The weather in NC switches so quickly from begin hot enough for shorts to being pretty chilly in the morning, and I always worry about being caught unprepared for the change in the weather.  Earlier in the day I went through my kids’ closets to see which pants from last year still fit and how many they had outgrown.  My daughter only has 2 pair that still fit her, which means that we need to go shopping. 

Kids are so clear on what they really want to do and what they really don’t want to do.  While I was thinking it is a great day to head to the store while her younger brother was napping, my daughter wanted to go play outside with umbrellas on a sunny day with her friend.  Even the idea of shopping for a friend’s upcoming birthday gift was not enticing in comparison to the game she wanted to play with her friend.  (I know what some of you are thinking -- you are the adult; just go to the store -- but if I am being honest, while I want that errand completed, I would rather spend the time today doing something fun too.)

Somewhere along the way to adulthood that clarity of what is important becomes less clear.  We begin to fit the mold of society and conform to what is expected.  I remember climbing the corporate ladder; I was not as focused on my authentic strengths and how I could use them for the benefit of others as I was on my next rung up.  I was moving with the tide of my colleagues in seeking the promotion to the next role. 

My outlook changed when I spent some time in prayer and reflection.  I recognized my core values and remembered what was truly important in my life.  Suddenly, I could see what that next promotion was going to cost me in terms of my work/life balance.  I recognized that the increase in salary and prestige would not alleviate the remorse I would feel for spending less time with my husband and kids. 

Just as my daughter chose the umbrella game over shopping, I chose to end the search for fulfillment through a job title.  I refocused on what was important in my life and began shaping my career around those core values.  Today I find great satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment in the work I am doing because it is aligned with what is important to me.

What are the non-negotiables in your life?  How are your actions currently supporting those core values?