Hand reaching out to touch light

Finding the Light Through Values with Ashley Mowrey

Written by
Ashley Mowrey
Thursday 4, 2021

Finding the Light Through Values

with Ashley Mowrey

 With all that’s going on in the world, it can feel so hard to have the desire to set goals or maintain motivation. When things are in constant flux, and often out of our control, it can be so tempting to just throw in the towel and call it quits. If you’re there, that’s okay. You’re not alone. For me personally, the loss, grief, unpredictability, and stress I’ve experienced the past year has often made it hard to focus on and work towards anything other than the current day. I’ve heard these thoughts echoed by teachers and dancers...how spirits are low, motivation is waning, and even as performances and competitions start back up, nerves and worry are at an all-time high. In these moments, I’m reminded of a quote from one of my favorite researchers and authors, Brené Brown:

 “There are no guarantees in the arena. We will struggle. We will even fail. There will be darkness. But if we are clear about the values that guide us in our efforts to show up and be seen, we will always be able to find the light. We will know what it means to live brave.”

 In times of darkness, values can light our way. Values are what we believe to be important, the standards and principles we use as a compass to navigate our lives. When we identify our values and keep them front of mind, we can use them to guide our thoughts, behaviors, choices, and relationships.

 Setting and practicing our values can also assist us in developing and maintaining:

  • Motivation
  • Engagement in class
  • Joy
  • Connection to self and others
  • Self-awareness
  • Purpose
  • Decision making skills
  • Perseverance

 To set your values, we’ll use an exercise from Whole Person Coaching, the method I am certified in. Teachers, this is a great tool to use with your staff and dancers too, both as individuals and as a group. For groups, follow the same steps but with everyone’s input to set their shared team/group values.


  • Whole Person Coaching Values List
  • Paper or notebook
  • Something to write with
  • Notecards


  • Spend time reading through the Values List and write down all that resonate with you. It’s okay if you have more than 10 at this point. Feel free to add any values that aren’t on the list that are important to you.
  • Next, go through your list and cross out or combine any that are alike. Try to edit your list down to your top 10 values.
  • Then, go through your list and rank the values, #1 being the most important.
  • From there, write each value on a notecard, one value per notecard.
  • Once each value is written on a notecard, put them in rank order in front of you.
  • You will then compare and prioritize your values, two at a time, starting from least important. For example: Let’s say you have 10 values. Hold the notecards with #10 and #9 and ask yourself which is most important. Which can you not live without? Switch order if you find the lower ranking value is more important.
  • Repeat holding notecards two at a time, comparing and prioritizing, until you’ve gone through all 10. Doing this on notecards for you to hold makes the values more tangible and easier to move their order around.
  • Once you have your prioritized values list, journal about each one. Some sample journal questions are:
    • What are you learning about yourself through this exercise?
    • Why is this value important to you?
    • What would it look like to show up to dance everyday leading with this value?
    • What would performances, competition, and auditions look like leading with this value? What would be possible?
    • What thoughts align with this value?
    • What behaviors align with this value?
    • How can you use this value in times when you feel unmotivated? Judged? Worried about others opinions?
  • Write down your values, at least the top 5, and put them somewhere you can see as a daily reminder. This could be on a sticky note on your mirror, in your phone, in your dance bag, etc.


  • Use your values as a guide to help yourself set goals and daily intentions. Teachers, this is a great exercise to use at the beginning of each class to help dancers shift into a growth mindset and listen to their inner guide.
  • Compassionately use your values to reflect upon your behaviors and choices and if they’re in alignment with your values. Teachers, you can also gently encourage your dancers to evaluate their behaviors in this way and refocus on their values as undesired behaviors arise.

 Taking time to set your values is going to give you a jump start in setting goals, maintaining motivation, and being intentional about your actions. Once you’ve done this exercise, refer back to it as often as possible. Look at your values and read them to yourself. Use them to realign with your purpose and shift out of funky moods.

 Teachers and studio owners, if you want extra support helping your dancers set values, this is one of my most popular exercises to teach during my virtual group workshops. Email me to chat about it and set up a workshop for your dancers!

 If you’re interested in my work, head to my website to learn more and see how we can work together to calm the mind and body, cultivate self-confidence, and create inner strength so you can perform at your best in addition to using professional dance gear. You can also find me on Instagram for more free tools, resources, and inspiration.

 Chat soon!

 Ashley Mowrey is a Mindset Coach and Educator for dancers.  She holds a B.A. in Psychology from The University of Arkansas, is a Certified Professional Coach and Whole Person Certified Coach through Coach Training World, a trained facilitator in Tara Mohr’s Playing Big Leadership Program for Women, a specialist for Doctors for Dancers, and a blog contributor for Apolla Performance. Ashley has recently joined the faculty for the upcoming Embody Dance Conference, coming Summer 2021 in Connecticut where she will lead workshops for all ages, including parents and teachers, on mindset tools. She is also a Team Member of Dancer, 360 and will be a contributor to their upcoming book. Ashley trained as a competitive dancer out of Dallas, TX before teaching and eventually directing a company and dance studio in Fayetteville, AR. It was during those years that she felt drawn towards the dancer’s mindset and the need for training and tools in the dance community to foster mental health and wellbeing. She sees clients in person and via Skype/Zoom all over the country as well as travels (mostly digitally these days) to studios for customized group workshops. Ashley has also been featured on Dance Studio Amplified Podcast, (Ep. 14), Dance Boss University Mastermind guest presenter, and episode 58 of Dance Boss Podcast. Head to her website for more information, or her Instagram for free tools and resources to help you build a healthy mindset to navigate the dance world at your best.


Comments: 1

Isabella Candido
Isabella Candido

Apr 16, 2021

This is so so motivating! I love it!


Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.