Authenticity Life Purpose Self awareness Values

How are your values doing?

When your behavior does not match up with your values, you either change your behavior, or you need to decide whether your value is still working for you.

Over the past months, I have looked hard at my values.

Like my habits, I asked myself whether my values still worked for me. This is a logical consequence of making time to pause and reflect. You have to go deeper to get clearer and go further.

Values are crucial in life and business. Without values, there’s no foundation for the direction you choose and the decisions you make.

Everyone has values.

But many of us are not aware or act on a different set of values than what we believe they are.


You may proclaim that family is an essential value to you, but you’re hardly home, and when home, you’re distracted and don’t make time for your family.

Family is then not one of your values. 

So, change it or no longer use it as a value.

Here’s my example. I’ve used Freedom as a value for a long time. I recently decided it’s no longer working for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still value freedom but wouldn’t call it a core value anymore.

My plans to go online, write a book, and be selective about what work I do and with whom I work were influenced by my value of freedom.

I wasn’t aware, but after a deeper look, I realized I needed to be more committed to some of my ideas. Freedom got in the way. My meaning of freedom was not serving the purpose I was looking for.

Were my ideas really dreams, or just nice things to do that suited my image? You can’t claim you’re writing a book and then not deliver for a few years.

You’re just fooling yourself. 


The dream is still there. The content is there. I need to make the time to get it done. Right now, there are different priorities. I will only talk about it again when it will happen.

Another example.

I love to travel. 

But it became an excuse to explore new places, talk to friends, and be inspired for my work.

But there was no real action connected to it. My travels were not a means to an end. They were the end.

I decided to limit travel to strictly ‘paid for business’ and personal travel with family.

Each trip needs to serve a clear purpose. No more ‘freedom’ trips.

When your behavior does not match up with your values, you either change your behavior, or you need to decide whether your value is still working for you.

I decided to take freedom out and put trust in it.

Trust, as described by Jay Shetty in his book ‘Think Like a Monk,’ consists of four parts:

1. Character
2. Competence
3. Care
4. Consistency

These words each have a strong meaning for me. Committing to my online ambition needs all of the four behaviors.

Let’s briefly reflect on each of them in light of my revised ambitions.

Character is built. You still need to develop it when you are born. Character often gets confused with personality. Your personality is complex to change. Character comes for a significant part from solid values and strong routines. It will need the character to deliver on my goals.

Competence is the one I’m least worried about. I know what I can and can’t do and who I am. I have capabilities others don’t possess. ‘Seeing and hearing’ others is my superpower. I hear what’s not being said and see what’s not being seen.

We could all Care a little more about the people we engage with and humanity in general. The world gets more polarized with every new algorithm that gets put online. 

We’re more and more influenced by what happens on our smartphones and less and less listening to other people’s perspectives. I am a good listener and open to perspectives that are not mine. I care.

Last but not least, Consistency. This is big. When you want to achieve something in life, you need consistency. Plans will always be plans when not executed. That requires a degree of consistency. Committing day in and day out to achieve your plans will drive results and build trust.

My break helped me reflect, become more intentional about my goals, and increase levels of trust.

Your turn: How committed are you to your values?


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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