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-by Matt Leedham

As many of you know, I injured my back in early May while on the road (in case you were wondering, the ‘regulars’ at Northwestern Memorial ER in Chicago are quite charming). Since that time, I’ve had knee pain and neck pain, and three days ago re-aggravated my back injury. As a result, I’ve needed to take a fair amount of narcotics to ease the pain and the muscle spasms, as well as visit a handful of health professionals including orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and chiropractors (I’ll also be giving acupuncture a run soon).

Regardless of the practitioner I am visiting on any given day, I hear two things that are always the same. Whether it’s the physician, the surgeon, the chiropractor, or the therapist, they take one look at my back and say 1) that I’m ‘misaligned’ and, 2) that my back is ‘not happy.’

Seriously, they say my back is ‘not happy.’ I’m not sure if that’s a medical term they learned in their extensive studies of the human body, but that that’s the term they use. And I’m not poking fun at this term as it very accurately describes what’s going on. I mean, my back is NOT happy. I can tell just by looking in the mirror. My spasms are so bad on the lower left side of my body that my muscles are pulling my spine that way – it looks like an “S” shape. It’s actually quite alarming when you see it for the first time – just ask my wife!

So, as I lay there for hours with heat packs or getting an excruciating deep tissue massage, or am all tangled up in a ridiculous traction machine that pulls my spine apart to relieve pain, I can’t help but notice some similarities between my ‘misaligned’ back and our clients ‘misaligned’ lives. More specifically, if someone is not ‘in alignment,’ this often results in them being ‘not happy.’

When it comes to goal setting, life planning, and dream catching, your own personal alignment is critical or you will not be happy no matter how much you accomplish. There are three components in your life that need to be in alignment to sustain happy progression toward a better life. They are:

  1. Core Values. Everyone has core values, but most people are unaware of them or have not taken the time to define them with great clarity.
  2. Personal Vision. We find that most people have not clearly defined a future for themselves, however when they do, it must align completely with their core values. To define a vision for the future that is contradictory to any or all of your core values is to set yourself up for unhappiness.
  3. Interim Goals. The 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year goals that you set for yourself need to be directly tied to making progress on your Personal Vision and should be reflective of your Core Values.

True alignment among these three components in your life will have you engaging in activities that relevant and productive to both who you are and where you want to go.

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