The first time that I really started to think about what was really important to me was when I was about to head out on a year-long speaking tour across North America. I was 25 at the time and, up until that point, hadn't really done that much travelling. I was pretty comfortable in the life I had built for myself and wasn't really thinking about how the predictability of my life was actually holding me back.
But then I found myself in a whole new world. My life was about to become very different from what I was used to. Soon I'd find myself living out of a suitcase, eating out a lot, and being on the road more than I'd be home. I found myself starting to think more about the life I'd built for myself and started to wonder if all of the things I'd built around myself were necessary.
So I started to think about the things I'd need to keep me happy and healthy - the things that I wasn't willing to let go of for anything. I started to make a list of all the things I did that kept me feeling positive and growing: exercise, being with friends, eating well, reading, journalling...these were the things I didn't want to let go of for anything or anyone.
They were my non-negotiables.
In any job that I've taken since then (or relationship I've had), I've always been honest with myself and the others involved in what I'm not willing to sacrifice for anything.
I'm not willing to sacrifice my health for a job or a relationship. I'm not willing to put myself in a position where I can't ensure that I'm eating as well as I can as often as I can. I'm not willing to sacrifice the positive relationships in my life with the people I care about and that care about me for one single relationship. I'm not willing to stop learning as much as I can each and every day.
These are a few of my non-negotiables: the things I'm not willing to let go of, regardless of what transition I'm in. It's these things that keep me growing and that provide stability in a sometimes very unstable life.
I've learned that having these non-negotiables in your life is important. Especially during times of transition (a new job, a new relationship, a new city). By knowing what you stand for and what's important to you, you're able to make more confident decisions in what can seem like difficult situations.
So what are yours? What are those things you're not willing to compromise, sacrifice or let go of for anything?
Try it out:
1. Make a list of all of the things that you would say are important to you. This could be anything and everything. The point is to just make the list.
2. Take a day and then come back to this list. As you read through it, start to check off or highlight the things you'd never be willing to sacrifice for anything or anyone. These are usually the things that make you happy, healthy, and provide some sort of stability in your life.
3. Write them down and put them somewhere you see them each day. Try to limit it to 3-5 things right now. These may change as you change but, for now, focus on making sure you bring at least one of them into your life each and every day.
Keep Living Big,
Matt Tod is an international speaker, leadership facilitator, writer and lover of all things Zombie-related.