I believe it is incredibly important to begin to put words to what you love and what you stand for, and begin to create your vision of what your life’s work will be. That can sound overwhelming, I know, but when we are able to find what makes us come alive and act on that passion, we become part of creating a world full of beauty and awesomeness.
Personally, this recognition of passions and values has been central to creating our business, Teysha. Founded on the belief that all people deserve the opportunity to express themselves, follow their passions and connect to others, Teysha is an international social enterprise creating a model of full-circle empowerment. Working directly with expert textile creators, cobblers, leather workers and other skilled craftspeople, Teysha seeks to create one-of-a-kind, quality and functional goods that celebrate and connect these traditional art forms.
Our work is a direct reflection of what we love, what we want to see in the world and what we care about. When the idea of the company was just a seed, we spent a lot of time thinking about what we had felt most passionate about in school, in our travel experiences, in life, what got us riled up, what we wanted to change and what we wanted to create more of. We realized that a lot of our most impactful experiences happened while we were living outside of our comfort zone, connecting with others, and spending time in nature. Our business will constantly evolve, but it will always stay true to our values.
I would love to share a great exercise to begin identifying your values, which was shared with me by the Academy of Conscious Leadership, called Mountains and Valleys. Through this reflection, you can start to see how the dots in your life connect and it can help illuminate your path moving forward.
1) Find a relaxing space with your journal.
2) Draw a horizontal line across the middle of your page, the more space you have, the better, so you may want to turn the paper to landscape mode.
3) Now, divide the line into 5-year increments up to your current age. (If you’re 25, draw 5 lines)
4) Now reflect back and start to plot on the map the high points -- mountains, and the low points -- valleys. On the first pass-through, jot down the memory or event. The mountains are meant to be on the top half of the page, the valleys on the bottom. Aim for 10 or so memories to get started.
5) Continue to go through your past to the present moment.
6) Now go back to the events and jot down values that you feel were either present in the mountains or absent in the valleys. The list of values is endless, but SOME examples are: abundance, acceptance, adventure, audacity, balance, calmness, charity, education, elegance -- you get the idea.
7) After looking at your map and adding as many values as feels right, look back and see if there are any common themes among the mountains and the valleys -- are there words that popped up more than once? Were there any events that appear more or less related looking back than they did at the time?
8) Start to compile your list of 5 or so of your top values -- the ones that you’ve seen in your happiest moments and missed in your valleys. Think about the values and how they connect to both where you’ve been and where you want to go. I think this exercise is also great to see what sorts of situations you felt passionate about as well.
Many times these values are things that have been unspoken or just underneath the surface, so coming back to this list of values and doing exercises such as this is so helpful in starting to communicate who we are to the world and why we’re here.
As a WildSpice contributor, I hope to help create a space to learn from, to inspire and be inspired, and to help bring and lead you to some tools needed to take action and change the world. Whether it’s entrepreneurial learnings, inspiration, travelogue or whatever else comes, I would love to hear from you about what kinds of things you’d like to hear more on.
Article and photo by Sophie Eckrich