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.
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
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.
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).