EE 022: Core Values…How Knowing Yours Will Change Everything About Life, Love & Business
Consider this post a primer on core values. We talked about core values when we got down and dirty uncovering your inner drive. So before you answer the following question, I want to remind you that your core values determine every decision you make in life.
Every decision we make in life is a values-based decision. We base our decisions upon whether we believe we will get what we want as a result of our actions. When the things that you do and the way in which you behave run in alignment with your values, life will usually seem good and fulfilling. But when these don’t align with your values, this can become a real source of unhappiness.
Now for the question…
How Core Values Help You in Business?
Values exist, whether you recognize them or not. Business (and life) can be much easier when you acknowledge your deep-rooted values – and when you make plans and decisions that honor them.
If you value family, but your business requires you to work a 60 hour week, will this cause you conflict and stress? Or perhaps you work in a competitive sales environment but competition isn’t one of your core values…do you think you are likely to have high job satisfaction?
It’s in situations like these that understanding our core values can really help. When we have a good understanding of our values, we can use them to make important life decisions and answer questions such as:
- Should I accept this promotion, start that side hustle, or both?
- What passion should I pursue?
- Should I be firm with my position or compromise with my family or coworker?
- Should I re-enter the workforce as an employee or entrepreneur?
- Should I follow tradition or take a new path in life?
Taking time to understand the real priorities in your life will enable you to determine the best direction to take, and will help you work toward achieving your business (& life) goals.
When we define our personal values, we discover what’s truly important to us. The best way to start doing this is to reflect on your life and identify times when you felt really positive and confident that you were making good choices.
It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.
“Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs, therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity or undue depression in adversity.” ― Isocrates
Get out that journal once again. Give thought to the following questions from both the personal and professional viewpoints, then put pen to paper and let your answers flow freely. Don’t focus on editing, you’re the only one who will read this. The more honest you can be with yourself, the better this exercise will help you gain the EXECUpreneur’s EDGE.
1) Identify times in your life when you were at your happiest, giving examples from your personal life and your professional perspective (this will ensure some balance in your answers).
- What were you doing?
- Were you with other people? Who?
- What other factors contributed to your happiness?
2) Identify times in your life when you were most proud. Give examples from both your personal and your professional perspectives.
- A) Why were you proud?
- Did other people share your pride? Who?
- What other factors contributed to this feeling of pride?
3) Identify times in your life when you felt most fulfilled and satisfied. Again, giving examples from both your personal and professional perspectives.
- What need or desire was fulfilled?
- How did this experience give your life meaning?
- What other factors contributed to this fulfilment?
“In order to be authentic, you have to make decisions based on what you want, rather than how it will be perceived.” ― Shannon L. Alder
Now it is time to determine your most important (core) values, based on your experiences of inner peace. Consider why each experience is so memorable and important?
Use this list of common personal values to help you get started – aim for approximately 10 top values.
As you work through this exercise, you may find that some of these values naturally combine. For example, if you value generosity, philanthropy, and community, you could say that serving others is one of your top values.
Note: Although this list of potential values is thorough, it is not necessarily complete. Please feel free to add to the list. There are some blank boxes at the bottom for you to enter other values that come to mind.
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” – Roy Disney
A List of Core Values to Get the Juices Flowin’
A printable PDF can be found HERE so you may highlight the values that mean the most to you.
Prioritize Your ‘Top’ Values’
This step is usually the most challenging as you’ll have to look deep within yourself. However, it’s also the most important step, because, when you’re faced with a decision, you may have to choose between solutions that will satisfy different values.
This is when it’s crucial to know which value is more important to you. Firstly, without worrying about the order, make a list of your top 10 values:
My Top 10 values (in no particular order):
Now, look at the first two values on the list and ask yourself this question:
‘If I could only satisfy one of these, which one would I choose?’
Work your way through the list, comparing each value with each of the other values until you’ve got your list in the correct order for you.
My Top 10 values (in order of priority):
Reaffirm Your Values
Check your top-priority values, and make sure that they fit with your life and your vision for yourself.
1) Do these values you’ve chosen make you feel good about yourself?
2) Are you proud of your top three values?
3) Would you be comfortable to tell people you respect about your values?
4) Do these values represent things you would commit your life to pursuing?
When you take into consideration your values in decision making, you can be certain to keep a sense of integrity and what you know is right, while being able to approach decisions with confidence and clarity.
You’ll also know that what you’re currently doing is motivated by the progress that you want to make in life.
It’s not always easy to make value-based choices, but making decisions that you know are right is a lot simpler in the long run.
Key Points: Identifying and understanding your values is a challenging and important exercise. Your values are central to who you are and who you want to be. By becoming more aware of these crucial factors in your life, you can use them as a guide which will help you make your best choice in any situation.
Some of life’s decisions are really about determining what you value most. When many options seem reasonable, it can be comforting and helpful to rely on your core values, using them as a strong guiding force to point you in the right direction.