Soul Searching #14: values revisited

When I started my soul searching journey, I first looked at my ‘values’. Over time, it has gone through some iterations and changes, trying to find words that seem to capture what I want to say. In the last few Soul Searching episodes, I noticed myself referring to (or ‘thinking of’) the most recent list, even though I haven’t shared that yet. So today I’ll give you an update. But before we start, the list of previous episodes:

  1. Introduction
  2. Values
  3. Energy
  4. Intuition
  5. Flow
  6. Personality Tests
  7. The human brain
  8. Non-duality
  9. Leadership
  10. Thinking vs doing
  11. Information
  12. Tips for a sabbatical
  13. Freedom and security

My first attempt to write down values was not actually episode 2 of Soul Searching, but a page on my website. At the time of writing (May 2021) it is still there, but just in case I change it later on, here are the values listed there:

  • Honesty
  • People come first
  • Trust
  • Creativity

The second list comes from Episode 2, and are:

  • Being honest and open
  • Creativity
  • Trust
  • People come first
  • Continuous Learning
  • Intelligence
  • Health

And my current list is:

  • Satisfying my own curiosity and drive for learning
  • Personal growth
  • Autonomy
  • Meaningful relationships with people
  • Helping/support/contributing/giving back (still looking for a good word or phrase)

My intention for defining such a list is to find words that reflect things that are unstoppable within me, and give me joy. In a practical sense: if I satisfy too few of these in my life, then I think I will be unhappy.

Let me take you through some of the changes. Over time, I have condensed ‘honesty’, ‘people come first’, ‘trust’ into ‘Meaningful relations with people’. For me, ‘honesty’ is something that I do to form relationships with people, and trust is a reflection (result) of that relationship. I added the word ‘Meaningful’, because I tend to avoid shallow relationships.

I have doubts about ‘Creativity’: I would say that ‘I am creative’, but it feels like creativity is more something that I do (an activity). I still can’t put it into words, but I don’t think that creativity is a driving factor for me.

‘Continuous learning’ is still there in the most recent list, just rephrased and coupled with ‘curiosity’. It might be that my ‘drive for learning’ is in fact driven by my curiosity or by my drive ‘personal growth’. So perhaps it will disappear later on. Then there is ‘Health’ at the last bullet from episode 2. This is another odd one. I don’t feel a drive to be healthy (that is worrying in itself), but it is (of course) a prerequisite for everything else. I left it out for now, with ‘it is too obvious’ as a reason, but I’m not very happy about this yet.

‘Personal growth’ is new in the list. With this term, I mean to say that I feel an internal drive to be – well – complete. It’s a general term for getting to know myself, shining with my abilities, accepting and smiling about my deficiencies, experiencing emotions fully, and feeling content.

I also added ‘autonomy’ to the list. Ideally, I want to do only things that I enjoy. Of course, daily life puts some restrictions on that, and I accept that. But for me, ‘autonomy’ means that I create as much space for myself as I can, in order to spend my time in a way that I find valuable.

The last one in the most recent list is ‘Helping/etc’. This one is under construction, and I’m still looking for a good term. But it is clear to me that that should have a place in the list. That is why I started coaching people: I want to help other people find their way in that messy world of ‘data’ that I work in.

I have a final thought on the applicability of these values. For me, I think I periodically want to check if the things that I do are still sufficiently in line with these values. I probably can’t contribute to all fully at the same time, but a healthy balance should be struck.

Thanks for taking the time to read this episode. Haha, ‘values’ are still a vague thing for me, and this posts reflect it. But that is ok: clarity comes with time, as long as I keep attempting to phrase it 🙂 For now, if you’d like to share your thoughts, feel free to connect on LinkedIn. See you next time!