Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. ~ Old Quaker saying

Tools & Resources


How do I Strengthen What i Value, Enjoy, and Love?

Nearly 20 years ago, I developed the SWiVEL to help individuals to use the power of self-reflection and writing to clarify their path ahead. The following questions have helped thousands of people articulate what they want and need in their career and lives. Developed on a single page to provide a starting point for self-inquiry. Questions inspire other questions, often better questions that are relevant to you. This is not a test you can ace. It is only as useful as your written answers reflect the truth, the vulnerable truth of your potential and ambition. The key is writing, re-writing, and re-writing again to find words and phrases that define who you are. I know, this can be daunting, but once you start writing freestyle, without judgment for your eyes only, you will see yourself.  I have provided a clarifying thought to assist you with each question.

  • Everything flows from this. Could not write too much here. The key is not to use generic words or phrases such as: I want to be happy” I want to help people” etc, What are the values you live by? Where does your uniqueness come from? Not how you do things, but why.
  • What is in your mind right now! If that statement is true, what are you doing to pursue that goal?
  • Yes, success can be a moving target. But what will be a key milestone to satisfy your life today?
  • I know money is ALWAYS an issue! But the point here is to reveal what you want to do--an occupassion! "Work" that you did for the joy of it. I have found that when I do that, the money follows.
  • fear may be the real issue. Fear of failure. Fear of disappointment, of disappointing others. Fear of the unknown. A truthful answer here could shed light on what you have to be doing. Not just your work, but in your portfolio of commitments.
  • This is you the human being. Not competencies, skills, or abilities. Your expression of who you are--for example, your gratitude, kindness, compassion,. Your care for others. Your patience, and open mindedness. Your selflessness. Reducing the harm you do. Your support of what is good. Only you know where this work is needed. If you are coming up blank, you need to go deeper.
  • These are matters, issues, and causes that generate strong emotional feelings within you. Not just sympathy but compassion. These are sources of energy, both negative and positive. Focus your answers on the top of your lists.
  • We have to take responsibility for what is holding us back, even if we did not cause it. We say we are problem solvers and that we like challenges. Identify these obstacles and excuses and let’s get going.
  • You will die. Regrettably no one knows the timetable. Time is short and limited. How do we make the most of the time we have? Leaving few if any regrets. You will not come this way again, so why wait for the perfect moment? Why procrastinate what can be done now?
  • Balance is a state of mind. And perfect balance is unachievable. Therefore, we all are all out of balance. You have a specific source of pain for your lack of balance. What can you re-balance to give your life more satisfaction?
  • We live with a lot of hypocrisy. We love animals and eat meat. We are anti-racist and patronize racist corporations. We support public education but our kids go to private schools. Much of our 401K portfolio investments exploit the environment, workers, and human rights. We belong to clubs, associations who overtly or covertly discriminate. etc etc When will you acknowledge that some of your actions and inactions harm others? What steps can you take to bring your life into harmony with your morality?
  • Really taking inventory for the blessings, good fortune and sheer luck which give you choices and chances, is crucial for authentic humility. And acknowledging the extraordinary sacrifices of those who paved the way. Grounded in that gratitude, what will you do to help those behind you?
  • We have to take responsibility for what is holding us back, even if we did not cause it. We say we are problem solvers and that we like challenges. Identify these obstacles and excuses and let’s get going.
  • Appreciate what you do well. Build on it. Make sure this is not generic—“I am a good communicator” “I make things more efficient.” What insight, skill, ability that you do with enthusiasm?
  • Like #5, honesty is vital. What generates fear and de-energizes you. Besides public speaking!:) What do you have to work on to be more successful, effective and perhaps most important, reach your goal in #2 or #3.
  • Things you want to do that are left undone become regrets. Something important to you. Something that if you did not do it you would be incomplete as a person. Perhaps a childhood dream. This is not part of a bucket list. This is personal expression of you!
  • Different than strength and weakness. These are the best and most prized examples of your pride and agony. Failure is the greatest teacher. Only non-risk takers have no failures.
  • This is a “flow” question. An indicator of things you love to do. You derive a type of joy from this. Provides insights into what makes you tick. Could be the process. Could be for fun. Could be the opposite of your work. If you could do it more you would. How do you build in more time for this activity?
  • You need this time to do do the things above. Important stuff. Start a process to minimize these time wasters, these idle times that are not productive, energizing, or restful.
  • Could be career paths, to hobbies. Or courses you did not take in college. Topics, ideas, or interests that you think about all of the time. Something to engage others in helping you scratch this itch.
  • Easy to forget all of the people who helped you get here. Think of a specific person or people who made sure you succeeded. Gave you special support, advice, mentoring and time. They would love to hear how you are doing. Your gratitude will a great gift and you will be a major recipient.
  • We all have a relationship or two that bother us, even hold us back. We try to deny it exists or hope it goes away. Reach out to reconnect and take the higher road to reconciliation. Rescue yourself. Also think of someone you could assist and share your privilege.


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