What Are Your Core Values?

Last week, we learned the benefits of knowing our personal values. Clients have often told me that although they understand the importance of having values, they are not sure what theirs are or how to discover their top core values.

Your personal core values are standards that greatly influence your attitude and character. They are deeply etched into your emotional and mental make-up and are not easily changed. When you wander off your path or lose direction, your top core values will bring you back on track. When you are fully clear on these values, you attract people with like minds who share the same desire to lead a purposeful, authentic life.

Choose a time when you can be alone and not rushed to reflect on the following exercises; I find thePeninsula Library in Palos Verdes to be a quiet place where I won’t be disturbed. You may wish to keep a pen and paper nearby.

  • Ask yourself some simple questions: What are you passionate about? What do you absolutely love to do? What motivates your achievements?
  • Think back to when you were 10 or younger, and come up with two or three experiences that allowed you to feel fully alive in the flow of life. Focus on the type of experiences that were positive moments. Then, list two or three experiences from when you were 11 to 20 years old. Repeat for ages 21 to 30 years old, and so on until you have listed two or three experiences for each decade up to your current age. Include what you did, where you were, how you felt, and maybe even what the outcome was, depending on the experience.
  • Think about the experiences. What made you feel deeply fulfilled?
  • Ask yourself what core values you displayed during for each of those times you listed. Write a word or two that shows the core value that you fulfilled in each example.
  • Make a list of eight to 10 times in the past two to five years when you know you were doing your best. These are the times when you felt you were living your authentic, real, true and best self—your true, authentic core values. Go through this list and write a word or two that shows the core value you experienced each time.
  • Try going to the opposite extreme—consider a situation where you struggled or felt frustration, hurt or anger. Go back to as far back as you can remember, using the same age decades, and list two or three experiences. Even just one negative experience can help shed some insight for this exercise. Looking back at these types of experiences allows you to recognize any authentic values of yours that were violated or ignored. Many times, we don’t seem to recognize our authentic values until something becomes a threat and keeps us from honoring and living these values.
  • Once you have completed your lists, highlight or underline key words and phrases that jump out at or resonate with you. Next, write these words and phrases on a new page. Take a look—do you notice any pattern or theme? Generally, there will be three to five words or patterns that show up repeatedly. These indicate your top core values.

It’s not uncommon for some to find that their core values are not reflected in the way they’re living their lives. This can often be the most uncomfortable part of the exercise. Sometimes closing the gap between your core values and the way you currently live your life requires big life changes.

When you don’t know what your top five values are, life can seem like a senseless race to fulfill one seemingly important goal or another, leaving you increasingly unfulfilled, drained and out of control. Once you are aware of your top five personal values, however, you will find that you are living a more fulfilling and successful life. You can rely on these top values to guide you when making major choices in life.

Find more inspiration in my Uber Empowerment Books. Get a sneak peek at some of my Uber Empowering Quotes in this video and you will find more empowerment quotes in my books.

Coaching: nancyhovde@gmail.com http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-Hovde/114122028622994

Read more about core values in my book Uber Empowerment.

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