A “Hat Tip” to Dick Knowdell and His Values Card Sorts.
Each month I look ahead to find a day I can take a tech-free retreat. I don’t always find one, but most of the time I do. This practice was inspired by Richard Leider in his book Repacking Your Bags.
I have written about my retreats before, but today I want to explain how I used one of my retreats to choose my three words for 2022. If you want to read about my retreats, check out these blogs. (Read)
This past December I had scheduled a tech-free retreat for December 22 when I would read, write, reflect, meditate, and hopefully choose my three words to guide me in 2022. I had one word that I knew I wanted. Balance. I have been looking at how to reduce the number of hours I work, maintain my business, and spend more time with my recently retired wife, my friends, and family.
My retreat is a time when I typically review my journal from the past year, looking for themes that might inspire me to discover my words for the upcoming year. It’s a bit of the “intentional serendipity” that I believe in—taking action and being open to discovering something by accident.
Then I received an email from Rich Feller letting me know that Dick Knowdell had passed away. Before I became familiar with Dick Knowdell’s work, I had used the Missouri occupational card sorts a bit. But when I was introduced to his Motivated Card sorts I was hooked. It was then that I added his values card sorts to my repertoire and created my favorite workshop called “The Magic of Card Sorts.” Dick was a large force in the career development field, always giving his time, expertise, and sharing his knowledge wherever he went…with a smile.
I decided to bring my values card sort with me on my retreat to see what might emerge for my words and also as a “hat tip” to Dick.
The first step in the card sort is laying out the header cards: Always Valued, Often Valued, Sometimes Valued, Seldom Valued, and Never Valued. Then placing the cards, one by one, into the column that made the most sense to me at that moment. Values can change over time and I was interested in seeing what may have changed since I did this values card sort years ago. Clearly my head was in a different space now as a 65-year-old and all that life has brought to me.
As I picked up each card and read the value on it, I processed what that word means to me and how it fits into the context of my life today, at work and at home. Placing it under a heading gives value to that word and its meaning to me. There is something subliminal happening as well as cognitively. I don’t completely understand it, but I do know it happens. As I looked at my values spread out on the table in front of me, I felt like it truly represented a bit of who I am and what is important to me.
But I still could not “see” a theme. So I decided to do another sort; one that I do with the Motivated Skills Cards but had never done with the values. I took the top cards from Always and Often Valued and sorted them into groups or themes that make sense to me.
That was when the magic happened.
It was here that I could see the importance of creativity and knowledge in my work, and I knew that I still wanted to keep working. I simply love what I am doing. (see the two groups at far left). The far right group starting with “practicality” also fits into my work life well as I love the independence of owning my own business.
Much of my motivation comes out in the middle column headed by the words “affiliation” and “community.”
Yes, I love my work and what I do.
But why? And as I thought about it, the knowledge, the creativity, the helping others, all felt like actual people to me. People I wanted to share knowledge with. People I wanted to help. And that is where the word “COMMUNITY” came from for one of my three guiding words.
Clearly that second column from the left, headed by family and friends, supported my first word of BALANCE.
But what would my third word be?
The words, “Fun” and “Humor” stuck out to me. What is it that I want to do with my family and friends…and with my work colleagues and network? Yes, to share what I know, but also to do it in a way that is fun, uplifting, creative, and practical. But it has to be in a fun way, a positive way. Something good to do each day and that adds value to my community. I thought about using the words humor or fun, and then realized that it had more to do with being optimistic or positive. And there it was, POSITIVITY.
What I like about my three words each year is that there often is an intersection between them. When I journal, I always begin with writing down my three words: Balance, Community, Positivity. I change the order and sometimes will create designs using them, but I always write them. When I do, it forces me to think about that word and how it might fit into my day.
Sometimes “community” means my professional network, e.g. doing a LinkedIn Live session or participating in my National Career Development Association volunteer work. Sometimes “community” is my family or my hockey buddies.
Balance is always challenging me to make sure that every day I play, workout, read, meditate, and do the work I love.
Positivity makes me smile and I think about what I could do today that will make a positive influence on me. I found a TedTalk playlist called “10 days of positive thinking.” It is a great list and I encourage you, to check them out.
If you have not stopped to look at your values recently, I encourage you to do so. What is important to you today and how will you manifest it?
And if you have any good ideas on how I can continue to build my positivity…I’m all ears. I know that my community supports me.
Read about My Three Words in 2022
◊ Balance ◊Community ◊Positivity ◊
Jim Peacock is the Principal at Peak-Careers Consulting and writes a weekly email for career practitioners. Peak-Careers offers discussion-based online seminars for career practitioners focused on meeting continuing education needs for CCSP, GCDF and BCC certified professionals as well as workshops for career practitioners and individual career coaching.
He is the author of A Field Guide for Career Practitioners: Helping Your Clients Create Their Next Move and The Adventure of Finding Me in New Zealand. He is also the recipient of the 2020 Kenneth C. Hoyt Award from the National Career Development Association and the Mid-Atlantic Career Counseling Association’s Professional Contribution’s Award in 2020.
Sign up to receive my TOP 10 TIPS WHEN WORKING WITH AN UNDECIDED PERSON. You will also receive the career practitioner’s weekly email on a variety of career topics, industry news, interesting events, and more. (Sign up)
Janet Mathias says
Jim, What a great story and insight into your reflective process, thank you. You left the reader with such an important question…”and how will you manifest it?” Naming is one thing, evisioning it in daily life gives it energy. You’ve shared some good examples.
Jim Peacock says
Thanks Janet. I always felt that doing the Skills and Values card sort with just lists (Always Values, Seldom, etc), left me with the “what do I do now?” question. The “sorting into themes/groups” is when I can begin to answer the question “…and how will i manifest it?” question.