Personal Values Define You, Then Guide You

6 minute read

Skip’s E.I.G.H.T Personal Values

What defines you is what will guide you.

Skip Vaccarello explained this to me very well with this good-to-great truth: “Great leaders define their values, live them out, and never change or compromise them.”

For Skip, what guides him are his E.I.G.H.T personal values:

  1. Encouragement
  2. Integrity
  3. Grace
  4. Humility
  5. Thankfulness

(Yes, there are only 5 in the E.I.G.H.T - less is more, right? ;-)

Person of peace. #whatextent

A post shared by Justin Too (@doubleotoo) on

Update 2/22/17: G is actually for Generosity ha ha, sorry Skip! Thanks for your grace ;-)

My C.A.L.I Personal Values

People committed to doing bold things in both speech and action.

In the short years of my work, life, experience, and pursuits, a resounding theme has developed in my life, and I can sum them up in what I’m deeming my four C.A.L.I personal values:

  1. Community - Doing people- and community-centric things with people and community.
  2. Audacity - Doing bold things, boldly.
  3. Loyalty - Being committed to doing things. Committed to ourselves, to others, and to God.
  4. Integrity - Doing things in both speech and action.

The astute reader will notice that all four of my personal values involves doing, not just being.

Quote by Justin Too on his CALI personal values


Community has always been a core value of mine - family, friends, people - and it’s what underpins the work, vision, and passion of my ecclesiastical social enterprise, which is really just the life God has called me to lead.

And in my work and life, I hold a deep conviction that community is built by empowering people. As individuals succeed, teams succeed. As people thrive, communities thrive.

I think, as a church, we’ve convoluted the strategy and we need to get back to first principles.

It’s all about people. And team work makes the dream work.

Unity begins with U-N-I. And community is completed with U-N-I-T-Y.

Quote by Justin Too on unity and community


Freedom lies in being bold.

I believe that bold pursuits emboldens a person. But not just by setting big, hairy, audacious goals, but by actually pursuing them. It’s through the exercising of our faith that our faith and character is fortified.

Christopher Columbus said it best: “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

And Henry Ford couldn’t have been more correct: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

WE think we can, and WE act like we can, because we know He can.

Quote by Justin Too on bold pursuits


Mark Twain once said, “Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.”

I think we need to adapt this quote for us in Christendom: “Loyalty to the King and Kingdom always. Loyalty to the pastor and church when it deserves it.”

Quote by Justin Too on loyalty to the Kingdom

I’m not suggesting we are to be heartless and ruthless and always skeptical. But we need to always be on our guard, good stewards of our lives and resources, and strive away from lukewarmness and the blind following of idols.

General Colin Powell gave us a balancing-framework to navigate the act of loyalty: “Loyalty means giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I’ll like it or not. Disagreement, at this state, stimulates me. But once a decision is made, the debate ends. From that point on, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own.”

The important takeaway, after setting off on the right bus with the right people, is that commitment is non-optional for the health, growth, and revival of the Church. Success comes through focus, focus through commitment, and commitment through loyalty.

Quote by Justin Too on loyalty

In this day and age, loyalty is difficult to come by.

Some people aren’t loyal to you…they are loyal to their need of you…once their need changes, so does their loyalty. That might ring a bell, especially to my fellow Millennials.

Of course, an important aspect of loyalty is sacrifice. This is how Woodrow Wilson put it: “Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.”

But loyalty is a two-way street, and I fear many churches and church-leaders have become used to a ministry operation that is, in truth and reality, self-centered. However accidental, church members are being used and abused. And when one of us burns out we are tossed aside and replaced. It’s ironic: In church, the demands of its ministry for the sake of lost people tend to outweigh the need for caring compassion for its own found people.

Quote by Justin Too on loyalty

My intentions are not to paint a dark and cloudy picture, but rather to contrast a stark reality with a bright and hopeful future: Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. (Ann Landers)

Loyalty is essential, however tricky an obstacle it is to navigate.

If loyalty is, and always has been, perceived as obsolete, why do we continue to praise it? Because loyalty is essential to the most basic things that make life livable. Without loyalty there can be no love. Without loyalty there can be no family. Without loyalty there can be no friendship. Without loyalty there can be no commitment to community or country. And without those things, there can be no society. (Eric Felten)


Integrity was best explained to me first and best by John W. Thompson: “Integrity is doing what you say, and saying what you do.”

That was a formative conversation for me. I was just a senior in high school at the time, and I can’t forget how intensely John told me this looking squarely into my youthful eyes.

Shortly after my Junior Achievement interview with him way back then, he offered me an internship with the company he was leading as CEO at the time, Symantec. Ever since, I’ve held on dearly to his words.

Quote by John W. Thompson on Integrity

For the Church, our strategy is two-fold:

  1. Share the Gospel with our words
  2. Share the Gospel with our lives

And that takes integrity. Integrity of words, and integrity for our words.

Quote by Justin Too on integrity

My C.A.L.I.F.O.R.N.I.A.N Identity

I won’t go into detail now, but of course, being me, there’s a longer side to the short story:

  1. Community
  2. Audacity
  3. Loyalty
  4. Integrity
  5. Focused
  6. Obsessed
  7. Reckless
  8. Nurturing
  9. Intense
  10. Active
  11. Newborn

These adjectives describe my C.A.L.I.F.O.R.N.I.A.N. identity quite well.

Me, According to 10 People Close to Me

I made an ask on Facebook: “If you know me, I would really value your input: I’m asking people close to me to describe my character and personality.”

I received 10 responses that I personally feel represents who I am quite well:

  1. Thinker, go getter, talkative, excitable, giver, adventurer, smart
  2. Ambitious, driven, God fearing.
  3. Giving, kind, God loving!
  4. Passionate, Positive, Persistent, Prayerful, Patient & Faithful, Loyal, Dedicated, Bicycle Beast
  5. Encouraging, kind, Man of God!
  6. You are a person of integrity faithful and an encourager stand firm in whom your faith is in Jesus.
  7. Determined, committed, extreme, persevering, intense, serious, sincere and passionate.
  8. Passionate, humble, detail-attentive, compassionate, kind, supportive, brotherly, sharp (bright, intelligent, stylish), strong (in mind, in body, in spirit).
  9. Educational, uplifting, kind, sincerely a joy to be around, and best of all godly!and determined not to fail to teach us all to dream big #princecharming
  10. Mentor great role model to my son… Thank you so much and many blessings.

My Wife K.H.R.I.S.T.Y

For fun, and out of curiosity, I did this exercise with my wife, Khristy.

And first, we were simply brainstorming with no real sense of direction for an acronym. But as the first three words came out - “kind,” “honest,” “responsible” - it was clear what God had in store:

  1. Kindness
  2. Honesty
  3. Responsible
  4. Incouraging
  5. Supportive
  6. Thoughtful
  7. Yunique

These 7 personal values and characteristics truly define my wife to her very core - particularly the creative touches :)