Rule 12: Live in Alignment

Transformation Through Alignment

“Living in alignment.” Have you heard this expression before? It gets thrown around quite a lot these days and to be honest, it can be one of those cheesey, over-used clichés that gets way too much mileage in an already-cheesey personal development landscape but at the risk of immersing both of us in mozzarella, I thought I’d share what it means to me and how creating and living a life of alignment can transform our day-to-day, multi-dimensional emotional, physical, psychological and practical existence for the better.

So, what does ‘living in alignment’ mean?

“Living in alignment means living a life which is reflective of, and in alignment with, our core values, beliefs and principles.”

Q. What’s the point of living in alignment?
A. Authenticity and happiness.

When our typical choices, behaviours, habits and outcomes are reflective of our core values, then we’re in balance. We’re being true to ourselves. Consciously living a life of alignment produces less stress, less frustration, less misery and even less physical illness. And, therefore, more peace, satisfaction, happiness and health.

Who’s out of alignment?

  • The girl who says she wants to be healthy but continues to smoke.
  • The guy who says he values fidelity but cheats on his partner.
  • The girl who expects loyalty from others but betrays her friends.
  • The guy who criticises others while ignoring his own faults.
  • The minister who doesn’t walk the talk.
  • The speaker who advocates work-life balance while working a million hours each week.
  • The personal trainer who preaches health and self-control during the week while abusing alcohol every weekend.
  • The person who loves nature but never leaves suburbia.
  • The highly-principled employee who turns a blind eye to unethical behaviour in the workplace.
  • Anyone who doesn’t listen to their body.
  • Anyone who ignores their inner wisdom.
  • Anyone who consciously compromises their values.

Sounds good in theory but…

While it all makes sense in theory, sometimes the practical reality of our life situation means that ‘living our values’ twenty-four-seven can be a major challenge. I agree. And that’s okay. Nobody said it would be easy or painless. Everything worthwhile comes at a cost. The question is whether or not we’re prepared to make the necessary investment. Sometimes, the price of alignment is high in the short term but totally worth it over the long haul.

Sometimes, choosing to live our values means taking a backward step in certain areas. It means getting uncomfortable and doing what scares us. It might mean changing, or even ending, certain relationships. It could mean ruffling a few feathers, getting noses out of joint and standing up for what we know is right (for us). Sometimes the right thing is not the easy thing and, sometimes, the only approval we need is our own.

By the way, people-pleasers rarely live in alignment because they are always compromising.  

How did I end up here?

Sometimes, we allow certain situations, circumstances, expectations (of others) and relationships to gradually come between us and the life we want to build and inhabit. We don’t do it intentionally or consciously but we do it. Most of us have woken up at some stage of our journey only to say something like “how on earth did I end up in this place (literally or metaphorically)? This wasn’t my plan. This wasn’t my intention. This isn’t who I want to be.”

So, how can you live a life of alignment?

Step 1: Get clear about your core values, beliefs and principles (not anyone else’s, yours).
Step 2: Build a life around those things. No matter what.

Is it easy? Not always.
Possible? Yes.
Worth it? Definitely.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Adam December 3, 2012 at 4:04 am

Thanks Craig. You’re in-flow today. Beautiful post :-)

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Ian December 3, 2012 at 6:14 am

Great writing Craig. One of the great things about sitting down and figuring out my values was that they are what I want. Not anyone elses idea of what a fulfilling and fun life is, but mine. My life, my way I want to live it. Nothing has helped me beat depression and stress as much as this (movement and exercise comes a close second:).

If anyone reading this hasn’t already, take the time to figure out what really matters to you. It doesn’t have to be a straight list, maybe bunches of related things, keep it simple if that’s what works for you. Above all, go deep inside and ask yourself what do you really really want and love about your life and who you are. What matters? Nut it out over a bit of time. Once you know this stuff the consequences of the choices you make become clearer : if I do A I’ll feel ace, if I do B it just leads to bullshit.

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Jen N December 3, 2012 at 6:34 am

Finally someone gets me! :)

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Heny December 3, 2012 at 9:11 am

Fantastic Craig, it is so easy to get distracted a little bit here and a little bit there and suddenly realise the inner you has disappeared under a load of crap!!!!

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Suu December 3, 2012 at 9:55 am

It sounds (reads?) like a simple enough thing to do – stop lying to yourself and others.
Short and sweet :P
Avagooday all
Suu

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Dave December 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Hi Craig,
Just wondering is 12 your favourite number? Or perhaps have I missed something somewhere?
Dave

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Trish B December 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Thanks Craig. I needed that post today. I had slipped back into people-pleasing mode and forgot that as you said so simply and eloquently: ‘… the only approval we need is our own’.

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chebbieanne December 3, 2012 at 11:30 pm

About three years ago I had one of those what the f..k moments in an ICU ward – so fat I was nearly dead. I made quite a few lifestyle changes and took up a new hobby – sailing – about the most unlikely thing I could ever imagine! Today I went to an international sailing conference as a delegate representing my sailing club. I am the most incompetent sailor to ever venture out to sea by anyone’s standards! I met many great people today including two olympic champions – Lucinda Whitty and Mel Page. Mel let me wear his two olympic gold medals and they and the rest of the delegates applauded me for starting sailing late in life and getting involved in sailing! It is never too late to live!!!!

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amanda December 5, 2012 at 12:42 am

How fantastic Chebbieanne!! Thank you for sharing!!

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