Imagine someone waking you up in the middle of the night requesting to name the three most important qualities of yours. Your life depends on naming those three that truly define who you are. What would your three words be?
I know this example might seem extreme, but to me clearly defining your three value words is the matter of living. No, it’s not a question of life and death. Rather, it is about thriving versus surviving. Numerous psychology studies have shown that people who have clarity about their values, dreams and goals are generally happier, have higher self-esteem, better productivity and greater confidence.
Picking just three words instead of writing a whole essay is not as easy as it may seem at a first glance. You need to cover the values you believe in, the way you want to live your life and what kind of a person you are striving to be – in three words only. When those words are chosen, you are on a good way of finding joy in life. You create an awareness of your ultimate goal, and this clarity can help you big time on the way. These three magic words become your compass in everyday life. See, this is not an exercise you do once a year at the end of December and then forget about what you have written.
The true levelling up of your life is in getting your value words engrained in your mind – so much that your actions start aligning to them automatically. Let’s take my words as an example to see how you can pick the words and then practise being guided by them.
I have chosen Present, Unstoppable and Beautiful as my Magic Three.
When trying to brainstorm the words, I struggled with coming up with ideas for the characteristics of a person. So I googled a list of those and just started “trying” each of them on myself checking whether they felt like a fit. I ended up with over a dozen words. Then I took a marker and highlighted half of the words that I felt strongest about. Later I halved that list again, and again – until I had three words only. Why did I choose exactly those words?
I want to live my life to the fullest, and for that, I want to feel Unstoppable – meaning my fears, expectations of others and external circumstances shall not define how I contribute to the world. I don’t want to play small just to fit in, neither do I want to aim high only because everyone else might be doing so.
I need to find my way of serving this world – and then to stick to that. I want to feel joy in life. And for me, joy cannot lie in the past, neither can it be found in the future. I need to stay Present to be able to feel joy in everyday moments, in my wins and failures, and in the relationships I have.
My choice of Beautiful is not about the perfect skin tone or ideal curves of the body. I want to always prioritise self-care – mentally, physically and emotionally – to be able to serve the world for many more decades. I want to continuously be working on my self-esteem so that I can remember that I am enough and worthy of love (including my love) – no matter how shitty the day is. I want to move my body and challenge it to feel strong and capable of much. So every time I think about my value word “beautiful”, my mind runs through a quick checklist with all of the above – Am I taking care of my body, my brain, my soul? How do I look? How does my look make me feel? What can I do now to stay strong and get even stronger?
As you see, my value words might mean something very different to you than what I think of. What’s important is that the Magic Three that you pick are meaningful to you. They need to ignite a spark in you, be a strong reminder of what you want to leave as a trace in this world.
When your value words are chosen, it’s time to integrate them into your life, the way you think and act. Put reminder for yourself – as post-its, a poster on a wall, a bracelet on your wrist, a collage as a desktop background, alarms on your phone, etc. There are a million ways to recap your trade, so just experiment to find what works for you. The goal is to have quick mental check-ins in different moments of your day to think “Do I act as the best version of myself right now?”
I have set three alarms on my phone that goes off every workday, labelled them with my three words in capital letters, put a calm and pleasant chime sound to them. This is a suggestion from one of the top high-performance coaches in the world, Brendon Burchard. In his book “High-Performance Habits” he has other ideas for triggers and reminders. Once you are all set up with your Magic Three and reminders about them, it’s time to practice living into the role of the best version of thyself. It’s easy to just get used to the alarms and switch them off on autopilot to continue whatever you are doing. I know it cause yours truly is guilty of that herself. When I catch myself on auto-piloting, I start laughing to the irony of having Present as one of my three words. And these moments are precious to me because they show me my progress.
Thanks to doing the work to define the Magic Three, I got a new level of awareness of what my inner compass is. Thanks to the daily reminders, I more and more live my life accordingly. And the more I practice, the less I need those alarms. I tend to catch myself on derailing much sooner, which makes it so much easier to get back on track every time. This whole process is boosting my confidence, improving my productivity and bringing more good to the world – cause I stay focused on my mission instead of running after every distraction. So, if you would be woken up in the middle of the night, which three words would you name as your inner compass guiding to the best version of thyself?
If you enjoyed doing this exercise and you’d like more of them, then you will love my three-day free challenge coming up next week! For three days – between May 12 and 14, I will be guiding you to a more peaceful and powerful you. Register for the challenge here, and I will see you on the inside!
With all my love and care,