Understanding Self – What are your Values?

What do you value? Family? Wealth? Fun? Adventure? Recognition?

Understanding what we value most is key to understanding ourselves and understanding how we can flourish. If you are consistently pursuing goals and activities which do not match your core values, then you may find your achievements feel empty rather than deeply satisfying.

One step towards flourishing is identifying your core values. Below is a list of common values. Take some time and identify the values which are most important to you. Most people identify between three and five.

I completed an activity like this about twelve years ago as part of a leadership course which completely changed my outlook on, and my direction in, life. Aligning your actions and goals to your values is deeply satisfying. So don’t rush, take some time to think through what really brings your joy and satisfaction in life.

 

Core Values

Authenticity              Friendships                     Poise
Achievement            Fun                               Popularity
Adventure                Growth                         Recognition
Authority                  Happiness                   Religion
Autonomy                 Honesty                      Reputation
Balance                     Humour                      Respect
Beauty                       Influence                    Responsibility
Boldness                   Caring                          Inner Harmony
Integrity                   Security                       Self-Respect
Compassion             Justice                          Service
Challenge                 Kindness                     Spirituality
Citizenship              Knowledge                  Stability
Community             Leadership                  Success
Competency            Learning                      Status
Contribution           Love                              Trustworthiness
Creativity                Loyalty                         Wealth
Curiosity                 Meaningful Work       Wisdom
Determination       Openness
Fairness                   Optimism
Faith                         Peace
Fame                        Pleasure

 

Looking through the list you will probably see values which seem quite foreign to you. That’s ok, it makes it easier to zero in on your core values. Others may seem ok others may seem almost but not quite right, but look for the three to five that really resonate with you. If you you still are having problems identifying your core values what are ask yourself the following questions

What gives me the most satisfaction? What would I struggle to live without?

For example, learning is one of my four core values as I couldn’t imagine not learning something new every day (hour?) of my life.

Once you have established your core values write them down somewhere, and whenever you need to make a decision consider which of your options best aligns with your list.

 

Further Resources

Understanding core values is an activity which I have seen included in a number of fascinating books, including Total Leadership by Stewart D. Friedman. (Hopefully I will get time to talk about more of Stewart’s book in another post).

 

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