Core Values: The Rules of the Window Seat are Not Optional

You need to know and write down your Core Values right now…..and I’ll tell you why. 

I was recently watching James Bond “Thunderball” with a friend (bare with me here) and somewhere between the hijacking of nuclear warheads and an epic underwater scuba battle, the topic of Core Values came up. 

The Internet defines Core Values as “The fundamental beliefs of a person…..these guiding principles dictate behavior and can help people understand the difference between right and wrong.”

I mostly agree with that, however I would also add that they not only help differentiate between right and wrong, but also act as a compass that can help you navigate difficult decisions and the uncharted waters of life. 

If you have a solid and accessible set of core values, you’ll always have them in your back pocket ready to guide you whenever you’re in need of direction. 

As Bond was traipsing around the Caribbean with a scantily clad and similarly named women, our conversation continued. I soon realized that although I have many ideas, concepts and opinions that I feel strongly about, I’ve never actually sat down and written out MY core values.

Without having these values to reflect on, I’m living a reactionary life.  One where I make decisions based on what’s directly in front of me, not with how those decisions may impact my future and what’s truly important to me.

The next day I was to fly to Colorado for an IVY Adventure and as I looked at my boarding pass, I realized I was given the middle seat.  I hate the middle seat.  I travel quite a bit and understand and vehemently adhere to all of the unwritten rules of a frequent traveler; never recline your seat, exit the plane from front to back (unless someone in the back has a connecting flight), and of course, the armrest hierarchy.  The isle seat gets the isle, the window seat gets the window, and the middle seat gets BOTH armrests.  This is nonnegotiable. 

As I squeezed into the grade-school sized and ever so slightly cushioned chair, I quickly discovered the person in the window seat did NOT follow these rules.  They aggressively apprehended both arm rests, shut the window shade and reclined their seat.  To me, this is three strikes and you’re out. 

It was that moment I knew it was time to write down my first Core Value:

1. “The rules of the window seat are not optional.” 

What I mean by that is; with power comes responsibility and just because you have a position of power or privilege doesn’t mean you should take advantage of it.  We see this so often in everyday life and usually refer top them as “power trips.”  A little (or a lot) of power goes to someone’s head and they want to exert that power on anyone and everyone. We are all just a bunch of flesh spinning around on this planet, while spinning in our galaxy, while spinning in the universe.  Let’s treat each other equally.

Ok, Im on a roll.  What’s next?

2. “The world doesn’t owe you a damn thing”

I try to live my life being fully responsible for my actions and not look to blame others for what happens to me.  The only thing we can truly control is our response and our reactions so no matter what anyone says or does, we have the power to control how we react.

I like this.  It’s like creating a roadmap of the street you grew up on. You know all the houses, the street names and every tree along the way, now it’s just writing it all down.

3. I have better things to do than to stay pissed off.

Life is short and holding grudges takes energy. I have so much that I’m thankful for and want to accomplish in life that it does me no good to stay angry with someone or hold a grudge.  All it does is keeps your mind in a negative state and takes you away from the positivity and goodness that can be found.

By this point in my flight, it was time to return my tray table to its upright position and stow my carryon underneath my seat, so I stopped with three, for now.

Taking the time to think about and start writing my core values was like using Google Maps for the first time. I now have the start of a GPS for my life. Something I can refer back to whenever I’m feeling lost or misguided on my journey.

I’m not done though. 

I know there are more things that are important to me so much so that I would consider them a core value.  I’m going to take this list, write it down on a piece of paper, put it in my wallet and cary it with me daily.

And I highly suggest you do the same.

Please comment below with some of your Core Values. I would love to see what helps guide you through life.



  • Liz

    As I flew home from a weekend in the sunny Palm Springs, I had the window seat and subscribe to the universal etiquette of the well-traveled. As I looked out my window and lost myself in the rolling expanse of the Rockies, I began to contemplate my size and value on this planet. I was lost in this loving gaze over the beautiful earth and all the adventure it has offered me. I began to feel all space and time melt away and only peace remained. My identity lost while suspended lovingly above the invisible expanse. I began to wonder how I could make a difference, when suddenly I felt the kicking of my seat from a loud talker sitting directly behind me.
    One kick I understand and even a few short interruptions are acceptable, I get that these seats are small and rarely one remains in the same position for an entire flight. However, this lady began nervously kicking with 1 to 2 second intervals. I worked to regain my inner peace, when suddenly another kick. I began to ask the universe politely to redirect her attention. The kicking increased in intensity and speed. That was when I initiated the passive aggressive seat recline. I felt manipulative and mean hearted in that moment. I tried to regain my inner peace as the kicking ceased. I suddenly felt a little guilty for infringing on the international code of the well-traveled.
    Then, I thought of your beautifully written piece on this subject and I was remined to stick to my core values. So I asked myself, ”What are my core values?”
    I think up until 6 months ago I didn’t have core values but core beliefs. I used to think that values and beliefs are not very different, but I have found that values stretch beyond belief. Beliefs are coded messages in our conscious and unconscious mind that govern how we perceive and interact in the world around us. Values on the other hand transcend belief. I would like to share with you my core values.
    Kindness Is above all.
    Kindness towards others and yourself. Kindness does not mean to be nice. Kindness is the ease and forgiveness we display toward ourselves and those we are so blessed to interact with daily. It is the call to treat your neighbor as yourself and to love all even your enemy. We all have an active role in one another’s lives. We all have the power to heal and the power to wound. The cliché “sticks and stones will break, your bones but words will never hurt.” Is simply garbage. The verbal wounds are the deepest because we are told they do not exist. Why would the wound that does not exist need to be healed?
    Self-respect is the seed of confidence.
    Doing what is right for you in the moment is not easy and will take great strength in the beginning. With time the strength will grow, and your perception of self-care will change. When you respect yourself, you allow yourself to step into your own authenticity, and while stepping into who you were created to be, you will allow those around you to follow suite. You respect yourself not for yourself but for your community and those around you.
    Perseverance will take the strength that you build with self-care.
    If self-respect is the gas in your tank that makes your confidence motor run, then Perseverance is the tank, and you can choose how big your tank is. If you don’t believe this ask anyone what makes them keep going when they are discouraged. Ask the one who quits, why did they stop? Giving up is a choice sometimes the right one, if a better opportunity presents itself.
    Encouragement is always the right answer.
    Encourage others to follow their dream and do the same. If you come across someone that discourages you or others do not take their words to heart, they are only speaking from their own absence of courage to follow their dreams.
    As I looked over my core values laid out in front of me, I realized that this may have been the first time I had ever really thought about it. I just want to thank you for your well written piece on the topic, and the thank the woman for the kick in the chair to remind me to take the time to do this inventory.

  • Jane Bracken

    Yeah, Corey! I also like your no blame and forgiving attitude, and I would add look for the positive in every situation. It’s there somewhere! So proud of you! :-)

  • Susie Weigel

    Great article, Corey! I like your attitude, with your no blame and forgiving quickly! Thanks!

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