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Harry Kraemer, Pt. I: How Do I Find Purpose and Satisfaction?

By: Bridgette W. Gottwald, LPC, NCC

What if someone told you that you’d be able to live a “values-based life by identifying and committing to your values and priorities?” Perhaps what you are saying is important to you isn’t actually aligning with what you truly devote your time to. Maybe you are talking the talk but failing to walk the walk. Sound familiar? It’s okay, you’re not alone.

Harry Kraemer, Pt. I: How Do I Find Purpose and Satisfaction in a Values-Based Life? 

Focus on What Matters

Although most of us have good intentions, a large number of us experience an imbalance between the desire to live based upon our values. Gaining life balance will frame our decision making. Life is full of distractions and to-do lists the length of our arms and interruptions will remain constant throughout life. 

How Do You Manage Your Time and Energy?

Are you the type of person that always feels like 24-hours is not enough time in a day? Guilty – I sure am. We are all energized by different things – family, spirituality, exercise, well-being, hobbies, meaningful work, etc. Fortunately, all of these things lead us to an integrated life. If you are seeking to lead a values-based life, you can guide yourself to make the most of what matters.

How Can I Build New Habits and Put My Values First?

What are you doing and why are you doing it? Values-based living and leadership are based upon four principles:

  1. Self-reflection
  2. A balanced perspective
  3. True self-confidence
  4. Genuine humility

When you engage in all four of these principles, not only will you be able to lead your own life effectively and efficiently, but also lead the lives of others while earning their respect – and most importantly, self-respect.

If you are interested in building better habits and living from your values, it might be helpful for you to do the following things:

  •       Use self-reflection to identify what matters most and become more aware of how you are choosing to spend your time.
  •       Re-evaluate priorities such as your career, family, health, recreation, spirituality, giving back, and making a difference.
  •       Avoid unpleasant surprises and burnout.
  •       Experience a better balance in the present as you shift your priorities both personally and professionally.


Self-reflection is completely underrated and overlooked by many. It is an ongoing process that addresses three key questions:

  1. If I’m not self-reflective, is it possible for me to know myself?
  2. If I don’t know myself, can I lead myself?
  3. If I can’t lead myself, can I lead others?

To improve, we need to know what we are doing well, and what we are not doing well. So, yes, we have to be completely open to (gasp) both positive and negative feedback. It’s okay – you can handle it. When we reflect upon ourselves, it allows us to check in with values that are important to us, and anchor ourselves to principles that matter to us. According to Kraemer, when we self-reflect it allows us to do two things – the right thing and the best you can do.

A Balanced Perspective

It’s important to have an opinion, but it’s critical to not impose your opinion onto others, while also realizing that opinion is the lowest form of knowledge. With an opinion, we must realize that there are multiple sides to every story. The more we listen to others, the more informed decisions we can make. 

Having a work-life balance is a key component to maintaining a balanced perspective. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, then you are never in a position where you can properly lead or take care of others around you.

Check out the next blog to this two-part blog series to learn about the rest of the four principles of values-based leadership. 


Kellogg (2021). Values-based leadership: Becoming your best self. Retrieved from:

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