5 Steps to Finding What you Truly Value

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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

 

  1. 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.

 

Acceptance

Accomplishment

Accountability

Accuracy

Achievement

Adaptability

Alertness

Altruism

Ambition

Amusement

Assertiveness

Attentive

Awareness

Balance

Boldness

Bravery

Brilliance

Calm

Candor

Capable

Careful

Certainty

Challenge

Charity

Cleanliness

Clear

Clever

Comfort

Commitment

Common sense

Communication

Community

Compassion

Competence

Concentration

Confidence

Connection

Consciousness

Consistency

Contentment

Contribution

Control

Conviction

Cooperation

Courage

Courtesy

Creation

Creativity

Credibility

Curiosity

Decisive

Decisiveness

Dedication

Dependability

Determination

Development

Devotion

Dignity

Discipline

Discovery

Drive

Effectiveness

Efficiency

Empathy

Empower

Endurance

Energy

Enjoyment

Enthusiasm

Equality

Ethical

Excellence

Experience

Giving

Exploration

Expressive

Fairness

Family

Famous

Fearless

Feelings

Ferocious

Fidelity

Focus

Foresight

Fortitude

Freedom

Friendship

Fun

Generosity

Genius

Goodness

Grace

Gratitude

Greatness

Growth

Happiness

Hard work

Harmony

Health

Honesty

Honor

Hope

Humility

Imagination

Improvement

Independence

Individuality

Innovation

Inquisitive

Insightful

Inspiring

Integrity

Intelligence

Intensity

Intuitive

Irreverent

Joy

Justice

Kindness

Knowledge

Lawful

Leadership

Learning

Liberty

Logic

Love

Loyalty

Mastery

Maturity

Meaning

Moderation

Motivation

Openness

Optimism

Order

Organization

Originality

Passion

Patience

Peace

Performance

Persistence

Persistence

Playfulness

Poise

Potential

Power

Present

Productivity

Professionalism

Prosperity

Purpose

Quality

Realistic

Reason

Recognition

Recreation

Reflective

Respect

Responsibility

Restraint

Results-oriented

Reverence

Rigor

Risk

Satisfaction

Security

Self-reliance

Selfless

Sensitivity

Serenity

Service

Sharing

Significance

Silence

Simplicity

Sincerity

Skill

Skillfulness

Smart

Solitude

Spirit

Spirituality

Spontaneous

Stability

Status

Stewardship

Strength

Structure

Success

Support

Surprise

Sustainability

Talent

Teamwork

Temperance

Thankful

Thorough

Thoughtful

Timeliness

Tolerance

Toughness

Traditional

Tranquility

Transparency

Trust

Trustworthy

Truth

Understanding

Uniqueness

Unity

Valor

Victory

Vigor

Vision

Vitality

Wealth

Welcoming

Winning

Wisdom

Wonder

 

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.

 

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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!

Worksheet: 5 Steps to Finding Your Unique Value Set