In previous posts, I’ve talked about setting goals and finding your “Why.” Both of these topics are infinitely important in helping you make each day your best day ever. But there’s one piece of that equation I’ve yet to mention. Something that serves as your compass, helps you make decisions and it’s at the core of what you stand for -- your values. We all say we have values, but when you get right down to it, can you identify yours?
Our families, our communities, our experiences, and our culture help define our values. However, your values may not match up like those of your parents, your church or even your spouse (though hopefully these mesh to some degree). By identifying your values you gain a valuable tool for charting your course. Questioning a business decision? Check your values. Looking for guidance on a career move or the next step in a relationship? Make the decision based on what aligns with your core beliefs. Living up to your personal values allows you to be true to yourself, and it feels sooooo good!
Defining your values
If this all sounds a little confusing, here is a simple exercise that can be completed in about 15-20 minutes that will help you hone in on your core values.
- Write down 4 people who you know (living or dead), who you most admire.
- Write down 2 people you admire (living or dead) who you don’t know (famous figures, historical figures).
Write down 5 adjectives (descriptive characteristics) for each of those 6 people (stumped on values? Here’s a list of 400 of them). You should end up with 30 adjectives.
- Go through and pick out your top 5 from the list that best represents principles, standards or qualities you believe are important in your life. Would you be satisfied if those 5 words were on your gravestone?
- Rank them in order of importance.
Bonus: Ask three people close to you if they feel the values you’ve chosen for yourself ring true. This will be valuable feedback.
Once you’ve determined what best describes your core values, get out there and live them! You’ll be amazed at the confidence you’ll have when you’re guided by your values.