This is the first in a three-part series about getting ready for 2019.  Future posts will look at creating goals that align with your values and the kinds of questions to ask yourself to prepare for making 2019 your best year yet.

My boys (7 and 5) are working on their lists for Father Christmas.

I love the spirit of Christmas — time with family, connecting with friends, reflecting on the year just gone, and looking forward to the year ahead.

But, here’s my quandary … I’m not sure Father Christmas is real.

For years, my wife and I have gone to great lengths to tell the story about him coming down the chimney to our boys.

Our sons believe it’s true. I actually don’t know whether he exists or not. Yet I’ve injected this story into the belief system of my sons.

The same way the school nativity play has injected the story about a guy called Jesus. Three Wise Men. The Virgin Mary. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The list goes on.

Part of me wants to own up that I don’t know whether Santa is real or not; the other part is more than happy to go along with it as part of the Christmas spirit vibe.

I understand it’s too early to have that conversation with my sons — about whether Father Christmas is real or not. As they grow, they’ll come to their own realizations about him, Jesus, the Three Wise Men, the Virgin Mary, and Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

What about all the stories you were told while growing up?

The ones told by your parents. School friends, teachers, religious leaders, authority figures, television, even society itself.

And the ones you created yourself from the way you experienced the world?

Everything gets layered on top of what’s already there — the beautiful blank canvas of a new baby.

As children, we make up stories about how the world works and form our belief system.

We grow up and become adults with all the injected values and stories we’ve picked up along the way. But we’re really the same child inside, still trying to work it all out. How this thing called life works.

As adults, we then think all the values we have are ours. All the ‘should dos’ and ‘obligations’. The stuff we’ve learned. Some of which is useful; some of which holds us back.

But they’re not. There are other values too, waiting to be discovered and brought into our awareness.

Somewhere, underneath everything we’ve been told, lies our true values. The things that drive us. The things that make us beautifully unique.

The things that, if mined with care, patience, and love, can help the us discover our purpose in life.

Most of the time, we don’t even think about our values.

We arrive to meetings on time because we were punished in school when we were late. We hold doors open for our elders because our parents told us to be polite. We ‘go to work’ in jobs we hate because we believe ‘that’s just the way it is, as long as you’re making money you’ll be happy.’

Do you ever think about where your values came from?

Why you have certain beliefs or approach life a certain way?

The sad truth is that most of us don’t.  We’re so focused on just getting through life that we don’t think about how we’re living that life.  We don’t think about taking the time to identify things — like values — that are really important to us.

For example, three of my highest values are:  Fatherhood, personal development, and coaching.

I use these values to guide how I live my life.  These values help me make decisions about the bigger questions that life presents. They act as a filter from which to look through to make choices. If something serves my top values, it’s probably going to be a ‘hell yes!’. If not, it’s probably going to be a ‘hell no!’.

Fatherhood is right up there.  My wife and I struggled for years to have a child and when Rocco came along, everything changed.  I knew that devoting my life to raising this little being was more important than anything else in my life.  That feeling increased when Enzo was born two years later. I’m not saying it’s all been a breeze. It’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever had to embrace, but it’s also created beautiful rewards.

I’ve been interested in personal development ever since I discovered it.  I worked with amazing coaches who opened my eyes to such a degree I decided to become a coach and help others who — like me — felt lost, at the same time as being driven to improve and succeed. I knew there was a better way to live but didn’t know where to start. My relationship with personal development hasn’t always been easy, but the challenges I’ve faced helped create wonderful results.

Now that I’m a coach, I help others create lives they love to lead. There’s nothing like serving another human being to help them transform their life and their business. Once again, not easy, but so worth it. It feels good to help others.

Having discovered these three values helped me create the life I have:  time to devote to my children, space to develop myself and pass on my learnings through a business I love that gives back to others.

Win/Win/Win.

This would not have happened if I hadn’t slowed down enough and had the right guides to help me discover my values and purpose. Life would have been very different.

It’s sometimes a bit of a shock to realize that the values you have — or think you have — may not belong to you at all.  They’re left over from growing up and trying to figure out what kind of adult you wanted to be.

You need to peel back those layers of life that have been added to you to find out what you truly want.

A lot of this can be done by slowing down and working with a coach.

My work with clients almost always starts with values.  Values are the foundation for creating a life you love leading and allow you to make decisions with intention and clarity. Having your values defined empowers you to face everything that life throws at you.

They are the foundation for the life you want to build.

Do you know what your values are?  If I asked you, could you name them right now?

If not, it may be worth pausing for thought as we head into the holiday season.

A new year is approaching and with more clarity around who you really are, your authentic self,  it could help you make 2019 a better year than 2018.

And wouldn’t that be worth exploring?

Love and wellness,

David.

PS — If you’re curious about the types of coaching I offer, please visit the services page of my website.  I work with individuals 1:1, run masterminds and host Get Clarity each year in November.  I’m also available to work with leaders to create training opportunities for your teams.