Aspiration, not arrival

Setting values as a stretch goal

My friend, Jeff, sent me this enlightening podcast (Spotify, Apple), featuring Krista Tippett & Dan Harris.

Krista dropped this line that shifted my view on setting values:

Core values are always aspirational.

Success in terms of leading a worthy life isn’t about perfection. It’s about staying oriented. It’s about the intentionality. It’s about how you navigate and befriend the reality that you’re going to get a lot of things wrong.

Woah! So you’re saying to adopt a “value”, I don’t have to possess it already?
I just have to determine that I want it?
I just have to decide that it’s important to me?

I guess that’s what she’s saying…
But then, the real work begins.
Then, I take action to embody the value in my life.
The more aspirational it is, the more challenging it will be.

But Krista is saying that I don’t need to strikeout the value just because I don’t possess it yet.

It’s like the career advice:

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Except in this case, it’s:

Adopt the values of who you want to be, not who you are today.

If I’m only owning the values that I’ve already mastered, then I’m missing the opportunity to grow.

One of my stated core values is:

I tell the truth to others & myself.

And yet I’ve told lies - some white lies, some grand lies - even in the past week. So any reasonable Judge would say that I don’t currently hold this value. And I would agree. Yet, I still aspire to it.

I’ve determined that it’s important to me to live honestly. I’ve decided that I want to possess “honest” as a trait. I want to let it guide my life.

To do so requires conscious effort to unlearn old habits. I have to work on this everyday. And I’m gonna do my best to live up to it today.

“Core values are aspirational.”

Thank you for the perspective-shift, Krista. Thank you for the reminder that we’re all on a journey of continual growth. A journey that never ends with an “arrival.” And that’s ok… it’s simply our task to keep growing along the way.

What’s an aspirational value that you’ve neglected because you don’t possess it yet?