Managing Personal Growth

When I first saw that my employer offered a class called “Managing Personal Growth,” it sounded like a seminar that would help me to obtain a promotion. Advancement. Economic security. Stability. The American Dream. Just what I wanted out of life.

However, strange things happened when the “pre-workshop test” forced me to rank my life values in order of importance.

The values I ranked most important turned out to be love, family, religion, health, inner harmony and freedom. Every one of my high-ranking values was contrary to the life I lived. I had built my career and my life around avoiding time to promote these values.

Some of the values I ranked the lowest on the “test” included wealth, advancement, stability and conformity. Yet those were the areas where I spent most of my waking hours. These values were false gods, yet I worshipped them constantly.

The top three values on my list were all related: love, family and God. Love and affection was the value I ranked the highest. Yet I spent a small fraction of my time actually practicing love and affection. I certainly loved no one at work, and my work schedule forced me to spend minimal time with the family and friends I loved.

Family ranked second on my list of values. Not only did I barely see my immediate family, I often made excuses to avoid going to any family functions. If I did show up, I left as early as possible. Life was too stressful to linger.

Religion, third on my list, was a real joke. I constantly vowed to give my life to God, yet sometimes didn’t think about Him all day. Hardly ever did I feel like going to church. After all, I worked hard and deserved to sleep in late on Sunday.

Fourth on my list of values was health. I knew what I should and should not eat, drink and smoke, yet junk food continued to dominate my life, and I never refused an offer of a glass of wine or beer. I let my self get stressed out every day, and often opted for television over exercise.

The fifth most important value on my list was inner harmony. What a fantastic concept! Somewhat foreign, though. Will I never be happy until I obtain inner harmony? It’s sort of a vicious circle. If no happiness, then no inner harmony. Yet if no inner harmony, then no happiness. No wonder humanity is always torn by the devil taunting us with negativity.

Freedom was my sixth highest value. Yet I chose a profession that chained me to a desk that I detested. Most of my “to do list” was based on someone else’s ideas of what was important. Freedom to be my own boss remained a dream due to self imposed barriers.

In addition, I found that the values I ranked lowest on the test were those that I was committed to the most.

The value I ranked lowest was money, yet it was something I thought of quite often. How to make more, how to spend less, how to buy all of the things I wanted.

Advancement or promotion also ranked low on my list. Yet dreams of the boss’s job and plotting how to advance took more time than dreaming of my so called priorities.

Conformity was the final value that I ranked low. If it was so unimportant, why did I often nod in agreement when I didn’t agree, or long for the material goods of someone else?

It’s strange that God chose a work related training course to finally let me see what’s really important.

Managing Personal Growth was published in “Conscious Women, Conscious Lives“.

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