What single sentence sums up the theme of your life?
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Calliope Writer’s Retreat, and I was so impressed. Angie Fenimore, NY Times Best selling author and Mike Sheen led the crew through addressing the common blocks and fears of authors. As well as how to polish your writing, and pitch to publishers.
Every quarter there is a pitch fest where you can pitch your book through twitter, this allows book agents and publishers to read through new pitches quickly and even sign new deals.
Here’s the tricky part – twitter only allows 140 characters, and so you have to get everything you want to say about the book in that 140 characters. Angie and Mike teach that if you start with the one liner, it streamlines the theme for your book. And as you write, this theme helps you stay on track.
And then, they said, find the one liner for your life. Identify the theme, what is life about for you? I love this idea as it really captures and clarifies what’s most important to you with simplicity.
What is a one liner that would sum up what your life is about?
Angie Fenimore’s is ‘Rock the Boat – Rock the World.’
Here’s my working one liner so far, ‘Thrive in Life with Connection, Adventure, Fun- and Change the World.’
To help you with this exercise, it’s useful to go through the Life Coaching’s Guiding Compass Test.
In Life Coaching, we talk about understanding your top 5 values, these are the criteria from which we make decisions whether we are aware of them or not.
For example, I had a high freedom value in my 20s which won out over security, and so I chose jobs that had adventure and fun like backpacking and white water raft guide. I could quit whenever I wanted and travel, and I could always find a new job. Although I loved these jobs, they had no real future.
And then I went to school for Psychology and found Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) & Hypnosis. I spent another summer as a whitewater rafting guide on the Deschutes River in Oregon, and yes it was fun – excitement and laughs, but it started to feel hollow to me because I felt a call for something more. I was bored of just having fun.
I wanted to make a difference. And with the NLP Hypnosis skills, I now knew how.
And so my values shifted. I now have stable work hours, I live in a city, rather than hiking the backcountry and sleeping under the stars. But I find so much satisfaction in helping others and making a difference, there is deep fulfillment everyday. And I am finding new ways to bring in adventures. For example – the Sedona Retreat Awaken to Your Center, April 22-24. which brings together my greatest passions in a weekend.
Start with identifying your top 5 values, I call these top 5 Your Guiding Compass.
These top 5 values are core to how you operate. These are the things that are most important to you, examples are: love, connection, family, money, success, respect, security, integrity, etc. You can also group them together if they are similar. Here’s the example of my top 5 Values:
- Connection/ Spirituality
- Making a Difference in the World
- Nature/Adventure/ Fun
- Achieving Your Dreams
- Thriving with Health
To dial them down into the order of your top 5, ask the question, ‘If I could have x but not y, which one would you keep?’
Knowing your top 5 and Guiding Compass gives you clarity for what opportunities will work for you and which ones won’t. If your work environment is out of sync with your values, you’ll feel dissatisfied. For example, if you have a high freedom value, and then take a 9- 5 job, you’ll probably feel frustrated, unless you find other expressions of freedom.
When you have your Guiding Compass and One Liner – you’ll know which opportunities really suit you, and this creates greater ease with making decisions. With the opportunities that come up, hold them to the light of your top 5 values, does it add to these values, or detract from what’s most important?
And then from your top 5 values, work them into your One Liner – a sentence that clarifies what’s most important to living your best life.
Knowing your top 5 Values is also a direct link to a wellspring of motivation. Do you want something to change in your life? Attach it to your top 5 values.
Share your values or your one liner in the comments, I look forward to hearing your one liners. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it can be a work in progress…