Mapping your way to new purpose – Values

A map not drawn is a treasure not found
A map not drawn is a treasure not found

Yesterday I posted this picture of a blank map. Yep, you get to see it again today. My motto is “A map not drawn is a treasure not found” and you are going to be on your way now to drawing your map and finding the treasure within you.

Sometimes, part of your Empty Nest Survival is rediscovering who you are and what you want to do. One of the steps to that path is truly connecting with your values and for some of us (including me) it was clearly defining what my values were. So, let’s get started!

As you work through the list of words below remember that the end goal will be to define and prioritize what your values are to you now. Discovering your values will help you map your journey to discovering your new purpose now that “Job Mom” is not an every day role. And a jaw dropping realization for me was that yes, our values DO change over time. Believe me, when I was a newly married wife, I never even thought about leaving a legacy. But you can bet now that I am middle aged it’s one of my values!

Each of these words will evoke emotions as you read them. Some emotions will be stronger than others. But for now, you will just read through the list of words without making any judgement, but only to get familiar with the idea that there are so many possibilities for purpose in your life.

Step 1: Scan quickly through the words and just allow your mind to be open to the importance and peace of knowing and finding the path to your life’s new direction

__Being the Difference
__Emotional Security
__Financial Security
__Firm Decisions
__Leaving a Legacy
__Making a Difference
__Play (recreation)
__Respecting others
__Servant Heart
__Taking Risks
__The Arts
__Work with a Meaning

Step 2: Now, read each word a second time. Determine in your mind what each value means to you. Using your first impression, place a check mark by all the words that mean something to your personally. Be sure to take time during this process. Also, don’t try to establish a ranking of the words. For now, you are just asking yourself the question “is this value important to me?”. There are no right or wrong answers. This first scan may have 20, 30 or 50 check marks!

Step 3: Read through the list of words a third time. Now, you are going to start narrowing down your values by circling those that are the most important to you. Oh, and if I’ve left our a value that you hold important, then by all means add it!

Step 4: You are now going to review your list for a fourth and final time. This is where you do have a final objective of narrowing your list to 12 Values. What values stir your heart? What values do you feel you must have in your life or you don’t feel “whole”. Step Four is something you may read through several times. I suggest you work with pencil as I had lots of erasing and changing my mind. To keep myself on track I would ask myself this question “If I were stuck on a dessert island, what values would keep me grounded”. In other words, what values can you not live without.

The interesting realization during this process is that you may find your HAVE been living without some of these values. But now that you are in a conscious state of really thinking about them you realize they are important to your life. This happens many times with Moms. As we mother hen our nest and take care of the family, many times things that are important to us get pushed to the back burner. That is why entering the Empty Nest is so exhilarating! You have an opportunity now to rewrite your life.

I will be truthful with you about this exercise. I worked on it for about a week! Yes, I did! It’s not that I was indecisive. It’s just that I knew I was at a point in my life that I was going to make changes and I wanted to be sure to make the correct changes.

Oh, and remember the cow paths we talked about in the earlier post? Working through the list of words and reading them repeatedly forms new pathways in your brain! You will start noticing that as you have decided what values are important to you influence your actions and attitude. Knowing what is important makes your pathway easier.

Finally, list your 12 Values. At this point, you do want to number them with #1 being your tried and true, die hard, #1 VALUE! So, get to writing, #1 – #12 ! YOU are now drawing your map to your life! Yea!

Remember.. “A map not drawn is a treasure not found”


  • Suzy

    A good way to establish your values. I’m not sure I can limit mine to just 12. Dropping by from UBC.

  • Kim

    Oh, I totally agree. But this is a journey for the empty nest mom to find new purpose. Narrowing down the list to 12 will help in the following posts as she finds what she needs to DO to feel as though she is leading a purpose filled life! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Cheri

    This is a very thought-provoking exercise. I don’t precisely have an empty nest, since my grown son is still at home, but since he certainly seems to have outgrown the desire for mothering, it’s pretty darn close! Plus, since last spring I’ve been unemployed for the first time in almost 20 years, so I’ve definitely had need to re-evaluate the direction of my life, and will still need to keep doing so.

  • Kim

    Thanks for stopping by Cheri! I wish I had done this when he was still at home! I would have saved myself some time. Good luck on re-evaluating your life. I hope I can help you a little bit!

  • Dana

    Hi Kim! This is a great tool you’ve created. All women can benefit from this exercise. My daughter is 9yrs. old. I love being her mom and guiding her to learn her life lessons because one day she will be ready to leave the “nest.” I also believe as women, it’s important to nurture the relationship we have with ourselves. It’s important to nurture our desires outside of our family. I’ll be back to share more of your insights! Happy New Year!

  • Kim

    Howdy Dana! Thank you so much for stopping by. It is so VERY important to nurture ourselves, both inward and outward. Sometimes as mom’s we get so enveloped by the family that we forget that. Blessings to you!

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