PART 2 - Staying on Course


By Karin Leonard

Last article discussed taking the driver’s seat of your life by assuming full responsibility, and living with purpose. In part two we’ll clarify values, and discover ways to stay connected to what matters to us, even in the fast lane of everyday life. 


 Although not always apparent or conscious, values guide the choices we make. And the more we live in harmony with what’s most important to us, the more fulfilled we’ll be. Values like creativity, love, contribution, family or inner peace are the touchstones which crystallize the essence of goals. When we have a difficult time with making a decision, for example, it may be a values conflict. Let’s assume, for a moment, you are a leading political figure, and you’re being offered a handsome “donation” from a financially very successful company. You know that you could use the money to initiate much needed changes in the American education system; however, you are also aware, that the “generous” corporation has been accused of questionable practices in the third world, and is expecting “favors” from you in return. Would you say that values like “integrity” and “progress” are a wee bit in conflict here?

You can get to clarity about what you hold as important by listing your top 5-10 values. Think about how they show up in your life, and number them. Is that how you’d like it to be? If not, prioritize them in the order you want them to be, and decide what you need to do differently to make it so.


Traditionally it has been the job of religion to provide us with guidelines for how to be in the world. Like “The Ten Commandments of Christianity”, or “The Eight Noble Truths of Buddhism”, or more recently, “The Celestine Prophesy” (by James Redfield) all intend to provide guiding principles.

However, as our species evolves, it seems that our sense of truth becomes more internally located. We must choose our own code of conduct. Principles like “Help, at least don’t harm, all beings” or “Practice compassion instead of judgement”, “Continuously improve everything I do” or “Be fully present in the moment” can put a frame of clear intention around the busiest day. It is helpful to go on an inquiry as to which principles you’d like to include in your code of conduct. These truths, when applied to your everyday, will assist you to navigate through the most difficult waters of life.


We tend to admire individuals who successfully align their actions with their positive values. Consider the Dalai Lama (the exiled leader of Tibet), for example. Even though his culture and people have been severely persecuted by neighboring China, he continues to act on his highest principles of compassion and peace.

It is admirable to come up with a powerful purpose, clear values and an inspiring code of conduct. The proof of the pudding, however, lies in our actions, and how lined up they are with what we hold as important. For instance, what will have you remember a core value in the moment of choice? When under pressure, most of us act habitually, automatically – and hopefully – intuitively. Thinking about your routines - what would have you recall your code of conduct in the middle of busyness? Some folks wear their watch on the opposite wrist, use “Post-its”, or have their watch alarm going off at certain times during the day. And remember, it’s about intention and continuous improvement – not about perfection…

Creating your personal “constitution” make take some effort and experimentation, but it will assist your ship beautifully, to navigate clearly towards fulfilling your dreams and destiny.


For information:   

Karin Leonard & Associates:  (831) 724-5400  

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