Do you know why you live where you live? Can you point to one motivating reason? If you can get there, you can set yourself up for a great coming year.
Not too long ago, my wife and I were faced with the challenge of renewing our rent contract. We didn’t want to pick up the family and move. But our landlord raised the rent by over 20%. That’s a lot.
Facing this choice, we looked at our options. And it occurred to me – if I want to make an informed decision, I need to know the reason why we live where we live. I didn’t need a list of reasons, I needed one main reason. Because if we know the main reason, then we can be clear about where we want to place ourselves as a family.
Usually, when something happens for more than one reason, it happens for no reason. What I mean by this, is that we need to be able to drill down to one main reason why we live where we live – one driving motivation. Otherwise, there isn’t a strong enough argument for us to stay living where we are.
This wasn’t a hard, or long, process. It just meant to list the reasons why we live where we live, to brainstorm. And then to cross off the lesser important reasons one by one – the reasons that aren’t particularly bound to our location.
Is it because of our children’s schools? Our proximity to downtown? Our community?
After crossing off a number of reasons, we got to the main one. The reason we live where we live is to be close to the ministry center where my wife serves. She runs an effort that facilitates worship for young Hebrew and Arabic speakers in Israel.
We feel it’s a valuable work, and it’s the reason we live where we live. There are also many people who support her in this. My wife’s work is making a change in the world, and that guides us as to where we put our home and our family.
Why do you live where you live?
I’ve found there are usually three main reasons for this, all motivated by a different kind of relationship:
Is it because of your job? Is that why you live where you live? Because of your paycheck? If so, this may be considered as extrinsic value. Your income is the driving factor for where you place your home. It could be a business, or some other income-related partnership. But if you live where you live because of income, then the motivating relationship is what I call “Trade”.
Do you live where you live because of something other than income? Maybe it’s because of a change you want to see in the world. This is what my wife is doing. And the family supports her in this. Her work with young Hebrew and Arabic speakers is making a change in the world around us. So it isn’t a pursuit of extrinsic value, but intrinsic value. I call this “Partnership”.
Do you have a gift to give to the world? (Hint: you do.) Y’know, that thing that you would do even if no one would pay you for it? Even if no one would listen or care? I believe that we all have some kind of art to give to the world. Maybe you live in an environment that helps you give art – maybe you have a access to a studio, or some local community of artists or musicians. In this case, you live where you live so you can give. This is not the pursuit of extrinsic or intrinsic value, it’s the process of giving away value. I call this “Gift-giving”. This is a very special place to be in. But I rarely see people with families who can live like this. I, personally, try to have some Gift-giving in my life no matter where I’m living. But, ever since 1999, when I was a single guy skateboarding in the streets of New York City, it has not been the main reason of where I should live.
Extrinsic value, intrinsic value, and the giving of value are all valid reasons to live where you live. None is necessarily more important than the other. The important thing is to know the reason, and to be in agreement with your spouse regarding that reason. However, in my life, I’ve observed that Partnership (intrinsic value) tends to be the strongest of all these relationships.
Honor Your Positioning, or Make a Plan to Change It
“Usually, when something happens for more than one reason, it happens for no reason.”
You live where you live for one main reason. I challenge you to drill down to the one core reason why. Then examine what kind of relationship it is: Trade, Partnership, or Gift-giving.
Either that reason sits well with you, or it doesn’t. If it does, embrace it. Keep looking for ways to strengthen your local relationships, your positioning. If it doesn’t, make a plan to change where you live. It might not happen all at once, but at least you can take action steps, week by week. (“This week I’ll look up apartment listings in another city, next week I’ll drive down there,” etc.)
As I look towards 2018, I want to honor my positioning as best possible. As a result, I’ve decided to do increase my own involvement with the nearby ministry my wife serves in.
Let’s plan for 2018 by looking for ways to greater embrace our positioning. To advance in the relationships that we’re pursuing.
Do you know the reason – the one reason – why you live where you live? Looking for more clarity on the matter?
Michael Hyatt, one of my mentors, has a new upcoming webinar to help you get clarity and plan your coming year. It’s called “Navigate Your Way to Success in 2018: 5 Blunders That Can Shipwreck Your Goals (And How to Avoid Them)”.
The webinar is free, but you’ll want to sign up quickly to reserve your seat.