In my last post, I talked about The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. The two authors train athletes and executives to be a success in their careers and personal lives. To find out what’s important to their clients, the authors have them fill out a Vision Worksheet. For the first question, they need to write down their five top ‘deepest values.’
One client put Family for his Nr. 1 value. Yet he was working early in the day until late at evening – and not performing as well as his boss had hoped. So this was a conundrum. How could he work less hours in order to be a better husband and father, and still improve his work performance?
Like any good book, the client’s story has a happy ending. But my story is still a work in progress, and I’m so focused on my writing and way too connected to the Internet that I’m kind of in the same predicament as the client. In fact, when I looked at the worksheet, my wandering mind wandered to my current book, and I realized I know my main character better than I know myself. Her deepest value is Family. Unlike the client, she lives that value. Throughout the book, Family remains paramount, but she gains a second value: Self-empowerment. (That’s high on my list, too.)
In my last novella (to be published at the same time as the book), my main character is a cat searching for a home. Though she’s young, she’s lived in five homes and now she’s in a new one… But she doesn’t want this home. After all the other homes that didn’t stick (through no fault of hers), she wants a home where someone loves her. So her deepest value is Love. (She’d also like this person to be her slave, but ‘love slave’ is oddly not on this list of values.)
In Michelle Diener’s IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, I’d say the paramount value of John Parker, Henry VIII’s Keeper of the Palace of Westminster and Yeoman of the King’s Robes, is Protectiveness. Two other values I’d add to his list would be Bravery and Resourcefulness. In PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen, I think Elizabeth Bennet’s top three main values are Family, Wit, and Kindness. (She also valued Foolishness, so she could laugh at the source; oddly, that’s not on the list either.)
What values would you attribute to a favorite fictional character? If you’d like to share your personal values, I’d love to hear them.