Getting clear on your values

What are your values? Have you ever been asked this question? Words start flying around your mind as you think of what is important to you, what standards you have, how you behave and what you see as worthy. Or perhaps your mind draws blank... of course there are so many things that are important to you, but how can you sum it up in a few short words? Well you can, and it can be extremely valuable in streamlining your life, making decisions and setting and achieving your goals.

Its not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.
— ~ Roy E. Disney

Values can be defined as 'your principles of behaviour', but also what you feel is important to you in your life and things you regard as useful or worthy. Of course we all have many things in our lives that are of great importance to us, but what is it that really shapes you? Determining the top 3-5 values that you uphold will help shape your thoughts, actions, behaviours, pathways and decisions you make.

To figure out your values, have a brainstorming session and write down the words that come to mind. The list can be endless but see if you can come up with around 20-30 values

E.g. health, inner peace, love, happiness, integrity, successful, family, freedom, service, adventure, self-respect, connection, friendship, generosity, involvement, achievement, wealth, competitiveness, creativity, personal growth, authenticity.

Once you have this list, cut it back to find your top 10 values. Then get serious and narrow this down to 3-5 values, think about what is most important to you. Don't worry, you are not cutting the other values from your life, just getting really clear on where your priorities lie.

You will find there will be overlap with some values. For example, happiness for your may mean finding inner peace or expressing love toward yourself and others. This is great; they don't have to be black and white. Once you are clear on your top values write out what they mean to you, your own interpretation in one to two sentences.

Determining your values may take a few goes and nothing is set in stone, what you value today may be different to what you value in 12 months time. Check in every 12-24 months with the same process above to see if your values have changed.

What next?

  • Be sure to write out your values and what they mean to you. Physically writing things down and seeing it in front of you is a really powerful way of owning what you believe.
  • Put them in a place where you will see them every day. Your diary, your desk or on your bathroom mirror. Be reminded of what's important to you every single day.
  • Use them. Your values will become so clear that you will be able to use them as your bench mark. When faced with difficult decisions, choices and behaviours turn back to your values and ask yourself...if I make this choice will I be representing my values?

Values are an important bench mark for you and the paths you choose to follow, the way you choose to act, what you focus on and how you navigate the ups and downs of life. Get clear on them and why they are important. Use them to help decide where you want to go and what you want to do.

 
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