What Do You Value Most in Your Life?

I was sitting thinking over the weekend about what I value in life and I could really see how what I think I want and what I truly want are two different things.

Often in the past I have said I wanted a particular thing and took steps towards realising that goal, and yet things turned out differently. So why should that be?

Silk & Art booth at Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham

It’s because there’s an inner conflict somewhere between the things I am chasing after with my conscious mind and the deeper-lying values I hold on a subconscious level. I have found it to be true that whenever these two step into the arena to face each other, the subconscious wins every time. No contest.

And this is how it comes to be that I  have often felt defeated and upset that my supposed desires and goals haven’t come to fruition.

The truth for me is that even though I thought I wanted to reach the goal I was chasing madly after, it remained out of my reach simply because I wouldn’t allow myself to go there. Because I held a cherished value deep within me that would continue to be honoured and respected by me, whether or not I knew it.

And so today, when I take stock and look at what I have in my life, I know that despite how things may look, my most important values are indeed being met on some level. Even though I think I would love to travel and work and see more of the world, my deeper lying value of providing a space to nurture my kids in takes precedence over that.

There’s an example of how I appeared to have engaged in self sabotage a few years back which I am going to share with you now. I had, for years, wanted to take part in a trade fair and present some (semi) mass produced silk products of mine. I attended a business course and put together a business plan (see Cheryl Rickman’s book). I then went about developing the products and the packaging, giving huge attention to details and really enjoying the process.

The build-up to the fair was fairly stressful but I had everything in hand. The lists were being methodically worked through and everything was looking good.

I attended the fair and my booth looked amazing. Everything was just exactly the way I had envisaged it. But regardless of how much work I had put into it all, I did not attract the business I had hoped for. Firstly, our booth had had to be relocated at the last moment and we were positioned next to totally unsuitable products. We were in a very off-beat spot and much lower numbers than anticipated made their way round the back alleyways to walk past our booth. However, I believe that nothing happens by chance.

The second more important reason was because my value system did not support me being successful and taking off into mass production. When we returned home and sat down to do the figures, the first reaction was one of – ‘Oh no, what a disaster.’ But within a very short time I could feel the energy shifting hugely. I felt great relief as it became clear to me that I didn’t want to go into business selling printed boxed cushions which were actually so far removed from what I truly wished for.

I wanted to be completely creative, exploring new and different ways of bringing my artwork to the table. I wanted to have the freedom to change direction as I pleased. I didn’t want to be going from trade fair to trade fair, chasing up customers and struggling to meet deadlines in what would be for me boring production.

So after I got over the fact that I had spent a lot of money on this endeavour, I was thrilled to see that I had actually made a lucky escape. And on top of that I had discovered what a talent I had for designing a product from scratch as well as organising taking part in a huge trade fair – the NEC SpringFair in Birmingham, UK. I mean, I didn’t exactly start small either.

And I got to continue being at home. Which was what I really wanted. Being at home with the option of travelling as I choose.

Today I know with certainty that I don’t want to do the circuit of trade fairs with mass produced items; I don’t want to trail around craft fairs with my artwork and I don’t want to stand in a shop all day plying my wares.

And I certainly value myself for honouring that now.

Have you any experience of your true values conflicting with what you think you want? I’d love you to share any stories you have here.

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8 Responses to What Do You Value Most in Your Life?

  1. Hi Fiona,

    the same thing happened to me last year! Finally, I realized the same as you did: I don’t want to sit in a booth or a shop and sell stuff, whether it is my own hand-crafted or another product (it was not my own but the result would be the same). I am glad everything turned out this way and I am figuring out now what (and how) I want to do (it).
    It is such a long process to finally figure out what we really want deep inside.. Your booth looks amazing though, very nicely done,

    Franziska San Pedro
    The Abstract Impressionist Artress

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks Franziska. It’s so important to come to these realisations ourselves, isn’t it? And the process continues. Glad you liked the booth. All in all I learned so much despite it making a huge hole in my pocket.

  2. Tina Lane says:

    Years ago I decided that I wanted to be around as much as possible for my children as they were growing up. I also wanted to provide a loving home environment in which they could grow. The ideal solution for me then was to work in a school. I had never really had a clear direction with my work, I knew I loved art and design but that was something I believed was just a dream job. So I worked hard to qualify and have worked in my local primary school now for the past 10years. I work 1:1 with special needs children and really do enjoy my job.
    Last year after much procrastination I finally started to follow my passion and begun painting on silk. I had wanted to do this for so very long and I’m amazed at the various excuses my mind would come up with! A friend of mine at school who also loves art and crafts invited me to bring some of my silkpaintings to a christmas craft fair. Now looking back there are good points and bad to this story. Basically I made as much christmasy stuff as I could. Along the way I was gaining more experience with the painting process and I loved that. I also learnt that I didn’t like sitting all day long waiting for customers! It was not the ideal venue and we didn’t have many customers. So now I realise that I too do not want to be selling my wares in this way, but I do want to continue experimenting with my artwork.
    As you said things happen for a reason and just to finish off I wanted to mention that although I have been pretty poorly with the flu bug virus over the past 3 weeks, during this time I have come up with several new designs for future silkpainting projects. In the past I have had difficulty with ideas for designs but these just seemed to flow beautifully to me. Where these will lead I am not sure but I am greatful for all I have recieved so far. Maybe one day I could teach silkpainting to the children in my school that would be fun : )

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Hi Tina, thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts. Quite a few years ago I did silk painting in my childrens’ primary school and it went down really well. I totally agree that an illness that seems to throw you back gives you opportunity to reflect and get more clarity on what you want. My flu took a lot out of me and gave me lots back. Good luck with the silk painting exploration.

  3. Judy Szabo says:

    Way back in the 90’s my dear friend Ildi and myself exhibited on a consumer fair in Budapest. We invested a lot of money and work in the 10 day fair and while we had great hopes of selling and we did – some – we hated every moment of it. There were people asking for discount because of a “mistake” (break in the outlining), we got remarks that such a scarf can be bought for the tenth of the price in a Chinese shop etc. We made a vow never to do it again, after all all of the exhibited scarves, pillows and pictures were painted with tender loving care and it is like having your children criticised by people who never had any. This is one of the reasons I refuse to go around to galleries offering my work because I cannot have anyone haggling over something I have put my whole heart in. It is just not for me. And the way I see it it isn’t for you either Fiona.

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks Judy. Yes, if your heart isn’t in it, it’s a no go. No discussion. And the universe always has a perfect way of showing us when we are not in the flow.

  4. Grace Kelly says:

    Great examples here Fiona!
    I have lots of examples of manifesting what I thought I wanted only to discover it did not suit my highest values and loves.
    The funniest one was putting my attention on attracting the millionaire man, all the money to take me places, the Porsche, the Prada you name it, sure I got it but I realized that despite all the “goodies” the aspect of connection and fun was completely missing, I learned that although I enjoy a taste of the good life, connection , learning and some fun are much more top of my list of values when it comes to a relationship. Thankfully I now have that, with a bit Prada thrown in now and again!
    Grace
    http://www.citygirlconfidence.com
    “Live the life you so deserve”

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      I’m glad you got that insight Grace. It’s so valuable to go through that experience. And great to know you still have the luxury in the mix.

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