You make a lot of decisions based on them, without always realizing.
Everything I read lately talks about the importance of knowing your values. They serve as a compass, making sure that the decisions we make in our lives are aligned with who we are, what we believe, and what we do.
I had no idea what mine were. I think I’d likely give the generic response of family, friends, health…
Here are the 5 steps I used to find my unique value set
- Read through Scott Jeffrey’s list of 200 values (shown below) and write down any words that automatically stand out to you. The ones that you know in your gut are SO you. Write down as many as you want.
2. Now read through the list a few more times with these questions in mind:
- What do I care about? What is really important to me?
- What words describe me?
- What are the things that drive me crazy? (What does this say about what I value?)
- What am I like in my work?
- What am I like at home?
- What are the things I am, even if I wish I wasn’t?
Now add more words to your list.
3. Spend time away from your list. Really. Give it a few hours, even better a few days or weeks. For some reason it helps. You’ll be able to come back to it more critically after having time to process and then revisit.
4. Now pull out words that you feel strongly about — the ones that are really important to you. Yes, you may be the others but these ones are most definitely you. Narrow your list to 10 or so.
5. Get your list down to 5. Why 5? I have no idea. I just thought I might actually remember them if I had a shorter list. To help eliminate words, ask yourself:
- Between [value] and [value], which is more important to me?
- Does this word represent me in various parts of my life? (Work, family, friends, self, etc.)
Cut, cut, cut. At first it’s hard because we get really attached to these words. But it doesn’t mean they don’t describe you, they do. You’re just looking for a few that you feel most strongly about.
You’ve done it. You can now proudly look at your 5 core values. This is actually a big step. You have a good sense of what’s important to you and you can use this to help guide your decisions – whether it’s with your career or relationships.
And if you’re a crafty person or appreciate a good visual, you might want to make something with your words in it. It can be a good reminder It could be a little doodle, word art made on your phone through an app, or simply a sticky note.
This is me. Totally me. I actually felt a little emotional getting to this place. There’s nothing negative in this list, just the good stuff. The things I love and care about. Who I truly am. No negative self-talk here. This was a good exercise for me to do.
I immediately started thinking about my husband, my best friend…we each would have our own unique combination of values. Each person in the world. It’s pretty cool when you think about it. No wonder people disagree when it comes to parenting decisions or politics. The way we see the world, what we place value on, is different for each of us.
If you’d like to see what your 5 values are, I’ve made a little worksheet for you with all of the steps and places to jot down your words. If you’d like a copy, help yourself!