Having a clear understanding of your personal values is critical to your success. Without this knowledge you won’t know what really matters to you, what motivates you and why you are doing what you are doing. You’ll be in conflict with what you really want and your life will be unfulfilling and stressful.
If you want to be successful you need to make sure your personal values and your goals in life are aligned. If they aren’t you will struggle to find motivation and sustain the enthusiasm and energy you need to travel the road to success!
You also use your personal values to evaluate your actions, or other peoples actions, after they have taken place. When you use values in this way they can have a profound effect on your feelings. For example, if you do something that is in direct conflict with your personal core values it will leave you feeling bad about yourself.
DEFINE PERSONAL VALUES FOR ME?
Personal values are those things that are most important to you, those things that must be true for you to lead a happy and fulfilled life. Your values are also those things that really motivate you. When you are living in accord with your personal values you find life fulfilling and satisfying.
Values are not set in stone, they usually don’t change rapidly like beliefs can, but if you think back over your life, you will be able to trace the development of personal values.
Think back to your childhood – are exactly the same things that were important to you as a child also as important to you now as an adult? How about 5 years ago, 10 years ago?
When you were a child your values probably came from parents or other significant adults. Later on, you picked up values from your peers, your social environment, and other influences you allowed in to your life. As an adult the development of personal values continues for you. However if you have values that are not serving you well, it is possible to change them!
HOW TO LIST PERSONAL VALUES
Your personal values can be in many different areas: your values in life, work, family…
The best place to start to list personal values for you is to look at your values in life, you can look at other, more specific areas later on. Examples of life values are things like: honesty, integrity, family, freedom…
You have already seen that the definition of personal core values is simple – but discovering your personal values is much harder.
It’s so easy to confuse values with other things like beliefs. It is also very common to feel you should value something as a result of pressure from your parents and your friends when in fact it is just not a value for you.
The key is to remember that you define personal values as the things that are important to YOU…
So just sit down quietly with a piece of paper and repeatedly ask yourself the question:
“What is really important about life for me?”
Just keep asking and answering as honestly as you can – don’t answer as you think you ought to. Write down your answers.
Once you’ve written down your answers then you can try a second exercise:
Think back to a time when you were really motivated to do something, anything – go on a journey somewhere, propose to your spouse, help someone who was in difficulty, climb a mountain…
Think back into that time, imagine where you were and how you felt as you became motivated until you can discover the feeling you had at the moment you were motivated – maybe it was a desire to discover something new, love for your future spouse…
That initial emotion is almost certainly one of your core values… Write it down!
Go through these two exercises a few times until you have 10-20 values written down. Then look at them carefully. Are these really your personal values, do they represent who you really are?
Now compare them with each other, ask yourself “is this value more important to me than that value”. By doing this you will be able to arrange them into an order of importance.
DO YOUR PERSONAL VALUES ALIGN WITH YOUR PATH TO SUCCESS?
Now you’ll know both what is really important to you in life AND where your priorities are! This puts you streets ahead of anyone who has never taken the time to do this exercise:-)
Finally ask yourself:
“Am I living my life according to my values and priorities?”
If you answer “no”, you need to work out what you are going to do to make sure you are living congruently?
… You can read more about congruency in my article: “Why You Must Bring Congruency Into Your Life”
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