Defining My Own Personal Currencies

Reflecting on my twenties, it’s clear that building my career took center stage. Money and recognition were driving forces, propelling me to make choices based on how they could boost my progress. I remained true to my values, but I sacrificed crucial aspects along the way. Workaholic would’ve been an understatement—I worked nights and weekends, relentlessly pushing my career forward. Unfortunately, this fervor came at a cost: relationships deteriorated, personal freedom was scarce, and self-care declined. Does this sound familiar?

Transitioning into my thirties, my career had solidified, and the allure of money and recognition remained strong. However, an unmistakable sense of loneliness began to creep in. Close friendships had suffered due to years of neglect. Despite living near family, quality time was a rarity. It was time for a change. With my parents aging, I realized the significance of investing in important relationships.

I cultivated new friendships and embarked on exciting adventures. Even though my job was demanding, I tapped into the executive equity I had built over the years. A newfound friend introduced me to my future husband. We dated long distance for almost a year, which meant I could still dedicate much of time and energy to my job without compromising our relationship. When he moved to my hometown, that is when priorities began to shift even more.

Shifts continued to occur with each milestone—marriage, loss of my father, the arrival of our first child, the decision to expand our family, and our children entering middle school. Life began to take on a different perspective, prompting me to make decisions that aligned with what truly mattered—beyond money and recognition. I craved the freedom to be present for our kids, the opportunity to delve into my passions, and the necessity to prioritize my well-being. My life currencies underwent a transformation, stretching beyond money.

Our lives are enriched by currencies that go far beyond the confines of money. As our journey unfolds, we continually reevaluate and rearrange our priorities to mirror our evolving aspirations, values, and goals. Understanding the intricate nature of these currencies—spanning from recognition and relationships to purpose and freedom—offers invaluable insights into how we navigate our decisions and chart our paths.


At the onset, the pursuit of financial stability often takes precedence. Money serves as the bedrock upon which we build our dreams, providing the means to fulfill our material desires and secure our future. The allure of monetary success propels us to work diligently and aim for financial milestones.

  1. How does financial stability impact my sense of security and confidence in making life decisions?
  2. What financial milestones or goals do I need to achieve to feel content and secure?
  3. What is the role of money in influencing my choices, and how does it balance with other personal values?


Early in our careers, many of us embark on a quest for recognition. Whether it’s climbing the corporate ladder, winning awards, or basking in external praise, the allure of being acknowledged for our achievements can be intoxicating. However, as our journeys progress, we often realize that recognition, while satisfying, is not the sole measure of our worth.

  1. What forms of acknowledgment matter most to me?
  2. How important is external recognition in the decisions I make?
  3. What legacy do I aspire to leave behind in terms of the recognition I receive from my accomplishments?


As we mature and gain a broader perspective, the value of relationships comes to the forefront. Nurturing and fostering connections with loved ones, friends, and mentors can become a top priority. After all, the support network we build can serve as a wellspring of strength and comfort.

  1. How do my relationships with family, friends, and mentors impact my decision-making process?
  2. How does my decision affect the well-being and livelihood of those connected to me?
  3. How do I balance the needs of my relationships with other personal priorities?

BODY & SPIRIT (Personal Well Being):

The currency of the body & spirit encompasses our health, well-being, inner peace, self-awareness, and vitality. When we prioritize the synergy between the body and spirit something magical happens—the other currencies start to thrive too. A healthy body brings boundless energy to your pursuits, while a nourished spirit enhances your sense of purpose and the connections you make.

  1. How have I prioritized my physical and spiritual well-being throughout my life journey?
  2. How does my overall well-being influence the quality of my life decisions and long-term satisfaction?
  3. What role does my health and spiritual well-being play in ensuring a balanced and fulfilling life trajectory?


Unveiling our purpose is a journey of self-discovery that can transform how we perceive success. While recognition and money may once have driven us, the pursuit of a meaningful purpose can now take precedence. Understanding why we do what we do, aligning our actions with our values, and contributing positively to the world can bring unparalleled fulfillment.

  1. How does my sense of purpose guide my choices and contribute to a fulfilling life?
  2. How does my understanding of purpose influence the criteria I use to evaluate potential paths?
  3. In times of change, how do I ensure that my decisions reflect my primary motivations and sense of purpose?


Finally, the pursuit of freedom—both in terms of personal choices and work dynamics—can play a pivotal role in our lives. Gaining the freedom to choose the type of work we engage in, how we allocate our time, and where flexibility is paramount can significantly enhance our well-being.

  1. What does freedom mean to me in the context of my life decisions and long-term goals?
  2. What aspects of freedom and flexibility do I consider non-negotiable when evaluating options?
  3. In decisions that involve trade-offs, how do I balance the pursuit of freedom with other priorities?

It’s important to acknowledge that additional currencies may be at play, unique to each individual. The heart of the matter lies not in adhering to a fixed list but in recognizing what truly matters to us and the legacy we aspire to leave behind.

So, the next time you stand at the crossroads of choice, let your personal currencies serve as your guiding light, leading you toward a life of fulfillment and purpose.

Linda Ruffenach

Founder / Chief Strategic Officer at Execuity. Linda is an experienced entrepreneur, skilled facilitator, and bourbon badass. Her 20+ years of C-level experience enables her to relate to the challenges business owners face every day. As the former CEO of a $100 million international enterprise, she has been through almost every stage a company can experience from fast growth, rapid decline, to complete transformation. In addition to running multiple businesses, Linda is Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Louisville's School of Business, leading and mentoring undergrad and graduate students on their path to business ownership Linda’s superpower is turning strategy into results.