Have you ever heard the saying “be true to yourself”?
But thought what the f*!k does that mean?
When we make decisions against our core values we are not being true to ourselves. Because core values are everything we give a sh*t about. Whether it’s things, like family or a facet of moral character such as honesty. When we make decisions, not in line with them we end up feeling unfulfilled and miserable.
YES! You can lead a fulfilling life without ever acknowledging your personal core values. But the real magic happens when you let them guide you.
Why should you care about your personal core values?
Core values can help guide your decision making
Think of core values as a compass. They will guide you in the right direction but it’s up to you to choose the path.
Say, you value connections with others. You would align your career with a job that involves lots of collaborations and teamwork. You would avoid jobs which you spend most of your day alone.
Do you struggle with decision fatigue? Knowing your core values can help you narrow down your decision options. You can simply rule out options that don’t aline with your core values. Saying “No” will never be easier.
Core values can help define what success and happiness looks like for you.
We have all heard stories of millionaires who are miserable. And thought how could that be possible? They have everything that success is supposed to look like. But if security is not one of your core values, no amount of money is going to make you happy.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do, are in harmony.
Knowing what is important to you allows you to aline all the aspect of your life with what matters to you.
Core values can help you create the person you want to be.
Given the choice between going to the gym or Netflix and chilling, I am going to choose sitting on my ass every time. But ever since I realized I am creeping closer to 40, I have begun to value my health more than comfort. Knowing this, every time I push myself to go to the gym. It feels so good afterward.
Core values can help you to align yourself with people, who you can have a meaningful connection with.
I had this “friend” that was always late. It drove me nuts because I have always seen lateness as a sign of disrespect. She is a fun and an outgoing gal. And we always had great conversations. But over time we stopped staying in touch. I didn’t feel bad about it. Sure I could have made more of an effort to be a better friend but something held me back. And it was my core value of respect. We were too misaligned in what mattered to each of us to have a long meaningful relationship.
Core Values help you refocus when the “sh*t hits the fan”
You can use core value to help you refocus when you’re lost. Maybe you ended up in a career path that you hate or in a relationship that drains you. You search for answers because you don’t know how you got yourself in this situation. This is the time to use your core values to reevaluate what you are struggling with. Is your career/ relationship aligned with your core values or are you out of whack?
Knowing your core values can be a powerful tool in your journey of self-discovery.
- Help guide your decision making
- Help define what success and happiness looks like for you.
- Help you create the person you want to be.
- Help you to align yourself with people, who you can have a meaningful connection with.
- Help you refocus when the “sh*t hits the fan”
Don’t know how to discover your personal core values?
No worries. Keep Reading
How To Discover Your Personal Core Values (five steps)
1. Quickly brainstorm what you already know is important to you.
You probably can rattle off a few things that are really important to you with little thought. Write these down. These don’t just have to be words, they can be sentence, phrases, quotes you love. Anything that has meaning to you.
2. Dig Deep
Then, dig deeper. Expand these on these values. For everything you wrote down, ask yourself why are these important. How do they make you feel? This will help you rank your core values later.
For me, independence is at the top of my list.
- I hate the feeling when I have to depend on someone.
- It really bothers me, if I have to explain purchases to my husband.
- I dislike working for someone else if I am going to put in 120% effort. I want to benefit 120%.
If you get stuck, check out Defining Your Values for some ideas.
3. Group like core values together
Now that you have a fairly large list of core values. Start group like ones together. Ask yourself if there is one that stands out more than the others? Is there one word or phrase that will incorporate the whole group of values and have the same meaning to you.
Then try to narrow your core values down to 3-5. These core values should have the most meaning to you. Think about a critical event in your life, is there one core value that sticks out the most? Was there something you based a critical decision on.
Do this over a couple of days or weeks. Don’t rush the process. You will find that you will change your mind often. Be mindful the next time you make a decision. What were you basing that decision on?
Then, rank them
Here where it gets really difficult. Once you got your list down to a few, rank them in importance. Why you might ask? Because life is not black and white, there is a heck of a lot of grey areas. You are going to run into times when your core values are going to conflict with one another. And if you know which one is more important to you, you will be able to make a better decision.
4. Keep them close
Write your core values out and keep them somewhere you will constantly see them. You want to reference them often, keep a list in your phone
This is not a one-time thing. You’re going to change and grow. Things that mattered to you last year aren’t going to matter to you this year. Decide how often you want to review your core values. Set a reminder on your phone.
Finally, avoid these 3 personal core values m
It’s easy to pick a bunch of nice sounding words from a list of core values.
But that’s your first mistake.
We hear a lot about corporate core values. You know how corporations will create an inspiring set of core values. Mostly to go along with a beautifully written mission statement. Then they will slap the whole thing on their website to look like they have their shit together. But in reality, these core values have no real meaning. They don’t apply them to their day to day operations or to their corporate culture.
Yet we rarely hear about personal core values. But we all have them. Whether we know what they are or not.
The truly great corporations use core values as the building blocks of their corporate cultures. They will use them to guide their decision making in all aspects of their business. Only taking on projects that are in line with their core values and passing on others that are not.
You can use personal core values in the same manner. They can help guide you with the direction of your life. The projects you take on, the friends you hang out with, the partner you chose to spend time with.
But, if you pick your core values at random. Without intention and meaning, they will have no true meaning to your life. And you will end up having a set of nice sounding words.
Avoid this by not making these personal core values mistakes.
You googled “personal core values” and picked a bunch from a list. The problem with way is that like most of us, you picked the best sounding ones. And not ones that have the most meaning to you.
You didn’t take the time to discover what matters to you. This process takes time. It’s easy to come up with some nice sounding personal core values. We all want to value honesty, have integrity and show kindness. But you need to dig deep to discover which ones drive you.
You never reevaluated your core values. You are not the same person you were five years ago. Heck, you aren’t the same person you were a year ago. We change and so does your personal core values. This is not a “set it and forget it” thing. You need to reevaluate every so often to keep them relevant.