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Your Values are Your Motivation

Updated: Jul 7

It’s Monday and it’s another chance to get motivated, especially after a holiday weekend.


But what does “motivation” even mean?


I love the dictionary so let’s go there for the formal definition:


mo·ti·va·tion

/ˌmōdəˈvāSH(ə)n/

noun: motivation; plural noun: motivations


  1. the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

  2. the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.


So we need reasons to do the things we do.  We also need desire and willingness.


Where do our reasons, desire and willingness come from?


Our values.


We do the things we do because we each VALUE certain things and these values motivate us to act.


So what are values?


Back to the dictionary we go.


val·ue

/ˈvalyo͞o/

plural noun: values

  1. the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

  2. a person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life.



But what if we don’t know what we value?  Or we’re not crystal clear?


Our behavior is impacted.  We question ourselves.  We might even make it mean something’s wrong with us because we don't know why we do the things we do.


As kids, we tend to hold our parents values as our own.  I know I did.


But as I matured into an adult, there were things that no longer felt right for me.


I felt conflicted.  I’m not sure I knew why.  So I experimented.  A LOT.  With my career, my money, my time, relationships, parenting, etc.


Somewhere around 40, still feeling conflicted, I came upon a values exercise.


It sparked me to ask what I value in a purposeful way.


I made a list and then I put it away.  But this exercise planted a seed.  It got me closer to my values.


More recently, I was asked what I value through YouMap.


I picked seven words and defined them.

  1. Knowledge - I want to learn and spend loads of time expanding my knowledge of a variety of subjects.  Knowledge fuels my growth as a person.

  2. Authenticity - Being genuine and true to who I am and not changing to “fit it”.

  3. Growth - The expansion of myself (through knowledge and experiences) allows me to fulfill my bigger purpose.

  4. Creativity - The need  and desire to create in many forms.  Appreciation of others' creations.  Allowing my imagination to see what is possible/could be through ideas.

  5. Freedom - Not tied to a “box”.  Free to explore, free to create, free to design my life according to my values.

  6. Community - Working with diverse groups to build spaces for a better world.

  7. Adventure - A desire to try new things.  Adventure reminds me of experimentation.  Let’s see what happens when…..

I realized that when asked in a deliberate way, I am very clear about what I value and what these words mean to me.


And instead of putting the list away, I printed it and put it in my office where I can see it.


I’m a visual person and seeing my list has become motivation for what I do EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.


So how do you “get motivated’?


You define your values, honor them and let them be your guide.






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