In Values (pt. 1), I explored WHAT role your values play in pursuing an interesting, fulfilling, and meaningful life. Additionally, I began discussing HOW values become actualized in practice.

In Values (pt. 2), I dove deeper into distinguishing between different types of values. These distinctions are meant to help clarify how to use value-oriented living to enhance your mental skills to support the intentions, ambitions, and goals of your current and future selves.

For this installment, I am going to draw directly from Simon Sinek, David Mead, and Peter Docker’s “Find Your Why” to share how to turn your CORE values into prescriptive HOW’s. I will use three of my core values as examples: Curiosity, Creativity, and Depth.

“HOW’s must be actions because they are the things that you do to bring your WHY to life. Traits and attributes, such as ‘honesty,’ or adjectives, such as ‘determined,’ are not actions.”

Sinek, Mead, Docker, p. 174

Curiosity by itself is NOT an action. I have transformed it into a HOW with the following description that is CORE to what being curious means to me: Follow your intrinsic love for exploring and discovering new insights. This is what it means to me to be curious in the way that is most natural and authentic to me. Honestly, at first, I made the mistake of transforming curiosity into a HOW that was describing an aspirational action of curiosity, as opposed to HOW I demonstrate curiosity in the way that is true to me and my WHY. Originally, I had written: “Seek to understand more than to be understood.” Don’t get me wrong, I do want to do this. Hence, why I wrote this down in the first place. However, this is NOT something that comes naturally to me, but I am ASPIRING to get better at it in order to be more adaptable. This distinction also helps to guide my self-awareness , self-regulation , and self-reflection. When taking inventory of when I am at my best (self-awareness), I can think about the times in which I was following my intrinsic love for exploring and discovering new insights. When reflecting on how to improve my relationships with others (S x B= R), I can identify opportunities (S) in the future to adapt my behaviors (B) to prioritize and achieve a better understanding of others (R) over my defense mechanism to want to be understood, due to my fear of being misunderstood.

“Once you’ve articulated your HOW’s, you can strengthen your relationship to them by writing a short description that gives each one some context and suggests what it might look like in practice.”

Sinek, Mead, Docker, p. 178

In context, I have further described Follow your intrinsic love for exploring and discovering new insights as Ponder why something is the way it is. Ask about opportunities for improvement.

  • CURIOSITY
    • Follow your intrinsic love for exploring and discovering new insights
      • Ponder why something is the way it is. Ask about opportunities for improvement.

  • CREATIVITY
    • Think about novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things.
      • Look at the familiar in unfamiliar ways (vuja de)

  • DEPTH
    • Trust your instinct to thoroughly comprehend and internalize what is compelling to you.
      • Be courageous to take the time you want and need to go deep.

Call to Action: Take the time to reflect on and then decide what your three to five core value words/themes are. Subsequently, describe them as a HOW and in context. Therefore, there are two additional levels to the explicit prescriptive description of your chosen value. Finally, commit these descriptions of your chosen values (life directions) to memory.

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