Sunday, September 13, 2020

My Core Values

“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions.

Your actions become your values. Your values become your destiny.”

- Mahatma Ghandi

Remember way back in February when I wrote this post? Well in that I mentioned that I had recently completed Kelsey Van Kirk's Core Values Assessment: Life On Purpose In Alignment With What Matters.  You can listen to the podcast by following this link, but the download will just take you to an error page, so I'm not sure what's up with that. I tried to see if there was a different link, but aside from signing up with your email or joining her FB group, I don't really see a way to access it. If you want to do an assessment yourself I found this from Family Life which is almost identical. 

Anyhoo! In my original post I had mentioned that I would come back later and elaborate on what I discovered in working through the assessment. Nothing like taking my time, right? But to be honest with you, until this weekend when I was working through eliminating some files on my computer, I had forgotten all about it. So with that, I'm going to be writing a series of posts over the next several weeks and talking through my personal process and sharing what I learned. I'm actually really glad that I came across this again because along with never sharing what I found with you, I likewise never really did anything with it!  Please tell me I'm not the only one who downloads resources from the internet and then proceeds to completely forget about them? But anyway, let me get on with what I learned.

To begin with, it helps to know what core values are. I had a general idea before I even worked through the assessment, but I found Kelsey's explanation helps to explain it better than I could.

Core values are the most important fundamental beliefs that drive us to see, hear, think, feel and make decisions the way we do.

They govern our relationships, clarify who we are, articulate what we stand for, guide us in our decision making, and underpin why we are each driven to live life the way we are.

Knowing your core values is important because when we are aware of what our core values are and honor them in our everyday living, we experience peace, joy, harmony and fulfillment.

When we don’t we end up suffering mentally, physically and emotionally, struggling with feelings of discontentment, frustration and uncertainty.

- Kelsey Van Kirk

In the assessment Kelsey suggests that the only way to know what your core values are is by working through a reflective discovery process.

It's good to start by thinking through any preconceptions you might have, because often you will find that what you actually value is very different from you what you believe you should value. Parents, society, religion, culture, these are all things that influence our perception of what our core values should be.

For me personally I didn't have to put a lot of thought into this step. Having long since abandoned denominational beliefs (I did not abandon God, just organized religion), and without being able to recall my parents having anything to say on the subject, when it came to determining my personal core values I was a blank slate. 

The next step in the process I found very helpful. Kelsey provides you with a list of common core values, (If you are using the outline at Family Life that I provided above, just scroll to the bottom of the page for. similar list). Reading through the list you simply choose the values that appeal to you. Don't worry at this point if your list is long because you will narrow it down later.  Borrowing from several sources, here is the list of things that I value;

AnticipationAwe . Curiosity . Delight . Fascination . Fun . Inquisitiveness . Joy . Playfulness . Silliness . Wittiness . Wonder . Artfulness . Craftiness . Creativity . Dreaming . Thrift . Adventure . Exploration . Attentiveness . Beauty . Mindfulness . Pleasure . Quietness . Relaxation . Restfulness . Silence . Solitude . Stillness . Tranquility . Warmth . Education . Intelligence . Learning . Balance . Consistency . Comfort . Flow . Fluency . Harmony . Order . Organization . Punctuality . Simplicity . Structure . Calmness . Contentment . Depth . Desire . Discernment . Elegance . Faith . Freedom . Gentility . Grace . Gratitude . Happiness . Holiness . Intuitiveness . Peace . Reflection . Sacredness . Satisfaction . Security . Self Realization . Serenity . Spirituality . ThankfulnessVision .

Once you have your big list, it's time to narrow things down a bit, and for this step Kelsey suggests that you work through each value and look for any overarching themes. You can also add too or take away from the list at this point, as well. The big list you see above was actually what I arrived at after I had already weeded through everything I'd originally listed. That was hard for me at first, because it almost felt wrong to eliminate some of them. Still, I knew that for it to be a true reflection I had to arrive at what really mattered the most to me. This isn't about what is right for "everyone", it's about what is right for you. Kelsey then suggests that you choose 5 to 10 of the themes and this becomes your new condensed list of values. Once I worked through this process, each of the values I had listed above fell under one of these themes.


Childlike Faith

Living Intentionally





The next step in the process is to go through your condensed list and prioritize each value based upon how essential they feel to you and how well they represent what matters most. In the list you see above I've already prioritized each value, with Spirituality being number one on my list. 

If this appeals to you and you want to create your own list, I've narrowed down everything I've discussed above to make it a little easier to understand.

 Make a List (Brain Dump) - using lists of common core values (just Google it, you will get more than you need), write down all the values that appeal to you.

★ Condense - Now go through that list and ask yourself if each of the values you've listed is important to and reflective of you. Are they what you authentically values, or what you think you SHOULD value? Eliminate anything that is not authentically reflective of you.

 Categorize - Working through your list, look for themes and categorize each value. Once you have everything categorized, choose 5-10 of those from the list and this now becomes your condensed list of values.

★ Prioritize - Now that you have 5-10 core values, list them in the order of priority that is right for you.

Knowing what you value helps you to establish priorities and will likewise add you in making decisions day to day. It isn't rigid, and it doesn't mean that you can't ever enjoy things that didn't make the list, but overall your decisions, goals, activities and opinions should align with what you value, otherwise your life will lack authenticity and peace.

Once you have your final condensed list, then she suggests that you work through each value and write out your own personal definition, what each of the values you've listed means to you. Then there are some other steps that follow that, as well, but I'm going to stop here for now because my plan is to break each one of my core values down and write about it in separate posts, and I hope you'll come back and join me!

Posting while living on the road has been a little challenging and I'm still trying to work out a system that works, which I think will mean writing posts offline and having them ready to copy, paste and schedule when we have signal. I say that so hopefully you won't be frustrated if it takes me awhile to get new content up. Not that I've been that great even with signal! But this little  space is still very important to me and there are so many things I want to share with you, so I do hope you'll stick around! Also, if you want to keep up specifically with our van life adventure as we travel across the USA, you can find us at Woodland to Wayside!

Until then friends, seek out the ordinary beauty of this extraordinary life!

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