Tribal Inspiration: Finding Your Core Values

Are your friends the wind beneath your wings… perhaps the currents beneath your fins… or are you surrounded by emotional vampires? Have you ever taken the time to think about it? Ideally you’ve been fortunate to cultivate your tribe while you are on the up because when you aren’t, the quality of the company you keep becomes blatantly apparent.

When my fuel tank of inspiration is leaning on Empty and, for the life of me, I can’t seem to find any from within I look to my tribe.

  • Who around you is doing something you admire?
  • Why do you admire what they are doing?
  • How can you use that insight to learn something about yourself?

Maybe I can use this exercise to learn a little bit about what I identify as my Core Values so I can continue on the journey started in Where’s The F*#king Map.

What are Core Values after all? “Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization. These guiding principles dictate behavior and can help people understand the difference between right and wrong. Core values also help companies to determine if they are on the right path and fulfilling their goals by creating an unwavering guide.” Yep, I need those. There are so many concepts that I find to be valid, I need a little guidance identifying what those are that help me choose one path over another.


I’m fortunate to look around and notice, Hot Damn, I have some exceptional MerWomen in my tribe. Off the top of my head here are a handful of women I admire for specific reasons I can identify and relate to, among many more I am honored to call friends. Each of these women are also within the ballpark of my age because I am considering them intentionally in order to learn about myself in this chapter of my life, although I do think it would be valuable to recreate this exercise with people I see as role models. Let’s see what I can learn about myself by giving consideration to why I am so wowed by each unique woman:

Jenny is a firecracker with a built in microphone. She is also a fellow twin mom and a really, really incredible person. I am far from the only person who finds Jenny’s passion for promoting positive self-image inspiring as she has built a community of support through her fitness program, Bond Fitness, with the slogan “We Get Fit Together”. I personally have attended Jenny’s program for years starting just before my wedding as a bridal bootcamp all the way through getting back in shape after having the twins. I’ve always found fitness to be a source of self-love and with Bond I get another two-fer of community and inspiration rolled up in the package of a fabulous workout. I admire Jenny because she has harnessed her charisma, personal life experiences, loud voice and skills as a fitness professional to help lift and inspire others in a well-defined and often exploited soft spot of self-image. What does the inspiration I find from Jenny tell me about myself? I believe helping others and building community is one of the noblest of causes and if you are seeking something meaningful to do with your time, it is right at the top. Here is Jenny in full effect during one of her Tedx Talks:

Jamie. I know Jamie through our professional spheres but I also know she is branching out and cultivating a path as a prenatal yoga instructor. When I was pregnant just over two years ago I found it baffling how FEW prenatal fitness classes and communities there were in Santa Barbara, including pre-natal yoga. It seemed the only class in town was on Tuesdays at 10am… and who in the working world does that help? More than fitness however there are so many questions, emotions and just newness in general around motherhood. In our society there is a great deal of care given to the health of the child but who is really focusing on the well-being of the mother, who may not be the spotlight passenger on the ride but is strapped on that rollercoaster as well? In this day and age where families are often distributed or scenarios like mine where my mother passed away before I became pregnant (before my unexplained infertility and subsequent fertility “assistance”), it is not uncommon to feel blind or flat-out scared. You can find Jamie ramping up at the Santa Barbara Yoga Center where she apprentices under Siddhi Ellinghoven. Why do I admire Jamie? Jamie is also helping fellow women in dire need of support at a critical time in their lives. Like Jenny she is also nurturing a community to honor this critical point of transformation in a woman’s life. What is this telling me about myself? I’m seeing a common theme here about helping others, especially fellow women, building community and movement.

Dani. Dani is special mama of three beautiful girls and a co-founder of the new Mama Cocoon in Ventura. She has a knack for getting real on what mom-life is all about, a big heart and a fabulous sense of humor (a must for enjoying this crazy ride). The Mama Cocoon focuses on support of moms because even once our sweet babes come into this world, the focus of care and nurture still pretty much bypasses mothers as a whole. This is a location for support, self-care (from waxing to facials to yoga) and empowerment reminding moms that we deserve love ourselves in the spirit of the love we provide to everyone else. So far I am learning that I hold helping and inspiring others, building community, self-love, health and movement in my highest regard, coming from those who are also living the mom life.

Dani @ The Mama Cocoom

All moms so far right? I assure you this is not a criteria for my admiration although I do give extra props to moms because I completely understand how much we give of ourselves to our little people. Here are some incredible women who are rocking life without the mom vibes:

Molly. Molly is one of the truest definitions of a good person I have ever met and a bonafide cowgirl to boot. We came to know one another through horses. When I was admitted into the hospital to deliver my preemie babies, our stable was closing permanently and Molly became the guardian angel to my fur-baby, Colonel, housing and caring for him as if he was her own. That theme has continued these past few years as I haven’t had the time to dedicate to Colonel that he deserves. I am honored that Molly officially took over ownership of my fuzzy man and gave him an incredible forever home.

Colonel, appreciating the ocean view

In addition to her goodness, Molly is one hell of a business woman and a hard worker. She has turned her love and knowledge of horses and the incredible gifts that they inherently have into a thriving and utterly fabulous business here in Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Party Ponies. Molly literally brings magic and fantasy into the lives of children and sometimes even corporate events (who probably need it more than the kids after all). Not only do I admire Molly for building an incredible and inspiring business from her deep-rooted love of horses, which brings joy into the hearts of everyone smart enough to employ her, but I also admire her faith. Molly has a beautiful relationship with God which even I can appreciate as someone who is not particularly religious. Her faith that she is loved, cared-for and has an intended, custom-fit purpose in life is downright inspirational and I’ve witnessed first-hand the work she has put in to build her business from the ground up, with no Easy Button within sight. What can I learn about my core values from what I admire about Molly? For one, she is in the business of inspiration in the form of imagination. I think faith is also a core value and, in my perspective, does not necessarily need to be hitched to religion. Sometimes in life we are on a need-to-know basis, remember “Leap, and the Net Will Appear” from Unslumping Yourself Is Not Easily Done? There is also a theme of entrepreneurialism that is surfacing that I hadn’t noticed until now.


Austin & Kat are two incredible, powerhouse entrepreneurs with their big girl heels on. Austin with OnQ Financial is a wonderful Mortgage Consultant here in Santa Barbara and Kat is the founder of Hitchcock & Associates realty. These incredible women not only rock it professionally having built successful businesses by helping people find and acquire homes, an emotionally loaded realm for most home-buyers, and have done so by taking the concept of caring for their clients to the core (with exemplary execution). In addition, they support each other and other professional women throughout our community. I’ve worked with both of these women in addition to enjoying their friendship. These are the type of women that I admire: smart, caring, driven, authentic and with a healthy sense of humor. In addition to the core values I’ve already identified, Austin and Kat cement the value I place in entrepreneurialism and professionalism with heart and authenticity.


So what have I learned through the help of my fellow MerWomen that can contribute to this self-discovery journey I am on? I’ve learned I have a clearer sense of my Core Values and hope this helps with dusting off my internal compass:

  • Helping and inspiring others, especially fellow women
  • Building community, networks and meaningful relationships
  • Self-love, health and movement
  • Faith and belief in self and meaningful purpose
  • Entrepreneurialism and professionalism with heart and authenticity.

To all the incredible beings of my tribe, Thank You! I can honestly say you help me to be the best of version of myself and inspire me to keep growing. XOXO

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