Ladder of Values

The reason “ladder” caught my ear during the conversation referenced in yesterday’s post, is that it implies prioritization. The concept of identifying core values isn’t new, but putting them in order of priority sounds hard to me. I’m inclined to not want to do that work. Which tells me that it’s probably important to do it. So here is my “ladder of values” in order of priority:

  1. Integrity
  2. Authenticity
  3. Commitment
  4. Trust
  5. Partnership
  6. Sense of Purpose
  7. Community
  8. Accountability
  9. Productivity
  10. Achievement

Integrity: To me this reflects the quality of human I want to be. I intend this to cover the integrity of my whole being. The value of integrity would motivate my choice to do the right thing, even when it’s really difficult. It would motivate my choice to tell hard truths. It would also motivate my choice to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and not have wine for dinner (distinguish from wine with dinner).

Authenticity: Authenticity describes my desire to ensure my narrative is internally and externally consistent. Is the story I tell myself about who I am and what is important to me the same as the story I tell my partner, friends, family, and the rest of the world? It should be.

Commitment: I need to stay committed to my values, my obligations, and my goals. I need to consistently demonstrate commitment to other people so they can trust me.

Trust: I need to trust other people, they need to know I do, and they don’t have to earn it. I saw a quote about relationships recently that said something along the lines of, “the only way to know if you can trust someone is to trust them.”

Partnership: When the previous four values are firmly held, it should in theory make me a better partner. Nurturing reciprocal partnership is very important to me.

Sense of Purpose: I can sense an understanding of this just over the horizon. I’m not quite there yet.

Community: I want to surround myself with people–friends, family, colleagues–who give me energy. I want to support them and feel their support in return. I want to be proactive about nurturing relationships with people who are important to me. I’m currently terrible at this.

Accountability: I need to be accountable to myself. I need to be accountable to my partner. I need to be accountable to my community. And I need to be big-picture accountable, like to future generations or something. That last one feels like I’m going to need to start thinking about taking shorter showers and I really hate that.

Productivity: It feels important to me to get things done.

Achievement: It feels important to me to get important things done.

This was an extremely valuable exercise for me. The prioritization part is key. I’d recommend taking the time to think about your own ladder of values. If you do, considering sharing in the comments.

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