Do you know your core values? It may seem like a simple question but it’s shocking how many people say yes and then can’t site even one true core value. They kind of float through life letting other people and random circumstances dictate their decisions.
If that describes you then you should know that’s a high price to pay for never taking the time to truly reflect on what matters, to think back on the times when you followed a principle rather than a popular opinion. Without a solid understanding of your core values you can sometimes feel as if your life has lost its direction and purpose. You know something is just “off” and that something needs to change, you’re just not sure what.
When you define your core values you also discover what’s truly important to you. Core values, those ideas, beliefs, and principles that you hold closest are your guide to every decision and choice you make.
Identifying and understanding your values is a challenging exercise but one that all truly successful people undertake from time to time. Their core values very rarely change but they review them periodically to keep them top of mind. It is a serious investment of time but one that is well worth the effort. When you understand and can readily identify your core values you’ll find it easier to make even the toughest decisions. Every choice either aligns with your values or they don’t; decisions don’t become smaller or less important but they do become easier, much easier.
Here’s how to discover your own core values:
Write down your values, that’s all the “stuff” that matters to you, don’t judge, write them all down, big ones, small ones, serious ones and silly ones. Write them ALL down. Take as long as you need, there is no deadline here…it could be weeks, maybe even months.
Once you believe your list is complete then start prioritizing. If you had to eliminate one value which one would go away? Eliminate that value from your list, it doesn’t mean it’s not an important value, it’s just not a “core” value.
Review and prioritize your values list everyday until you have just 6 or 7 on your list…those are likely your core values.
Once you have your core values defined put some depth and specificity to them. Don’t leave yourself any wriggle room or wiggle you will. Share your values with those close to you. Share them with your mentor or accountability partner.
You will find your core values and principles are easier to discover than they are to live so don’t be timid when asking for help to live them.