, day-to-day life obviously matched those values, right? Well, not so much.
Looking at my life, both my day-to-day activities and the way my life was structured in a bigger sense, one might assume that my values were: being unnecessarily busy, spending some time with my husband and baby but not always being fully present with them, and trying to collect lots of money that I'd almost never play with or even see except as an arbitrary number on a bank statement.
The mismatch was shocking, to say the least.
So, I made some changes.
I talked with my husband about having him quit his job to stay home with our daughter.
This was something we both wanted anyway, we were just in the habit of living as though collecting money (that just sits in the bank, mind you) was more important than living our values today.
He's done that and we are all much happier, which happens to be one of our values.
There's much less stress and much less for us both to do around the house now that he's home during the day, so there's more time for fun.
Less stress and more fun means we all laugh more.
I have more time and energy for honoring creativity and creating my business based on a sense of service-which is a strong value of mine-rather than based on need, ego, or profits.
I can't even tell you the difference that has made in my ability to serve.
But it goes even deeper than that.
Everything goes more smoothly now.
It's like life clicked into place when we got clear about our values and designed our external circumstances to be consistent with them.
Rather than pushing, we're being pulled.
Things fall into place naturally and we get to spend more time appreciating what we have in the moment rather than living for the future.
I think that's the real value in knowing your values.
When you're clear on what they are, and you arrange your life so that you are living accordingly, you are aligned.
There are no inconsistencies, no resistance, so the right things show up exactly when you need them.
There is less trying, as things are just done.
There is less thinking about it, there's just creating it and moving on.
Less wanting, more deciding.
Is your life aligned with your values? Make them match and see what happens.
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