This is the third post in a series that I have been writing to increase self-awareness and encourage self-improvement. I previosuly wrote about Ikigai, and in a mission to find my own Ikigai (life purpose), I have gone on to identify my passions, and today, my core values. By identifying my core values, I will show you how you can do the same in order to live your life with purpose, in a way that is meaningful to you.
Not only will knowing your core values aid you to identify your purpose in life/reason for being here, it will also help you in smaller ways, e.g. making decisions.
Many people might not have ever thought about values before today, apart from in their R.E lessons at school. However, whether you realise it or not, our values guide us every day and influence our decisions in key moments.
To start off with, I want you to think about some of those key moments.
- What have been the ‘peak’ experiences of your life?
- Of what are you most proud?
- What makes you angry?
- Who are your role models?
- What companies do you most admire?
- What are your obsessions?
- What is your favourite quote?
After you have answered each question, you must then ask yourself, ‘why?’ The ‘why’ is your value. For example, the why to question 1 of your happiest time demonstrates your values being valued. In contrast, your response to question 3 of what makes you angry represents your values being compromised.
Now match your ‘why’ with a list of 14 different values:
- Achievement- ‘It is important to work hard, challenge myself, and be the best.’
- Belonging- ‘It is important to be accepted by others and to feel included.’
- Concern for the Environment- ‘It is important to protect and preserve the environment.’
- Concern for others- ‘The well being of others, and helping others, is important.’
- Creativity- ‘It is important to have new ideas, create new things, or be creatively expressive.’
- Financial prosperity- ‘It is important to be financially successful.’
- Health and activity- ‘It is important to be healthy and physically active.’
- Humility- ‘It is important to be humble and modest about my achievements.’
- Independence- ‘It is important to have a sense of autonomy with my decisions and actions.’
- Interdependence- ‘It is important to meet the expectations of my family, social group, team or organisation.’
- Precision- ‘It is important to use logic and data to understand and solve problems.’
- Privacy- ‘It is important to have time alone.’
- Responsibility- ‘It is important to be dependable, trustworthy and maximise potential.’
- Spirituality- ‘It is important to have spiritual beliefs and act accordingly.’
Of course there are hundreds more values, however the list above is compiled from a multi-year study aiming to distill the 200+ values-related words into a list of 14 ‘life values’ (the most common human values that guide behaviour.)
You should have between 5-7 core values. Whilst you might feel a connection to more than 7 of the listed values, its important to remember that ‘if you value everything, you value nothing.’
After you have compiled your list of up to 7 values, it is then important to ask yourself; ‘what does each value mean to me? What do I do because I hold this value? What do I expect of others?’ By answering those questions you should be able to formulate 1-3 guiding principles underpinning each value.
When you’ve completed all the above exercises, it’s time to put it all into practice! It’s time to live your life in a way that is truly meaningful to you- in alignment with your values.