“You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation.” ~ Gordon B. Hinckley The first step in creating your Excelerated Life is to lay a solid foundation by identifying and living from your Valid Values.
The Parable Of Two House Builders
Two men aspired to build houses for themselves.
The first man, who was wise, selected a firm foundation of rock and built his house on this solid foundation. The second man, not so wise, decided it was too difficult to find a rock base for his house, so he built it on the sandy soil where he stood.
Both houses rose tall and stately while the sun shone and there were no troubles or bad weather. But one day, trouble came. It began to rain hard. Flood waters rose. The winds blew and beat against the two houses.
The house built on rock stood firm and did not fall because it was constructed on a solid foundation.
But the house built on sand had a soft, yielding foundation and it fell with a loud crash. [Adapted from Matthew 7: 24-27]
What Do You Value?
Your values are principles or qualities you deem as worthy or desirable. If you consciously choose your values, then rely on them when you set goals, make plans, consider opportunities, and interact with others, you are choosing a solid foundation on which to create your life.
We all value some qualities over others, but we aren’t always aware of what those are. Or we don’t always live out the values we say we have. When you don’t know or don’t consider your values as you set goals, make plans, etc., you risk having the life you are building come crashing down when bad weather, in the form of problems and crises, strikes. Even if there isn’t a catastrophe, it’s doubtful you will flourish and thrive if you don’t have a solid foundation upon which to build your life.
Living Your “Valid Values”
Values are those principles or qualities that we consider worthy and desirable. Thomas Leonard says: “Values are the interests or qualities that attract you. A value is something you naturally feel is important to you — whether it’s beauty, creativity, family, honesty, friendships, or anything else of worth. You’ll realize its importance by the strength and depth of the feelings it awakens inside you.” [Leonard]
When you align your life goals with your top priority values – your Valid Values – your life becomes more fulfilled. “Our values are important because they help us to grow and develop. They help us to create the future we want to experience.” [Barret Values Centre]
Yet some have never taken the time to think about what traits they deem as valuable, what characteristics they value. Fewer still have crafted goals around their values as a way to expressly honor and live out of their values.
If you are feeling frustrated, if you are struggling, if things just aren’t going your way, check in to see if you are truly honoring your highest values. Honoring your values doesn’t mean that your goals and aspirations won’t take hard work, but the struggling is removed.
How To Use Your Valid Values
To live the Excelerated Life, you first prepare a solid foundation. One of the first steps to build your foundation is “defining and living your Valid Values”. Here’s how to get started.
Distinguish between needs, wants, and values (1).
A need is something you must have for survival and to be your best. “Usually, getting a need met causes you to feel satisfaction.” [Leonard] A want is not required but relates to something you desire to have or experience. “Usually, getting something you want makes you feel gratification.” [Leonard] A value is something you are naturally drawn to, evoked from inside you.
Writing about values in his book, The 28 Laws Of Attraction, Thomas Leonard tells us: “The same thing can be a need, a want, or a value for different people, or for the same person at different times. . . If there is urgency, it’s probably a need. If there is craving or desire, it’s probably a want. If there is a natural and uncomplicated pull, it’s probably a value.” [Leonard]
Values are not “needs”, but sometimes defining your values can help uncover an unmet need. Orient your life around your values. A value is like a theme for your life, such as beauty, creativity, peace, adventure. It is “something you can weave into all aspects of your life.” [Leonard]
Suppose one of your values is “Go West”. (A weird value, I know, but humor me.) If you live in Greenville, SC, you could go toward Memphis or Dallas or Los Angeles or Hawaii or Australia and you will be honoring your value. Of course, you could go north to New York or south to Orlando but that isn’t living from your value of “West”. You won’t find those places as fulfilling as the western destinations.
Or suppose one of your Valid Values is Creativity. You could write, paint, cook, be a top-notch problem solver or try any number of pursuits to live from that value. The specific activities are numerous and varied, and any one of them can allow you to honor your Valid Value.
Let your values be a natural filter.
You can screen the events, people, and opportunities that come up in daily life by holding them up against your core values. “Not sure how to respond (or overrespond) to a person, problem, or opportunity?” asks Leonard. “Run it by your core values. See if it fits or qualifies. If not, pass. If so, embrace. . . [D]ecision making made easy!”
What values does your life reflect today? Are they the qualities or principles that are really the most important to you? When your life — including the people you relate to, the issues you deal with, and the opportunities you seek — is in congruence with your Valid Values, you feel in harmony and balanced. If you are feeling out of touch or disconnected, you may not be living out of your values. It’s a good idea to check in from time to time to see that you are being true to your values, what ever they may be.
Your Values Are Subject To Change
In an article from the website MindTools, “What Are Your Values?”, the authors tell us: “Values are usually fairly stable, yet they don’t have strict limits or boundaries. Also, as you move through life, your values may change. For example, when you start your career, success – measured by money and status – might be a top priority. But after you have a family, work-life balance may be what you value more.
“As your definition of success changes, so do your personal values. This is why keeping in touch with your values is a lifelong exercise. You should continuously revisit this, especially if you start to feel unbalanced… and you can’t quite figure out why.” [Mind Tools]
As your life circumstances change, as you gain different experiences, as you mature, your values most likely will change . . . as they probably should. Thinking from time to time about the things you value highest helps you stay true to them, even as they change.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Years ago, when my children were small, I said that my family was the most important thing to me, that I valued my relationship with them. And I thought this was true. However, my actions showed something different. I spent much more time at work than at home. Often, I went in early and worked late. I brought work home with me and frequently worked on the week ends. Although I said I valued time with my family, my actions demonstrated a different value — work and career advancement. It was only when I became aware that my actions were not in alignment with my stated values that I began to make changes.
Once I made the realization that my values and actions were out of synch, I had two choices. I could change my actions to match my values. Or I could have realized that my “real” values were not what I thought they were and continued to live consciously by the values I had chosen. You have that choice as well if you realize that your actions and your values don’t mesh. Either change your actions to match your values or acknowledge your true values and consciously live by them.
- Use The Valid Values Excelerator to identify your Valid Values. Print the list of values on page 2 of the Excelerator. Then follow steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 to select your Valid Values.
- For each of your four Valid Values, ask and answer these two questions:
(1) How well am I expressing this value in my life?
(2) How am I not expressing this value in my life?
Write down specific examples for each.
- List three changes you can make or activities you can do to more fully express each value.
- Begin making those changes.
A Strong Guiding Force
“Identifying and understanding your values is a challenging and important exercise. Your personal values are a central part of who you are – and who you want to be. By becoming more aware of these important factors in your life, you can use them as a guide to make the best choice in any situation.” [Mind Tools]
When your life is in congruence with your Valid Values — the principles you deem as important and desirable — you feel in harmony and balanced. If you are feeling out of touch or disconnected, you may not be living out of your values. It’s a good idea to check in from time to time to see that you are being true to your values, whatever they may be.
“Some of life’s decisions are really about determining what you value most. When many options seem reasonable, it’s helpful and comforting to rely on your values – and use them as a strong guiding force to point you in the right direction.” [Mind Tools]
Use your values as a strong guiding force to point you in the right direction. That is embracing the Excelerated Life!
Defining and living your Valid Values is one step in creating your Excelerated Life, a life of flourishing, of well-being, meaning, and purpose.
(1) This idea of distinguishing between needs, wants, and values comes from Thomas Leonard, the “father of life coaching”.
Barret Values Centre “Why Values Are Important” Barret Values Centre. Barret Values Centre,,. 11 Jan. 2019.
Bible Gateway “The Two House Builders”. Bible Gateway. The Zondervan Corporation,,. 12 Jan. 2019.
Leonard, Thomas. The 28 Laws Of Attraction. New York: Scribner, 1998
MindTools. “What Are Your Values?” Mind Tools. Mind Tools Ltd,,. Web. 11 Jan. 2019.