Monday, October 3, 2011

know your values

You have to know what you value before making any major life decision. But, I find that people become really uncomfortable around the word "value." There's this idea that some values have more weight than others. Many think they should value things like faith, family, peace, and the common good. Some worry they will be judged should they admit that stability and reward actually drive their decision-making.

An important thing to realize is that one value doesn't cancel another. It's possible to value both money and family. And in fact, one might argue that valuing money or financial stability, is how you best express your commitment to family.

My heart breaks just a little as I head out the door every week-day morning. I love my work, but of course I would prefer to take my son to toddler time at the New York Public Library, or join him and my husband for croissants and pour-over coffee at our neighborhood hangout. But the way I've framed my decision to work outside the home (because yes it is a conscious decision) is that it's one of the many ways I tell my family that "I love them."

My point being; there is nothing wrong with financial stability or even prosperity being your primary value. But, you need to know that it is before you make critical life decisions.

A great deal of my personal and professional life has been spent working with artists. And I find that more often than not every artist comes to a point in their career where they have to decide, "Do I really want to keep this up?" Well-established, wealthy artists are the exception not the rule. And though many artists are able to keep a roof over their heads they aren't necessarily living the life they had imagined. Knowing what one values is critical for the working artist. If financial stability, for whatever reason, is the primary value - then rethinking one's career trajectory may be essential. If, on the other hand, creativity, autonomy, or inspiration is the primary value, then continuing along the given path may be the only option.

The question is, what do you most value? Let me know by taking this week's poll.