Understanding what you value in life sounds like a no brainer. Most people think they know exactly what they value most.
When asked, “what do you value in life?” People have some pretty standard responses such as:
- financial stability
These vary somewhat by age, but the top 3 tend to be family, health and career. These are great things to have value in, but they are not necessarily one’s personal/core values. They may be something a person places value in, but they do not define the core of who an individual is. This core definition is what you are after!
Your core values are 3-5 critically important personal values you hold near and dear. Let’s take “family” for example. Of course you value your family, but what is it in you that creates that sense of value? Could it be “connectedness?” Could it be “harmony?” The things that bring you fulfillment in valuing your family will not be the same for you as they are for someone else. That’s what makes them your unique core values.
Let’s take the example of someone who “values” their career. You may find that you value being “challenged.” If your job is not challenging you, you will feel discontented and unhappy. Perhaps, you find value in your career because it meets your core need to “serve” others. If you say you value your career, ask yourself what it is about your career that creates that sense of value.
One more example to consider: If you say you value God, but you never pray or attend church, then there is a disconnect. You may truly place value in God, but the reasons within you, those things at your core, that drive the value in God have gotten lost in your life. You will feel that disconnect.
When you are living in alignment with your core values you have more overall vitality resulting in achievements and success. Your core values are your deepest and most powerful centering force.
When you are not living in accordance with your core values you will feel dissatisfied, discontent, guilt and more. You will not be fulfilled.
In a time where you are not being fulfilled, there are two real possibilities to consider as the source:
- You are not living in alignment with your core values.
- You have fundamental needs that are not being met.
Values can and do change. They can also simply get lost in what’s currently going on in your life.
When living out of alignment with core values, you can either change your core values or change things in your life. While values do change, I would contend that this is not the norm when someone has done the deep heart work of clearly knowing what their core values are. Much more often it is a situation that one is not living true to what they value.
When your needs are not being met, it will be almost impossible to focus on living in alignment with your core values until those needs are being met. The need(s) will rise up taking over your focus. This creates a masquerade of sorts where the fundamental need appears to become a core value.[Tweet “Take the time to assess your core values and gain great clarity to life impacting choices.”]
With clarity you can determine if there are life changes you want or need to make.
Decisions are easier to make when you know your values. Once you have clarity on your core values, you will make critical decisions based on the security inherent in knowing what matters most to you.
States of confusion are lessened because you are not torn between honoring what people want you to do and being true to God and who He created you to be. You will find it easier to live in alignment with your God-given purpose.
The vision for your current season of life will be more easily clarified and your mission to get there will follow.
How to Determine Your Core Values
There are MANY values based exercises available. When you work through values clarification exercises, you should elicit a sense of joy and satisfaction as you imagine yourself living true to those values. If you don’t get that sense, you may be looking to superficial values – things you have been told you should do, believe or value.
As you work through any values clarification exercise, you must not judge yourself. You may be a person who values having power and recognition. You may also think these things are not very admirable in the eyes of those around you so, you choose to look for something else that you believe would be more admirable. This does you no good! If you are not where you want to be, authentic awareness of where you are is the only way true change can begin.
Determining your values can be difficult because the process quickly takes on a life of it’s own. The human mind wants to go many places. This is an excellent process to work through with a life coach. A coach will:
- maintain focus and help you determine your core values using a process.
- guide you in “sitting with” your new found values and working through what you uncover.
- help you assess whether your life and actions are in alignment with your values.
- help you determine and implement corrective action to align your life with what you value most.
January 12, 2016-February 2, 2016 I am offering a FREE “Work of Clarity” opportunity. Each week we will look at personal foundation building: values, purpose, vision, mission.