After watching my favorite holiday movie, Love Actually, several times in December, I thought back to the time when I had a greeting crew at the airport. In the early days of our relationship, my husband and I were separated by 2,000 miles, so we were frequent airport greeters for one another. After getting married and making the 2,000 mile move myself, my family became the airport greeters.

Today, frequent flying for work means that the airport shuttle and parking team are my greeters. Luckily for me, my most recent work trip coincided with my husband’s winter break. I was greeted with hugs, kisses, and homemade posters from my greeting crew, which has expanded to include my two small daughters.

This scene is what inspired me to write a love letter to my values.

For the past few years, my top two values – family and leadership – have been at odds with each other. If I was pursuing professional opportunities, I felt guilty for not being with my family. If I was with my family, I felt guilty for not pursing my leadership path.

Recently, I learned that guilt happens when you’re living out of alignment with your values. This new learning made me realize that I was the only person who could both reconcile and fully live my values. Here is the love letter:

To my values –

Thank you for not wavering, for keeping me planted firmly where I am supposed to be. Thank you for giving me a little “tug” when I journey too far away. I know you have been at my side my whole life, but for the first time, I can call you what you are – my foundation. You have made me a better wife, mother, and human being.

Love,
Me

Here are three keys to help you stay in alignment with your values:

  1. Invite people into your life who support your values
  2. Communicate openly about your values
  3. Recognize and be at peace with occasional feelings of guilt

A few years ago, the airport scene would have brought forward feelings of guilt. Today, it makes me proud. I’m proud that my daughters were able to see me coming home from a business trip. I was proud of my husband for stepping in, while I was gone for a week. Mostly, I was proud that I’m living my top two values – family and leadership – without accompanying guilt.

How will you set yourself free?