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How Do You Want to Live: Living a Life You Value

"I want to be authentically “ME” always- in my hometown, at the schools I work at, when I’m out shopping, literally everywhere I go, regardless of who is watching." - Lori Schulte Trenkamp

How many of you have ever REALLY thought about what you value most in life? 

A lot of us haven’t, or, if we have, it has been a more surface-level approach, like, “Oh yeah, family’s #1 for me all the way.” That’s wonderful, but what are your other top values? I am a person who is constantly seeking knowledge and I am always trying to understand myself better.  I was reminded of my core values in a place I least expected- when boarding a plane recently.

As I boarded, found my seat, and stashed my carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment, I heard a man say, “Hey, I really like your luggage.”

I said, “Thanks! I’m a huge Baby Yoda (Grogu) fan!”

He said, “Oh yeah, I like Star Wars too. That’s really cool.” 

I said, “Well, no, you see, I’m not exactly a huge Star Wars fan; I’m a huge Baby Yoda fan. I have watched the Star Wars movies, and I have heard the Mandalorian (the show Baby Yoda is from) in the background while my husband watches, but I just think this guy is adorable, so I bought the luggage with his face on it. I actually have quite a lot of Baby Yoda stuff.”

As he gives me a bit of a confused look I say, “I know it’s a little crazy but, oh well, I like it, so I don’t care.”

Another man chirps up from his seat, “Hey, who cares what people think, right?

I tell my teenage daughter this all the time. In fact, we were in New Orleans with some family and her uncle and I held hands and skipped down the street just to show her that it doesn’t matter what other people think of you. She was so embarrassed! But I was like, ‘Hey, you gotta just be yourself, and, besides, none of these people will ever see you again anyway!”

I just nodded, smiled and settled in for the flight. But it really got me thinking...

The thing is, I don’t want to only “be myself” around people who will never see me again. I want to “be myself” around the people who see me all the time. Authentically “ME” always- in my hometown, at the schools I work at, when I’m out shopping, literally everywhere I go, regardless of who is watching. 

Understanding this took a lot of self-awareness, reflection, and a little help from the Developing a Relationship with Yourself challenge offered by Challenge to Change.

The 52-day challenge is all about emotional intelligence, which I definitely need some help with! It's divided into three sections:

Each day offers a new video and journaling prompt that lead you to be more in tune with the why behind our choices and responses to different situations. One of the components covered is- yep, you guessed it- our top values!

We were given a list of what would be considered 'Core Values.' Next comes the tough part where you narrow down your choices to three. It seems easy enough in concept, but the reality is you probably value far more than ten things in life! And let me tell you, some of those cuts are hard to make.

I’ve now done this exercise several times, and every time, one of my top values is Authenticity. To me, this means being me, all the time, around all the different people I meet, and always staying true to that. This is why the gentleman’s comments on the plane struck me so hard.

I’ve learned a great way to notice what we value most is to notice what happens to make us the most upset. For instance, since I highly value Authenticity, I have a very hard time watching people act one way in one situation and a completely different way in another. It drives me crazy!

If you know that your top value is family, then when an important event in your family lands on the same date as some work or recreational event, you know you feel your best by choosing the family event. Even more to the point, as that may seem a no-brainer for some, if you value honesty, but being honest in a situation may be the more difficult route, you use this understanding as a guide for deciding how to proceed. 

Another question you may have is if these values are always the same throughout your entire life. While they certainly could be for some people, I noticed that most people observe they change as other things in their life change. Life has many different seasons for all of us.

I have had all of my children and my husband complete this exercise at least once- and some of them twice. I don’t always get the same top three, but it’s a pretty consistent top ten. Each time I do it, I feel I know more about myself and get stronger in my resolve to use this knowledge to make decisions that are right for me. Isn’t that what this life is really all about- figure yourself out and then give of yourself to those around you.

To that gentleman on the plane who told me his story about New Orleans and being himself around strangers- I say, “Good.” Following our value system won’t always be easy, but it will always leave us feeling the best about ourselves and the decision we make. I choose to be me, authentically, in every room I’m in, to the best of my ability.

And now it’s your turn to decide: How do you want to live?


Join this challenge anytime!

ALL challenges are FREE to C2C Hub members! You can get a free 2-week trial now.

What you’ll get in the Digital Bundle 2.0:

  • 50 NEW videos from Molly for each day

  • EXCLUSIVE downloadable challenge journal

  • Digital Positive Affirmations card deck​*

  • Access to our private Facebook group to connect with Molly and other changemakers!

*If this is your first time joining, you can purchase the Digital Challenge Bundle by clicking here.  I would highly suggest purchasing the physical journal and printed affirmation card deck bundle that Molly created just for this challenge.


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