Living a life of value can be challenging.
On the night of December 11, 1995, a 3-alarm fire broke out.
The fire consumed and destroyed the three buildings of Malden Mills, a textile manufacturing plant in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Two weeks before Christmas, 3000 employees faced unemployment. Worst yet, the textile mill was the town’s largest employer of an already struggling community.
If the owner of Malden Mills took the insurance money and moved his company south or overseas where costs were cheaper, it would be devastating for the town of Lawrence.
But it didn’t happen.
The next day, Aaron Feuerstein, a third-generation owner of Malden Mills, told all of his employees that they would receive their salaries for the next three months even though there was no work for them AND he would be rebuilding the plant on the same site.
Aaron said, “I have a responsibility to the workers and an equal responsibility to the community. It would be unconscionable to put three thousand people on the streets and deliver a death blow to the city of Lawrence.”
“Integrity means being whole, unbroken, undivided. It describes a person who has united the different parts of his or her personality, so that there is no longer a split in the soul. When your soul is divided, part of you wants to do one thing while part wants to do something else.” – Living a Life that Matters by Harold Kushner
- Look over the list and pick the core values that feel important to you; some of these terms may feel redundant but the challenge with language is the personal nuance and skewing that the words evoke for each person
- Corral your chosen values into no more than five groups.
- Pick one word from each group that best represents what that group embodies for you, there is no right or wrong answer.
- Write down why this value is important for you.
- Also explore as many possible ways you can express and experience these values in your life each day.
[Adapted from https://www.taproot.com/]
One caveat though, while all values are important, they are not all equal.
Internal motivators rely only on your own inner compass for aligning with.
For example, adventure, compassion, peace, and simplicity are based on your personal experience.
While external motivators and your success with them are often out of your control.
Acceptance, success, respect, and wealth are some common examples. One way to circumvent this trap, is to preface the word with “self”; self-acceptance, self-respect, etc.
So What Happened to Malden Mills?
Before we continue, I would be remiss to not tell you how it all worked out for Lawrence Massachusetts and Malden Mills.
Aaron Feurestein did follow-through with his promises. He paid his employees and rebuilt the mill.
That first year, all but 400 people had a job waiting for them when the mill resumed full operations.
And productivity rose by 40 percent among his employees.
But the challenges, the cost of building the new facility and the changing economy of the textile industry were difficulties too great to overcome.
Malden Mills filed for bankruptcy, first in 2001 when Feuerstein had to give up his position as CEO.
Then again, in 2007 when he was bought out by a Boston investment group.
In 2016, the group eventually did what Feuerstein tried to avoid in 1995. They moved part of the operations south to Tennessee, and the rest, overseas.
So was it worth it?
That’s up to each person to determine for themselves.
Living a life by your values does not guarantee that your life will be easier.
It just guarantees that you can look at yourself in the mirror, standing tall, and without regret.
Putting It On the Mat
- From the list, pick the values that resonate with you.
- Group them in themes, but no more than five groups.
- Pick the one word that best describes those values for you.
- Each day, take one of those values and come up with ways to experience and express that value.
- Rotate those values each day of the week, building them into daily habits.
My example for this exercise showed that my values are:
|Physical||health, strength, power, vitality, balance, boldness, challenge|
|Mental||intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, clarity, truth, curiosity
logic, influence, ambition
|Emotion||friendship, relationship, caring, openness, gratitude, attentive,
|Spirit||love, family, connection, community, authenticity
security, kindness, integrity
|Energy||adventure, spontaneity, awe, wonder, awareness, fun, zeal,
How I want to experience, express and share my values can be summed up easily.
- For physical vitality – I schedule exercise, stretching, meditation, green smoothies, and proper rest each and every day.
- For mental wisdom – I make sure to read each day, journal each week, and connect & communicate with as many diverse intelligent people as possible
- For emotional openness, I do my best to live life knowing that no one can take anything from me that I do not give them. That there is nothing to be ashamed of and to live life fully without worrying about what “they” think.
- For spiritual connection – I seek to maintain and build strong healthy relationships with family, friends, and the strangers I meet each day. I will also take time each day to reconnect with myself through self-care, reflection, and silence.
- For abundance and awe – remember that we have been gifted with a beautiful playground to explore, appreciate, and enjoy. I will do my best each day to give myself opportunities for gratitude, wonder, and adventure.
A List of Values to Live By
- Abundance – overflowing fullness
- Acceptance – assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition without attempting to change it or protest it
- Accountability – willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions
- Accuracy – the condition or quality of being true, correct, or exact; freedom from error or defect; precision or exactness; correctness
- Achievement – something accomplished, especially by superior ability, special effort, great courage, etc.; a great of heroic deed
- Adaptability – able to adjust oneself readily to different conditions
- Advancement – the process of promoting a person, cause or plan
- Adventure – participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises
- Advocacy – the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending; active espousal
- Alertness – fully aware and attentive; wide-awake; keen
- Altruism – the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others
- Ambition – an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment
- Amusement – the state or experience of finding something funny
- Appreciation – the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value
- Assertiveness – confident and forceful behavior
- Attentive – thoughtful of others; considerate; polite; courteous
- Attractiveness – the quality of being pleasing or appealing to the senses
- Authenticity – the quality of being authentic; genuineness
- Authority – the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine
- Autonomy – independence or freedom, as of the will or one’s actions
- Awareness – concern about and well-informed in a particular situation or development
- Awe – an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like
- Balance – a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.
- Beauty – the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest)
- Being the Best – surpassing all others in excellence, achievement, or quality; most excellent
- Benevolence – desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness
- Boldness – not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring; not hesitating to break the rules of propriety; forward; impudent
- Bravery – courageous behavior or character
- Brilliance – excellence or distinction; conspicuous talent, mental ability, etc.
- Calmness – the state or quality of being free from agitation or strong emotion
- Candor – the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression
- Capable – having power and ability; efficient; competent
- Carefree – without anxiety or worry
- Careful – taking pains in one’s work; exact; thorough
- Caring – to be concerned or have a special preference
- Certainty – firm conviction that something is the case
- Challenge – a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill, strength, etc
- Charity – benevolent feeling, especially toward those in need or in disfavor
- Chastity – the state of refraining from sexual activity except for health or offspring
- Cheerfulness – the quality or being noticeably happy or optimistic
- Citizenship – the character of an individual viewed as a member of society; behavior in terms of the duties, obligations, and functions of a citizen
- Clarity – clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity
- Cleanliness – personally neat; careful to keep or make clean
- Clear – easy to perceive, understand, or interpret
- Cleverness – showing inventiveness or originality; ingenious
- Collaboration – the action of working with someone to produce or create something.
- Comfort – to soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to
- Commitment – a pledge or promise; obligation
- Common Sense – good sense and sound judgment in practical matters
- Communication – the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs
- Community – a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists
- Compassion – a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering
- Competency – having suitable or sufficient skill, knowledge, experience, etc., for some purpose; properly qualified
- Concentration – the action or power of focusing one’s attention or mental effort
- Confidence – a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities
- Connection – a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else
- Consciousness – the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings
- Consistency – conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness
- Contentment – a state of happiness and satisfaction
- Contribution – to give (money, time, knowledge, assistance, etc.) to a common supply, fund, etc., as for charitable purposes
- Control – the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events
- Conviction – a fixed or firm belief
- Cooperation – an act or instance of working or acting together for a common purpose or benefit; joint action
- Courage – the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery
- Courtesy – excellence of manners or social conduct; polite behavior
- Creativity – the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination
- Credibility – the quality of being believable or worthy of trust
- Curiosity – the desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness
- Daring – bold or courageous; fearless or intrepid; adventurous
- Decisiveness – characterized by or displaying no or little hesitation; resolute; determined
- Dedication – the quality of being committed to a task or purpose
- Dependability – the quality of being trustworthy and reliable
- Determination – the quality of being resolute; firmness of purpose
- Devotion – earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.
- Dignity – bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation
- Discipline – activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training
- Diversity – the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc.
- Drive – an innate, biologically determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need
- Effectiveness – successful in producing a desired result; success.
- Efficiency – accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort
- Empathy – the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another
- Empower – make someone stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.
- Encouragement – the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope
- Endurance – the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina:
- Energy – the capacity for vigorous activity; available power
- Enjoyment – the state or process of taking pleasure in something
- Enthusiasm – intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.
- Equality – the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities
- Ethics – with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions
- Excellence – the quality of being outstanding or extremely good
- Experience – knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered, or undergone
- Exploration – the action of traveling in or through an unfamiliar area in order to learn about it; thorough analysis of a subject or theme
- Expressiveness – the quality of effectively conveying a thought or feeling
- Fairness – the state, condition, or quality of being free from bias or injustice; even-handedness
- Faith – confidence or trust in a person or thing
- Fame – widespread reputation, especially of a favorable character; renown; public eminence
- Family – traditional or cultural value that pertain to the family’s structure, function, roles, beliefs, attitudes, and ideals
- Fearlessness – bold or brave; intrepid
- Feelings – readily affected by emotion; sympathetic
- Fidelity – loyalty; strict observance of promises, duties, etc; accuracy to fact or detail
- Flexibility – susceptible to modification or adaptation; adaptable; willing or disposed to yield; pliable
- Focused – ability to direct one’s attention or efforts
- Foresight – care or provision for the future; prudence
- Forgiveness – the quality, disposition or willingness to display actions of forgiving or being forgiven
- Freedom – the power to determine action without restraint; personal liberty
- Friendship – a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile
- Frugality – the quality of being economical with money or food; thriftiness
- Fun – enjoyment or playfulness
- Generosity – freedom from meanness or smallness of mind or character; readiness or liberality in giving
- Genius – an exceptional capacity of intellect, especially in creative and original work in science, art, music, etc.
- Goodness – the state or quality of having moral excellence; virtuous; righteous
- Grace – elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action
- Gratitude – the quality or feeling of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
- Greatness – the quality of being unusual or considerable in degree, power, intensity, etc.
- Growth – the act or process, or a manner of growing; development; gradual increase
- Happiness – good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy
- Hard Work – quality of applying a great deal of effort or endurance
- Harmony – the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole, agreement, or concord
- Health – the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor
- Honesty – freedom from deceit or fraud
- Honor -honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions
- Hope – the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
- Humility – the quality or condition of being of modest opinion or estimate of one’s importance, rank, etc.
- Humor – the faculty of perceiving and/or expressing the amusing or comical
- Imagination – the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images, or concepts of external objects not present to the senses; the ability to be creative or resourceful; ability to face and resolve difficulties
- Improvement – the quality that makes something better
- Inclusiveness – the practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized
- Independence – freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others
- Individuality – the quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind, especially when strongly marked
- Industrious – diligent and hard-working
- Influence – the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others
- Inner Harmony – feeling of peace of mind that involves self-acceptance, acceptance of the past, and acceptance of one’s life in general
- Innovation -something new or different introduced; displaying or introducing a new method, idea, product, etc.
- Inquisitive – eager for knowledge; intellectually curious
- Insightful – having or showing an accurate and deep understanding; perceptive
- Inspiration – the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative
- Integrity – the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness
- Intelligence – the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills
- Intensity – great energy, strength, concentration, vehemence, etc., as of activity, thought, or feeling
- Intuition – direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension
- Joy – the expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety
- Judicious – marked by the exercise of good judgement in practical matters
- Justice – the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness
- Kindness – the state or quality of being of a good or benevolent nature or disposition
- Knowledge – acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition
- Lawful – acting or living according to the law; law-abiding
- Leadership – a person who guides or directs a group
- Learning – the act or process of acquiring knowledge or skill
- Liberty – freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice
- Logic – the science that investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inference
- Love – a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person, belief, object, location, etc.
- Loyalty – faithful to one’s oath, commitments, or obligations
- Making a Difference – to cause change; to be important in some way
- Mastery – expert skill or knowledge; command or grasp, as of a subject
- Meaningful – perceives an authentic connection between work and a broader transcendent life purpose beyond the self
- Mindfulness – a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations
- Moderation – the avoidance of excess or extremes, especially in one’s behavior
- Open-Mindedness – willing to consider new ideas; unprejudiced
- Openness – lack of secrecy or concealment; frankness
- Optimism – a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome
- Order – to give structure, organization or arrangement to
- Originality – the ability to think independently and creatively; the quality of being novel or unusual
- Passion – strong and barely controllable emotion; an intense desire or enthusiasm for something
- Patience – the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset
- Peace – a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations
- Perfection – the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects
- Perseverance – persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success
- Persistence -firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition
- Personal Development – the quality of growth, learning, advancement over a period of time; refinement
- Playfulness – the quality of being light-hearted or full of fun
- Pleasure – enjoyment or satisfaction derived from what is to one’s liking; gratification; delight
- Poise – a dignified, self-confident manner or bearing; composure; self-possession
- Popularity – the favor of the general public or of a particular group of people
- Power – the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events
- Preparedness – a state of readiness, especially for challenges, difficulties, or conflict
- Proactive – creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened
- Process-Oriented – emphasizes or focuses on processes, systems, or procedures rather than results or underlying causes.
- Productive – achieving a significant amount or result
- Professionalism – the standing, practice, or methods of a professional, as distinguished from an amateur
- Prosperity – a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, especially in financial respects; good fortune
- Punctuality – strict observance in keeping engagements; promptness
- Purpose – determination; resoluteness; to set as an aim, intention, or goal for oneself
- Quality – producing or providing products or services of high quality or merit
- Quiet – characterized by an absence of agitation or activity
- Quick-Witted – mentally nimble and resourceful
- Realistic – interested in, concerned with, or based on what is real or practical
- Reasoned – underpinned by logic or good sense
- Recognition – the acknowledgment of achievement, service, merit, etc.
- Recreation – a pastime, diversion, exercise, or other resource affording relaxation and enjoyment
- Reflective – given to, marked by, or concerned with meditation or deliberation
- Relationships – an emotional or other connection between people; a connection, association, or involvement
- Reliability – the ability to be depended on, as for accuracy, honesty, or achievement.
- Religion – something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience
- Reputation – the estimation in which a person or thing is held, especially by the community or the public generally
- Resilience – ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy
- Resolve – the quality or ability to decide firmly on a course of action; the ability to find a solution
- Respect – esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability
- Resourcefulness – able to deal skillfully and promptly with new situations, difficulties, etc.
- Responsibility – the state or fact of being answerable, or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management
- Restraint – a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits
- Results-Oriented – describe an individual or organization that focuses on outcome rather than process used to produce a product or deliver a service
- Reverence – deep respect for someone or something
- Rigor – the quality of being extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate
- Risk Taking – willing to take risky action in the hope of a desired result
- Safety – freedom from the occurrence or risk of injury, danger, or loss
- Satisfaction – fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this
- Security – freedom from care, anxiety, or doubt; well-founded confidence
- Self-Control – the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations
- Selflessness – concern more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own
- Self-Reliance – reliance on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others
- Self-Respect – proper esteem or regard for the dignity of one’s character
- Sensitivity – the state or quality of being susceptible to stimulation whether physical, emotional, etc.
- Serenity – the state or quality of being calm, or tranquil
- Service – an act of helpful activity; help; aid
- Significance – the quality of having a meaning, importance, or consequence
- Silence – do not speak unless for the benefit of others or yourself; avoid trifling conversations and gossip
- Simplicity – the quality or condition of being easy to understand or do; of being plain or natural
- Sincerity – the quality of being free from pretense, deceit, or hypocrisy
- Smart – having or showing quick intelligence or ready mental capability
- Solitude – the state of being or living alone; seclusion
- Spirituality – the quality or fact of being spiritual or other-worldliness
- Spontaneity – performed or occurring as a result of a sudden inner impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus
- Stability – steadfastness; constancy, as of character or purpose
- Status – the position of an individual in relation to another or others, especially in regard to social or professional standing
- Stewardship – the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving
- Strength – the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure
- Structure – the quality of being organized
- Success – the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals
- Supportive – providing sympathy or encouragement; providing additional help, information, etc.; auxiliary
- Status – the position of an individual in relation to another or others, especially in regard to social or professional standing
- Sustainability – the quality and/or ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
- Talent – natural aptitude or skill; a capacity for achievement or success; ability:
- Teamwork – the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient
- Temperance – habitual moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion, especially in the use of alcoholic liquors
- Thankfulness – the ability of feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.
- Thoroughness – the ability to be extremely attentive to accuracy and detail; painstaking:
- Thoughtfulness – showing consideration for others; considerate
- Tolerance – a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry
- Toughness – the state of being strong enough to withstand adverse conditions or rough handling
- Tranquility – the quality or state of being calm
- Transparency – the quality of being easily seen through; honesty and openness
- Trustworthiness – deserving of reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, or confidence; dependable; reliable
- Truth – the quality or ability to see the world as it is without prejudice or bias
- Understanding – sympathetically aware of other people’s feelings; tolerant and forgiving
- Uniqueness – the quality of being particularly remarkable, special, or unusual.
- Valor – great courage in the face of danger, especially in conflict
- Versatility – ability to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities
- Victorious – winner of a contest; conquering; triumphant
- Vigor – active strength or force; healthy physical or mental energy or power; vitality
- Vision – the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be
- Vitality – exuberant physical strength or mental vigor; capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence
- Warmth – liveliness of feelings, emotions, or sympathies; ardor or fervor; enthusiasm or zeal
- Wealth – the state of being rich; prosperity; affluence
- Welcoming – behaving in a polite or friendly way to a guest or new arrival.
- Well-being – the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.
- Wisdom – the quality or state of having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; possessing discernment, judgment, or discretion
- Wonder – a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable
- Zeal – great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective