Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a list? We all know what happens next… You spend extra time going through all the aisles. Chocolate-covered banana snacks and a bag of weird wasabi-flavored chips end up in the cart.
Wait, what was it that you needed to buy? Of course, you forgot, and then your spouse “requests” you go back to the store.
Oh, and the wasabi chips, yuck…
As we go through life, and face decisions both big and small, we could use a similar list to keep us on track. That list is your Core Values.
Core Values are the beliefs and qualities that we strive to live by. They are the things that we value most in our lives - such as family, work, community, philanthropy, status, flexibility, education and health. Core Values are not possessions, activities or experiences… they are convictions about how you define yourself as a person, and they can have a most positive impact on your life.
So how do you determine your Core Values? The following questions will help to get you thinking:
What were your favorite activities as a child? Do you miss any of these?
What brings energy to your life?
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
What qualities do the people you admire possess? What are their Core Values?
What is the legacy you would like to leave?
Thinking about the questions you answered above, look at the list below and circle any of the words that you feel could be a Core Value. Don’t think too hard - just circle. If you don’t see one that captures your thinking, add it to the list and circle it.
Spend some time looking at the words your circled, take a breath and narrow the list to 20 values… then narrow it to 10. Take some time and now narrow it to 5. OK, overachievers, you can have up to 10 if you need to!
Core Values List
Once you have your Core Values list, write them down. When faced with your next decision, ask yourself:
Is this decision aligned with my Core Values?
Am I spending time and money on activities that are aligned with my Core Values?
In my next blog, I’ll share a real-life example of a client / friend who reflected on her Core Values as she faced some major life decisions.
Would you like to learn more about Investing in Your Values? We will be hosting Investing in Your Values workshops, in which I discuss my thoughts in further detail – and help you focus on determining your Core Values.