Core Values

This week, I have been stepping up and out of my comfort zone again, back into the spotlight of doing one Facebook Live each day for 15 days. I did 31 days of Facebook Live in August – a HUGE stretch.  This is all part of a “challenge” – a little bit like an ice-bucket challenge, but one meant to stretch me into reaching new levels of comfort while boldly stepping out of my comfort zone.  

So, bearing in mind everything that I learned back in August when I did 31 days of Facebook Live videos, I decided that I would allow this to stretch me even further, and be more intentional about my preparation.  

Of course, you never know what a task entails until you get started.  Sometimes, it’s much easier than you imagined.  Other times, you find out that you had no idea what you were getting yourself into! And this time, it was definitely the latter.  

To start with, I decided that I wanted to create a 12-days of Christmas type challenge (yes, I know I said it’s a 15 days challenge – but let me explain!).  So, I decided upon “December inspiration – 12 days designing 2019” – and then had to start seriously looking at what are the conscious & unconscious steps you take when you are planning your year.  

Admittedly, I found that some of the steps along the way I had not included in my planning. You remember I said some times you find you have no idea what you were getting yourself into?  

Yeap. That’s me!  

So, here I am running 12 days designing 2019 – and working out along the way what that means for me as I dig deep into preparation of twelve 15-minute live videos!  

Day one of the videos was about “Taking Stock” – where am I at in my life right here & now.  Day two, on the other hand, was about Core Values – what is important in my life?  What are the ways of being that I believe are importan in the way that I live my life and do my work?  If you want to see my core values and how I approached them, you can have a look at this Blog Post on Values.  

What are values? 

Happiness is the state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values. Ayn Rand
Happiness is the state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.

Values are the measurement – the best expression of you – what you want for your life.  How do you want to “do” life – to be remembered? 

These values are qualities that you hold to be the most important – that not only impact the way that you life your professional life, but also your personal life.  You ideally want to have a single set of values that you use in all of your life – not separate values for different aspects of life. 

How will you establish priorities if you are not clear what your values are?  These qualities you choose should be a reflection of who you are and what you are becoming.  “Is my life turning out the way I want it to be?” Is this who I want to become?  Contentment happens in our life when we live according to what those values are.  “Happiness is when what you think, what you say & what you do are in harmony.” — Gandhi  

This is what I stand for.  

Values are the qualities of a life lived fully from the inside out.

A common regret that people suffer on their deathbeds is having lived their lives according to other people’s expectations, rather than living according to their own rules or code of conduct.  They were so busy pleasing others, that they failed to become who they truly were inside.  

Values are the qualities of a life lived fully from the inside out. 

What would “a good life” look like?  What is meaningful – those deepest values – to support my actions?  This is my code of conduct that will guide my decisions – how I will choose to rule my life.  

Life happens 

Values are the qualities of a life lived fully from the inside out.
Values are the qualities of a life lived fully from the inside out.

So, when you are defining your core values – you do not want to choose according to someone else’s core values.  It is not about “should” be.  It’s personally mine.   

  • This is what I am 
  • This is what I want to be 
  • This is how I want to develop my character as I grow and mature   

It’s not enough to be clear on what I don’t want – I need to be clear on what I do want. These will then help me to fulfill my purpose in my life.  As I mature and grow, these values will also mature and change.  They are something that will grow with us – especially as our priorities mature.  

When you have children, or a major life event happens, these values may change dramatically.  Our priorities may change.  

But your plans & decisions honor the values that you hold.  If they don’t honor those values – you will suffer cognitive dissonance. And either you will change the way you make your decisions – or you need to adjust your values and accept that they are not what you thought they were!  

Change of behaviour 

Relationships – we are said to be the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with.  So – if I have clearly established my values, the 5 people that I spend the most time with should reflect those values in the way that they live out their lives.  If they do not reflect those values, then I may need to reassess who I am spending my time with! 

What does that inner circle look like? 

What values are represented in the group of people that are my inner circle?  

It's not hard to make decisions, when you know what your values are.

It’s not hard to make decisions, when you know what your values are. 

Values are the beacon and light that guide our lives – our response and reactions to situations that we encounter in life.  As we internalise those values, we should start to recognise when we are responding in a way that is incongruent and not aligned with our values.  This should lead us to asking:  

How do I want to respond – a way that is aligned with my values?  

Clearly identifying values should lead to a change of behaviour – they are not simply something pretty to put up on the wall!  Am I living up to my own expectations?  

Most importantly, as I begin to consider – 

  • my thoughts 
  • my feelings 
  • my actions & motivation 

Are ALL of these aligned with my values?  Am I measuring up to my values and becoming more self-aware each day about the choices I am making?  

Our values will influence our decisions, as we consider daily the impact of each choice before us as aligned with these values.  For example, if I value family & connection, but I am consistently asked to work 70-hour weeks – will I decide to continue working those hours and facing internal cognitive dissonance – or will I choose to change my working hours and honor family & connection?  

Values help me establish the priorities – especially if there are competing dreams & goals. 

Identifying Values 

How can you identify your core values?  

There are so many ways to do this, but you might consider asking yourself the following three questions: 

  1. Think of a proud moment – accomplishment – peak time 
    1. What were you doing? 
    2. Who was there? 
    3. What was happening?  
    4. What values were you honoring at the time – the sense that this is important because… 
  2. Consider two moments of life when you were truly happy & fulfilled (in this case try to choose two incidents that were personal and professional)
    1. What were you doing? 
    2. Who was there? 
    3. What was happening?  
    4. Who were you being?  
    5. What values were you honoring at the time – the sense that this is important because… 
  3. Now, go the other way – consider two moments when you disappointed, sad or felt “this isn’t right”.  
    1. What was missing? 
    2. What values were not being reflected in the moment? 
    3. What was overlooked that is important to you?  
Code of Conduct, Values to lead your life by

Another way that you might approach this is to write down ten values that you consider essential to lead “a good life”.  Think of this like a tombstone:  

How would you like to be remembered? What was the code of conduct that you lead your life by?  

Another way might be to write down all of the values that you consider essential to your life.  You can find lists of these on the internet if you feel a little stuck for words.  You might then prioritise them – these are really important, these are good, but not essential for my life, and these are not so important.  Then, from the important list, you narrow the list down to 6-10 values.  

Finally, I like to mind-map my values.  For an example of how I have done this previously, you can have a look at “Values & Priorities – Why Identify them?” 

It doesn’t matter what method you choose that works best for you to identify your core values.  What truly matters is that you know what’s important.  How will you be guided in making day to day decisions & choices?   

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