Your personal core values are what’s already there, they are who you are. Personal core values are observable and reveal themselves in your day-to-day actions and how you relate to others and interface with the world around you.
In the previous post I shared my own story of struggling with a professional change that was difficult and high-stakes for me. Although I ended up making the right decision, it would have been a lot clearer and easier to make had I done the hard work of identifying my core personal values. Although it’s hard work, it’s well worth the effort and knowing them will give you leverage and empower your decision making in the following 5 ways:
- Making priority decisions
- Identifying and selecting the work you love
- Expressing and relating in the way that most gratifying for you
- Committing to action that represents your highest point of contribution and brings you the most fulfillment
- Keeping you on track with your “true North” direction for your life
If that kind of leverage and empowerment is something you want, you have to be willing to do something about it. The good news is that you don’t need to re-invent the wheel here. The following are are 5 proven ways that can help you effectively and efficiently identify your personal core values:
- A peak moment in time- think of a specific, special moment in time when life was especially rewarding. Who was present, what was going on and what values were being honored? Which resonated most with you?
- Suppressed values- this is the opposite of the above. Think of a specific moment in time when you were angry, frustrated or upset. Who was present, what was going on and what values were being repressed or violated?
- Must-haves- beyond basic necessities, what has to be in your life to make it sweet and fulfilling? Do you have to have Creativity, Collaboration, Achievement, or be Leading, Empowering, or Serving others? What Values do you hold that if not honored, cause a part of you to shrivel up and die?
- Obsessive Expression- we can all get obsessive at times, and this can give us clues about our Values. It’s akin to a Strength being overdone. For example, people who value Self-expression may at times become selfish, rude or narcissistic. Those who value Learning and Growth may become self-absorbed and neglect other responsibilities.
- Use a Coach- as an outside party, a coach can facilitate the process of value identification by asking powerful questions and taking clients into their lives instead fantasizing in their head. This is often the most effective and efficient way to work through your values.
If you haven’t gone down this particular road of self-discovery yet, how would figuring out your personal core values serve your best interests? If you have, how have you benefited and how are you staying on track? Please leave a comment and share your story, it may just be that turn signal or road marker someone needs to get headed in the right direction again.