May 14, 2007


Posted in personal at 10:08 pm by jimazing

I am learning a lot about who I am (because that’s what 49 year olds do). Recently my friends and I began a discussion of values asking questions like, “What do you value?” “What do I value?” and “What do we value?” Exploring these questions is helping me define what I like, what I dislike and, most importantly, why.

Values are the fundamentals. Just the process of asking what a value is opens up a whole new set of questions. In general, I guess I always thought of values as being virtues. We are supposed to “value” them all. But if I say I value everything equally, I am really saying that I value nothing at all.

Although on some level, I value hundreds of things, it is only helpful if I narrow the list down to a few manageable items. If I could list the hundreds of things I could value, but only focus on the top few things, it would be helpful. In fact that’s what I did. Thanks to John for providing this list of values to start with.

Car Values
I just bought a Nissan pickup truck from Carmax. As I was shopping for it, I instinctively thought about the qualities I valued in a vehicle and chose this truck. Because it was:

  • A pickup truck
  • A brand known for reliability
  • Used
  • Good price
  • Relatively low mileage
  • I could buy it for the sticker price without having to haggle.

Change any of those top values and I probably would have bought something completely different.

Life Values
So the similar, but more important question is, “What am I looking for in life?” Here’s where I found some of the answers to that question:

  • What do I just naturally do over and over? Patterns of thoughts, feelings and behavior.
  • What resonates with me? What makes my heart do a flip?
  • What do I desire to be more intentional about valuing?
  • What do I admire in others?

At the risk of being known as Master of the Obvious, I don’t know what I don’t know. So many things that are important to me now, were not even on my radar just a few years ago. That tells me that values are not carved in stone. There will be things that I learn and am drawn to that will change my values in the future. But it is a starting place. My hope is that it inspires you to think about what you value.

These are the values I identified. If you know me, I hope you will see a picture of me in this graphic:



  1. Paul said,

    I can see some ways that this kind of “values clarification” could be helpful How has it been helpful for you, particularly?

    On an unrelated note, how did you make that nice-looking diagram? MS Word?

  2. jimazing said,

    Great questions, Paul. I am a real fan of great questions too.

    Easy answer first. The diagram was done in FreeMind, which is a great little open source mindmapping tool. You can find it here

    As to how this clarification of values has been helpful to me… if you could see the rest of my diagram, (email me if you would like to see it) you would see that this diagram is just part of the left half of the equation (the “be” side). On the left side of the diagram are: my values, my strengths, what makes me come alive and what frustrates me. These are all about who I am. Exploring these things is taking me to greater and greater depths of understanding who it is that God has made me to be. My spiritual gifts.

    I believe that when the NT lists different spiritual gifts, it is not meant to be taken as an exhaustive list. We are all different and I believe that those differences are there for a reason. I believe that when our talents, gifts and strengths are enfused with God’s Holy Spirit, they become spiritual gifts. The exploration of my own values is just my special way of learning more about who God made me to be. I find that the more I learn about me, the better decisions I can make and the more effective I can be at whatever I do.

    The right side of the diagram (the “do” side), I have listed different areas of my life; roles, if you will. For each of these roles, I am drawing out a vision. I can dream about what life could be like in each of these life areas (my vision) with my values clearly visible on the left side. They help me remember what is important to me. This is the “do” side because it is about what I desire to do to intentionally incorporate into my life who I believe God made me to be.

    This exploration is a process that feel sure I will continue in some way the rest of my life. Why am I so sure? because I have been at it as long as I can remember. I am sure I will find other tools to use along the way, but when I stop asking these questions, you had better check my pulse. Thanks for asking!

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