Living Our Values

Embracing Intentionality in Our Decisions

Originally published for Truth be Told | A Curios Newsletter.

This month’s guest contributor, Danielle Davis, shares more about values, living on purpose, and making values-driven choices. Make sure you read what’s next with a journal and pen handy because these are gems you’ll want to remember (note: this has been mildly edited for brevity and clarity):


You’re at a dinner party. Someone you don’t know well makes a comment you find inappropriate and offensive. Do you speak up, address the person privately, make an excuse to leave, or change the subject? What would you do?

I chose to speak up. My friend later told me he would have changed the subject. Neither approach was wrong; it was a moment of mismatched values.

  • If Personal Peace is your highest value, maybe you leave to preserve your energy.
  • If Advocacy is one of your highest values, maybe you speak up in the moment.
  • If Group Harmony is one of your highest values, maybe you change the subject.

Our choices are deeply influenced by our values, consciously or not. Decisions made without clear values are often filled with discomfort and confusion. However, consciously choosing based on our values fosters long-term peace and clarity -- even when those choices are hard.

For me, embracing a life aligned with my values—living on purpose—has been profoundly liberating. It has clarified my relationships, giving me clarity on who most aligns with my journey. It brought clarity to my professional life, influencing which clients and projects I take on. It’s even brought clarity to where I’ve lived, choosing for years to live in a studio apartment because I wanted to get as close to minimalism as possible. Even in challenging moments, like that dinner party, making choices based on my values helps me cut through the fog in decision-making, and it helps me feel good about myself in the long run.

  • Pause & reflect: Take a moment to think about a time when you felt truly fulfilled, proud, or deeply satisfied. What values were present in those moments? How did they contribute to your sense of fulfillment?

Values are Meant to be Lived

Simply put, values are “a standard of behavior.” They're deeply rooted in our identity and are often formed through significant life experiences, cultural background, and personal reflection. They are deeply personal, which is why there isn’t a “right” answer to how to handle the inappropriate dinner party situation. What aligns with my values may not align with yours. The work is to know the place from which you want to operate and to do that with more intentionality.

Living our values with intention helps us make decisions that feel right and bring more joy and fulfillment in the long run. That said, just because we know a decision is right for us, doesn’t mean it will be easy. For example, saying no to a lucrative client because they don't share our company's values is often tough. Yet, with every decision like this, I'm reaffirming my commitment to what we believe in and building my confidence around my values. And I've experienced the alternative—early in my business, I took on a client whose values didn't match ours regarding staff inclusivity in a strategic process we were planning. The more the project went on, the more disappointed I was in myself for not choosing to honor that value, despite the short-term benefits.

  • Pause & reflect: Think about a time you weren’t proud of yourself. It’s likely because you went against your values.

Values as a Decision-Making Tool

I am living proof that turning our values into the compass of our daily decision-making provides a deeper sense of fulfillment and confidence. But how can we consistently make choices that reflect our deepest beliefs?

Here’s a roadmap:

  1. Identify Your Core Values: Start by pinpointing what's truly important. Ask yourself, which principles do I want to guide my life?

  2. Assess Your Recent Decisions: Reflect on your recent choices—over the past day or week. Consider which decisions made you proud and which ones left you wishing you’d made a different choice.

  3. Set Intentions: Before you decide on anything in the coming days, pause to consider which of your values this decision supports. If there's a disconnect, or if a value isn't apparent, it might be time to think again.

  4. Create Value-Aligned Goals: Shape your goals to mirror your values. This alignment ensures your actions resonate with your deepest beliefs.

  5. Review Regularly: Our values can shift as we grow. By revisiting them regularly, we stay true to who we are becoming, not just who we once were.

Living by our values isn't just about identifying what matters to us; it's about making those values the foundation for how we live and what guides our decision-making.

I’m wishing you a more values-aligned life!