Do you know what your personal core values are?
Your personal values are those qualities that are most important and meaningful to you. They can be seen in your actions and the choices you make.
Your core values have always been with you. They’re your essence, who you are at the deepest level. When you know what your values are, they can…
- serve as guides for you during times of conflict or confusion
- give you direction and keep you on the path that’s right for you
- help you make decisions that honor what’s worthwhile to you
- give you a sense of meaning
Your life is fuller and more fulfilling when you consciously live out your values. You may not have known what your values were when you were younger. But it is important to become conscious of them now.
Why Is Values Clarification Important?
Your work will be most fulfilling and satisfying when it is an expression of your core values. The work you do, the company you work for, the customers or clients you
serve – all must somehow align with your personal core values.
Being clear about what your values are can help you prioritize and resolve conflicts between 2 or more values. For instance, what if you’re considering working for a company that expects you to work long hours, when you place a high value on spending time with your family? How do you reconcile this conflict in values? What if you placed an equally high value on bothachievement and family?
Discomfort can also occur when there’s a conflict between your personal core values and your way of life. If one of your values is community, but you’re self-employed, you may feel isolated if you don’t build in some regular opportunities for interacting with other people.
Values Clarification Exercise
It can take more than one values clarification exercise to gain clarity about your values. One popular way of identifying your values is to select them from a word list like the one below. Start out by picking 10 wordsthat you feel immediately drawn to. Be sure the words are true for you and not based on the “shoulds” of others.
Once you’ve identified 10 values, narrow your list down to your 3 to 5 most important values. Again, look for the words that resonate with you.
Find The Values In Your Life Experiences
Another way of identifying your personal core values takes more time but can be more accurate than using a list. Think of 8 to 10 times in your life when what you were doing felt particularly rewarding and “on purpose”. Describe what you were doing, where you were, what you were feeling or thinking.
What values were you demonstrating at these times? Using your own words, make a list of these values. Now do the same exercise, but this time try to focus on your childhood. That time in your life before you began taking on values that weren’t really yours. Then rank your values in order of importance.
Personal Core Values And Career Change
Before making a career change, ask yourself if your personal core values will be honored. Once you’ve identified your top 3 to 5 values, list several ways you can express each of those values in your next career. Be specific about what actions you’ll take.
You have the opportunity to consciously choose the values you wish to live by, and to create a career or lifework that builds on those values.
Are you honoring your personal core values in your work and your life? If not, what’s standing in your way?