Our first 2 meetings were spent figuring out how our brains have been pre-programmed through evolution and hunter-gatherer societies, but now it’s time to figure out how we actually want to program it for ourselves. There are so many ways, such as through better habits, acts of gratitude, or expanding our skill sets, but we wanted to lay a deep foundation first with our values. Except we didn’t call it values, but rather we called it our powers.
So we had this meeting as a family, and well… let the pictures speak for themselves. Our powers didn’t impress them as much as I had hoped.
(There is a child under that blanket.)
I almost quit and went upstairs right before we got to our 5th value of I am a problem solver. Then I felt like I could never recover if I quit right after saying that we are problem solvers.
But what are values and why are they so important anyway?
I finally got what it's all about, when Brené Brown in one of her talks or books mentioned her daughter's upcoming swim meet, at which the coach had asked her to swim her very worst event in order to get an official time. She didn't want to do it because she knew she would come in last. But after much back and forth, she showed up anyway. And she did come in last... by a lot. However, as Brené mentioned, their value wasn't that her daughter wins or does well in every event. Their value was courage. And she was courageous, and did something even when she was embarrassed by the potential outcome. So when her daughter finally came out of the pool, her daughter said something to the extent of: "That was absolutely horrible... but I feel really proud of myself."
So this is what values/powers are all about.
They give you a roadmap to how best live life, according to your own values, and through repetitions and reminders you can program it into your subconscious for quick decision making. And not only that, it limits what you compare yourself to - her daughter could have come out of the pool feeling down and embarrassed, using her thoughts to keep comparing herself to all the others who came in before her… Or, as she did instead, come out of the pool feeling proud by the fact that she showed up and did her best. Which mindset do you think will serve her better in the long run?!
So based on this background, here is what we came up with through our blood, sweat and tears:
OUR 8 POWERS:
1. I am present (in my body) - is what I'm doing serving me?
2. I am positive - which also includes being grateful.
3. I am friendly.
4. I am courageous - expanding my comfort zone.
5. I am a problem solver - what's the next best step?
6. I am curious - what do I want to learn about?
7. I am a hard worker - I define success for myself.
8. I am creative.
Since our meeting, I check in with them regularly which power they used that day, if any. At first I thought they would just roll their eyes at me, but I was pleasantly surprised that they each have at least one thing to say each day. You also get unique insights into their days through these stories, and what challenges them, or how they turned something around. I also ask, did you see anyone use any of these powers today? I love their answers to this as well... who was friendly, courageous, etc. You start seeing their friends or classmates in a different light.
This really does help, even for myself, to cut down on all the back and forth, pros and cons when trying to make a decision, and to overrule a subconscious decision that my Mammalian brain tells me to do.
Next up we'll be sharing our family powers at our Courageous Girls Club meeting, where every mother-daughter pair will also share their values that they came up with. You can write these in any way that speaks to you, such as through a motto, a mission statement, family purpose, or a best possible self... This article from the Atlantic should give a good start.
The point, however, is to slowly and consciously program our powerful subconscious, which can be so helpful to us, with powers/values that point us in the right direction and help us write the stories we want to write with our lives.