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What’s it worth

November 8, 2010

With a baby on the way, money matters have suddenly become more important than ever. There’s nothing like the impending arrival of a dependent to make one stop and think about responsibility of all kinds – including the fiscal. Growing up in southwest Iowa one great way to save money was by buying second-hand – garage sales, thrift shops or a friend’s closet were all great places to find a bargain.

With a new baby on the way I tried to get back to those old faithful methods of midwestern cost savings, but the value of second-hand isn’t quite the bargain I had expected here around Washington, D.C. From Craig’s List to consignment shops it seems your zip code does make a difference in the value of goods. Which just goes to show that whether it’s trash or treasure beauty really is in the eye of the beholder – or in this instance, the owner.

Experiencing so much disparity in the cost of goods and services is a good reminder that while appraised worth may be a constant, value and actual cost, aren’t. This makes sense, and it applies to more than glider rockers and bassinets. It takes looking at a number of factors to establish something’s value, and zip code is certainly one thing to take into account.

Humility is definitely a hidden virtue, and one that many of us struggle with. I openly admit that I have to stave back selfish pride in order to put my family first and focus on things that matter, making God, family and country real priorities rather than a bumper sticker slogan. Unfortunately, humility certainly doesn’t seem to go far in the Washington, D.C. political arena and it’s all too easy to find others eager for personal gain and self promotion around here.

Politicians, pundits and citizens alike should all step back and take a moment to evaluate our worth. Election or no election, it’s a good time to stop and think about what attributes we bring to the table and what their real value is – in an across zip codes kind of a sense. I’m not saying that the midwest holds the market on morality (and fair prices), but I do think that in some sense the farther away you are from the power source (in this case, the nation’s highest political offices), the more impartial, and perhaps real, your value assessments will be.

Knowing that I struggle with pride and also that the business of marketing and media relations are not exactly great at assessing true self-worth, I try to rely on loyal friends and family to help remind me of where my pride should be invested. Perhaps you don’t share my problem with pride, or perhaps you think you’re absolutely spectacular and the world’s gift to [insert vocation, skill set or ground-breaking accomplishment here]. But regardless I think we could all afford to sit down at least once a month and do a value assessment of ourselves – what’s our worth, what do we bring to the table (professionally or personally), and what can we do to humbly increase our worth and increase our investment in the things we prioritize in life. 

It’s basic self-reflection, but when it comes to ourselves – and the values we attach to used baby items on Craig’s list – I think we could stand a bit more reality.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 9, 2010 1:18 am

    Very well written for those of us who are reflecting and assessing current situations. Six months ago an ex friend of mine finally eroded my last amount of goodwill/patience after 24 years. I feel so much better not having my values & priorities compromised by this person. Some people never grow up!

    Paul Young

    PS saw your presentation at the AMI conference on the Gold Coast

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