When was the last time, if ever, you were asked to identify your values?
Values are the center of your being and are key to understanding how to make meaningful choices. Whether or not you are aware, when you find yourself reacting strongly to events, issues, opinions or tasks, it is because they either align with or go against your values.
Understanding your values creates a doorway to clarity...clarity of vision, clarity of goals, clarity of priorities, clarity of purpose, and clarity of what drives you to take action. In addition, being able to articulate your values to others offers opportunities for enhanced communication.
Identifying your personal values is an important part of understanding yourself and creating a space where you can be successful with personal and professional goals. In this context, the word "value" may refer to how you feel about the work you are doing and the contribution it makes to society. The word “value” may also refer to your personal life and how you choose to spend your time and with whom. Effortless fulfillment and joy are experienced when you create a personal and professional life that is congruent with your core values.
So, how do you start to figure out what your core values are?
Step 1: Ask yourself, “What, in life, is most important to me?” Write out everything that comes to mind.
Step 2: From your responses, go deeper and ask yourself, “What does ________ mean to me?” For example, you may have an initial answer of money, but after further digging, it really means freedom.
Step 3: Choose no more than 6 values from your list. Rank them in hierarchy from most valuable to least valuable.
Step 4: Now it is time to drill it down to your core 3 values. Look separately at each value and ask yourself, “If ___________ were missing from my life, I would be okay.” Or “If I have to live without one of these values, I can let go of ________.”
Step 5: Take your 3 core values and write them down, with a definition and what it means for you to honor that value.
Yay! You have now created your core value system. You can refer to and call on this as a foundation for the intentions you create, the goals you set and the choices you make in each moment of who you want to be. If at any time, you find yourself feeling disappointed or frustrated, check in with yourself and identify which value you feel is being compromised.
Understanding and owning your values creates a sense of empowerment and clarity that can profoundly support your life, personally and professionally.