Our values are the roots that keep us grounded and growing towards our potential.
Values are what we believe in and drive how we live and work. They are a part of our authentic self and help to deeply prioritize what we should do when we come against an uncomfortable decision – they help measure if our life is fulfilling and turning out the way we wanted.
Our personal values are an essential part of who we are. When we know what our values are we can then make a conscience decision to live by them and to have a more satisfying life. When we use our values as a filter they will then influence decisions regarding our lifestyle, our friends, our spouse, the organization we work within, etc…. A bonus is that our values will help us to find common ground with those we disagree with and to move us forward when we are stuck.
Identifying our values and then living them gives us the personal power to resist conformity to societies relentless push to value meaningless possessions and status symbols. When we are operating within our values, life is good – we feel happy and content. When we are not, we feel unhappy and disconnected. This is why making a conscious effort to identify our values as part of our life’s purpose (our why) is so important!
“When we live by our values, we live a purposeful and dynamic existence.” – Author unknown
Before we continue with uncovering our values, I’d like to set the stage by taking just a few minutes to answer (briefly) the following questions:
- What makes you happy?
- What makes you feel great about yourself?
- Who inspires you the most? (In particular their qualities.)
- What causes you to strongly believe in or connect to something?
- What do the people who really know you ask for help with?
- If you were to teach something, what would you teach?
The answers will help us move through the next steps to determine what values are important and speak to our authentic selves.
So let’s get started!
- Print the list below and circle all of the values that resonate with you. (It is fine to add a few that you don’t see on this list.) Don’t spend more than a few seconds reviewing each value – in other words do not overthink. If the value speaks to you circle it.
- Now limit the list to five values that define who you are now and/or who you want to become.
- Eliminate two of the five-circled values so that you have three values.
- Now eliminate one more leaving you with two values.
- Lastly, put these two values in order of importance.
Studies have shown that when we choose our own values after careful reflection, we are more likely to act on our values over time.
Making value based decisions isn’t always easy. When we use our values to filter our decisions, we can ensure what we know is right and then we can approach decisions with clarity and confidence. When we live and respond through our values we’ll know what is best for our current and future happiness and satisfaction.
You may be asking…why focus only the top two values? To use a metaphor (which you know I love 😉 ) it is because one can be placed in each hand or in each pocket. As we move through our day, we can pull them out to remind us and to guide our actions and decisions.
If you are new at understanding what your values are, I’d like to suggest that you write them down and put them in a place that you will see every day (bathroom mirror, next to your work computer, etc..) Let them become a brain tattoo – to be woven into your conscious and subconscious.
Here’s my top five values:
- Helping others
- Growth – Personal Mastery
- Fitness physically/mentally
What are your top five values?
“Growth demands a temporary surrender of security. It may mean giving up familiar but limiting patterns, safe but unrewarding work, values no longer believed in, and relationships that have lost meaning.” John C. Maxwell