Having the ability to maintain a set of values set in stone is near impossible. I say that, since life changes quite sporadically and unexpectedly, values will change as well (i.e. a couple with big plans to build a nest-egg and see the world before settling down and rearing children, end up expecting; Oops! Current values are a changing). Past values or current ones won’t always push you closer to that dream or goal. They are ever-changing like the path to success. Knowing that, what are my values and how do I set them? I set them for the stage in life I am currently in, with a plan A, B, and C. If I’m handed another basket, then I adjust my balance and keep juggling. After all, their happiness is more important than mine. What I produce has to be perfect, no mistakes; Giving it my all, all the time. However, it’s just a job, and it meets the bills. But next year, I’ll attempt it (school, better job, travel, etc). No time for rest, I can rest tomorrow. Wrong! Those are the old mentality values I had. It’s been a long time coming for a new set of values! I can adjust, but in this new stage in my life, I have had to learn to say, “No. I cannot drive that tractor today.” Maybe it’s not time for me to grab those reins. Maybe, it’s NOT in my best interest or healthy for me at the time. I will re-adjust only after I re-evaluate what is important, to my success or progression, as a mom, a student, and future entrepreneur. “Their happiness is more important than mine; 150% Perfection while giving it my all, all the time!” What was I thinking?!?! No wonder I am exhausted! No wonder I’m feeling deflated. If you were on a plane and the cabin loses air pressure, you are instructed to put on your oxygen mask before assisting others. Well, if I am not at my best, whether emotionally, financially, mentally, or physically, how can I ensure that someone else is? I have to take care of myself first; make sure I have what I need to flourish, both personally and professionally. That feeds into not giving a hundred and ten percent to every aspect of my life. There’s just not simply enough to go around to share! What I can do, is focus on the task at hand, know what I can give and how I should give it, and then do it. I have to set limits and say “No” where it is fitting to do so. If it has to be put on the back burner, then so be it. That just gives me time to analyze what is required to do the needful. The happiness of others is not my responsibility (trust me, that’s difficult to say as I have been a people pleaser all my life). My happiness is solely mine, and I do believe that as long as I am genuinely happy, others will feel and see that, taking a little bit of that into them. I used to think that as long as I had the job and made money, I’m happy. Well, try, as long as I have FOUR jobs, that meet the bills, I’m happy. NO! If it’s just a job, not doing what I love, then my performance will show negatively and be in the red. I was designed with specific talents ingrained in my being to establish the very foundation that my dreams are to be built upon and it is a true disservice and injustice to myself to ignore such characteristics and gifts just to make a dollar. Money, though a wonderful tool, is not important to me nor fame. I do believe as long as I am doing what I love, and it brings me happiness, and inspires someone else do follow their dreams and aspirations while opening their eyes to their potential, then both myself and my chosen profession will flourish. I will grow within the environment that feeds me. I as an employer, would not hire an employee to work in customer service who hates working with people. Only governmental agencies do that. I will take time to rest, allowing my mind to restart and develop more creativity. My creativity and ingenious will get my name out there and be known in the art world. A burnt-out artist cannot produce. To get my name out there, and I don’t mean “fame”, but as an established artisan and creative director that knows her stuff, I will allow myself to compete and not be fearful of it. If I fail, then it a lesson learned to try a different approach and tactic, but doesn’t mean I fail at life and my profession completely. It just allows me to grow, evolving into a more versed and dynamic artisan. Lastly, but probably the most important value of them all, is never to delay my success. Never assume that there will be a second chance or another time will arise. I am not promised today, nor tomorrow and when dreams are put off, a wall of resentment is built that is cemented together with “should-woulda-coulda’s”. Do some of these values conflict? Absolutely. I juggle the role of mom, provider, student, and entrepreneur. I want to be a great mom and do what is best for my children, ensuring their happiness, growth and development as any mom would want. That’s where I return to analyzing my situation/circumstances and reflect on how not doing the needful for myself (returning to school) have negative effects later on down the road, regardless if it is not what they want. I don’t expect all these aspects of my life to align perfectly. That would imply, perfection can be obtained. However, I will make them collaborate together around my epicenter, until at which time I determine which direction and what time, they spin off.