Personal Values & Collective Contribution

It is a common human desire to feel that we matter, that we contribute something notable and significant, that our existence adds value to the world.

Understanding our personal value through a community context highlights the tension we face every day between personal significance and collective value.

We want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, but adding value collectively requires that we pursue excellence personally.

If we allow external pressures to define our personal values, we not only sacrifice our opportunity to be the best of ourselves, we allow our energies to be consumed by an inconstant, uncertain, and unattainable goal. Any success is bittersweet, as it reflects the ability to be unobjectionable more than it signifies legitimate influence or genuine personal contributions.

Relinquishing the authority to exercise agency over our personal values undermines our ability to establish healthy boundaries and fuels anxiety, frustration, resentment, and insecurity.

Paradoxically, the more our values inform our decisions, the greater our potential to influence and contribute in all areas of our life.  Simon Sinek, a noted author and speaker, offers a great illustration of this principle in his 2009 Ted Talk ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’:


Jill Howgate