What are your values and why should you care?

Your values are one of the things that make you YOU. It’s the stuff you live by, whether you are conscious of it or not.

Values help you figure out what right and wrong or better or worse look and feel like.

Values are also among the drivers of happiness (when they are fulfilled) and your own bespoke version of hell when they are not fulfilled.

All of us have them at least implicitly, and the more conscious you are of them, the better you can use them to create a life that is truly fulfilling.

Values are front and center to how I work with my clients – individuals and organizations. This kind of work goes deep and then gets relentlessly practical. It really makes a difference.

Over the next weeks, I am going to share some of this, an “advent calendar” of sorts, to help you reflect, to give you a few new ideas, to tickle your brain and heart and to help you get started in making changes in areas that really matter to you. Let me know how this lands and what else would be helpful to better support you.

So, what are values actually?

In short, values are “stuff that matters”. Or, if you want a fancier definition, here is what the Oxford Dictionary offers:

  1. The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something
    • The material or monetary worth of something.
    • The worth of something compared to the price paid or asked for it.

2. Principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life.

There are a few other definitions of “values” for art, music and algebra, but for the moment, we are looking at the ones relevant to your inner life.

Values are key in sustaining you into reaching a goal that is truly fulfilling.

Goals based on values and fulfillment are a lot more attractive. This goes both ways, so this can also help you sustain yourself during some rough patches as you make changes.

How do you make this real then?   

If values are what makes you YOU, decisions and plans are how they come to life in practice. Is there a connection between your values and the goal you are working towards? It is infinitely powerful when that clicks. You want that to click. That’s where the magic comes in, where your goals and subsequently your life are starting to feel more and more like you. Implement as if your life depended on it.

Meaningful goals are aligned with our overall lives (moving them in a desired direction but not being completely opposite, or everybody else’s idea of how we should live. They also serve the fulfillment and expression of our values.

Values are the most powerful way of sense-checking where you are heading. If you choose action A, what does that do to your top 5 values? Does their fulfillment level go up? Down?

For example, if “Freedom” is a strong value, you will I tend to be happier with decisions that increase your “elbow room” versus the ones that don’t. Whenever I found myself in gnarly, uncomfortable places, it was usually in violation of one of my core values.

Here is what’s coming:

Over the next weeks, find posts about how to identify your values, how to deepen your thinking about them, values in organizations and communities, how to live your values out loud in decisions and conversations. I will also highlight a few core values that are either my personal ones or particularly salient ones coming up in client work. The list of values is endless though, so if you have one that you would like to share – please do so!

Want to explore your values more? Get your free worksheet here.

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