Journal Entry: July 17, 2023—Bixler—Values

Journal Entry

July 17, 2023 -Bixler-Values: Top 10 Alignment

For a long time after my arrest in January 2020, I wanted answers! Answers only I had. God, What have I done? Who am I? How did I lose my moral compass? I hurt so many people. A few were direct victims that resulted from my crimes and as months passed, I began to realize the domino effect and volume of collateral damage. My clients, employees, family just to name a few. So many people I truly love were negatively impacted by my choices. At the time I made those decisions, I had reasons and justifications. It took me a long time to acknowledge that regardless of the reasons and my intent, I broke the law and violated trust. I was wrong.

During one of my counseling sessions in mid-2020, my therapist asked me about my values. I struggled to articulate them. She handed me a deck of 100 “value” cards. Each listed a core value such a God, family, purpose, fame… She instructed me to separate each card into one of three piles:

  • 1: Really important to me
  • 2: Somewhat important to me
  • 3: Not important to me

I blasted through the pile of 100 cards with ease. Fame, fortune, power, and prestige weren’t important to me; that was easy! Turns out, I’d placed 80 cards in my Really Important to Me pile. Boom! I had an epiphany, an Aha Moment! I thought, no wonder I’m filled with self-doubt and second-guessing my decisions. I’m trying to make choices that align with 80 Really Important values! That’s insane! This revelation was monumental.

I’d always thought that having a lot of strong values was a good thing; however, I’d failed to understand that values must be given weight and priority. In lacking clear weighted core values, I set myself up for failure.

After the initial 3-pile sort, my counselor handed me Pile 1 and said, “Pick Ten.” What??? Only Ten?! I have Eighty. How can I possibly narrow it to only ten? It took me a while, but I did it! This exercise forced me to do a deep dive into my values, beliefs and moral foundation.

Now, it’s important to note that core values can, and often do, change throughout our lives. I took a picture of my Top 10 value cards that day. I printed it to use as a self-accountability tool. Ironically, a month later, my 10-year-old’s counselor did a similar exercise with him. He wanted me to do it too so we could compare. (He’s cute like that.) And, yes, they were almost identical. The one major difference was that I included “spirituality.” (In fairness, he didn’t know the meaning of the word.)

I’ve always considered myself spiritual and absolutely believe in God. He is one of my core values. In my hasty decision-making to solve what I believed were urgent problems, I ignored his guidance. His guidance came in the form of big obstacles! I chose to view those as hurdles and not the Detour or Dead End signs they actually were. Big mistake; Huge!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6