Quick, what are your core values? (tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, EEEHHHHHHH!!!)

Times up. Can you tell me? Do you even know what core values are? I’m sure you have heard of them, if not in your personal life maybe at work. Most companies have a set of core values. What’s the point? Why do all companies advertise or talk about their core values, and why should you have a set for yourself?

Companies sets core values for 1 reason – to guide everything. All decisions and behaviors of the company are driven by the elements they determine are most important. It sets the foundation for their brand and their mission. By identifying a set of core values everyone that works for the organization knows what the company wants to personify and how it wants to be viewed in the world.

Amazon has the following values:

  • Think big
  • Learn and be curious
  • Customer obsession
  • Invent and simplify
  • Plus a few others

You can see how these drive the decisions and the business of Amazon. They are one of the largest companies on the planet, they are always innovating, they are focused on the customer experience, and so on. If you work for Amazon, you know what is important and you make your daily work is guided by these values.

So how do core values relate to you?

The same way.

According to Lead With Giants Coaching, “Your core values are the compass of your life”

They are the beacon that guide your actions, your emotions, the way you interact with others, how you treat yourself, how successful you are going to be, how happy you are; they literally guide everything!

Core Values are a set of principles that you hold as the most important standards by which you live your life. They are the measurement you score yourself on. Even when we don’t realize it.

This is what is so amazing about our values. They are so important to us and we use them so often that they have become our natural instinct. Like breathing, you don’t even realize you do it because it is such a natural response.

The problem arises when we have not made a conscious effort to connect with your values in some time. This is important because, as Mind Tools points out in an article titled What Are Your Values“As your definition of success changes, so do your personal values.”

As we grow older and our lives change, what we value changes. It may take many years for your values to evolve or it may be in an instance. As a single business professional, climbing the ladder and accolades may be what you value. If you have a family of 3 you may shift your values to be more family and free time focused.

In either instance, the values will drive your actions. The single business professional that is focused on career will spend many hours at work, bring work home, network with other professionals. As a parent of 3 you will be less worried about bringing work home and more focused on vacation time, helping with bake sales, providing for your children.

Your core values are the mold that your life is shaped by.

Because our lives evolve so quickly it is important to identify our values and put them on the forefront of our mind.

Being able to quickly identify and connect with your values will help you:

  • “Be swift and focused in your decision-making, with clear direction.” – Kevin Daum, Inc.com
  • Find clarity in what your frustrations are and how to get through them.
  • Understand the value of the relationships you have.
  • Make career decisions that create happiness in your life.
  • Focus your time and energy on what is truly important to you.
  • “Identify what’s not helping us achieve a life that we are in love with.” –Debra Smouse Tiny Buddha

If you want to be happy, you have to know what makes you happy. Your core values are the road-map to your happiness.

When your life is not in alignment with your values you feel unfulfilled and unhappy. It is a sign that something is off and you need to evaluate where you are and what is important to you.

So again I ask, what are your core values?

You probably still don’t know or are overwhelmed because there are so many things in your life that are important to you.

ghandi-action-expresses-priorities

STEP ONE – Prioritize what is important to you.

Quickly jot down a list of things that are important to you. As many as you can think of. This could be anything. Your family, your health, that collection of porcelain dolls your grandma use to collect that you have now. Write down everything that is important to you.

Prioritize them by writing a number 1 beside the most important, 2 by the second most important, 3 by the third, so on and so forth.

This will help you identify the Values in step two.

STEP TWO – Identify values you wish to personify.

When people talk about you, what do you want them to say? Now that you know what is important to you, which of the below values demonstrate what is important to you?

Look at your top 3-5 priorities and define them with the below core values.

Example: If you said your Family is your number one priority then you may select values such as; faith, love, loyalty, security.

Pick three to five values that mean the most to you. This will be the outline for which you live your life.

Finding your core values is the first step in setting High Emotional Value Goals.

STEP THREE – Find commonalities and narrow them.

You may have a list now of 10 or more values. And now you are asking, “really Brandon? Now I have to run through my list of values every time I make a decision in my life?”

No! There is no way to focus on 10+ values when you are making decisions or taking control of your life. The nice thing about values is a lot of them share commonalities or are very similar Faith and Spirituality. Success, Status, and Reputation.  Group and narrow your list to 2-4 core values.

STEP FOUR – Remember them.

Now that you have 2-4 core values you need to find a way to quickly reference and connect with them. Find something that works for you. If you are a poet write them into a limerick. Create an acronym if you can. Whatever you must do to remember your values.

I wrote mine on a sticky by my computer at work so I see them 5 days a week. My core values are FRRS – Freedom, Resourcefulness, Relationships, and Self-actualization.

STEP FIVE – Put them to the test.

Now that you have identified some values you wish to live by, set out to test them. When you make a simple decision about how to spend your weekend or that next purchase you are going to make, evaluate your options through your values. You will notice something. At first it will feel weird. How do I connect buying a pair of shoes with my value of resourcefulness?

It’s actually easier than you think. Am I buying shoes because I need them or because they look cool and I just want them? If I need them then it’s a no brainer, buy the shoes. Let’s say I don’t I just have some extra money and think they look neat.

My values tell me neat shoes do not make me resourceful. Probably the opposite actually. I could use that resource (money) on something more beneficial like my business or my girlfriend. New shoes will not help me be a better person (Self-actualization), they will not give me a three week vacation to France (Freedom) and even though our culture values appearance more than it should, new shoes won’t help me build stronger relationships.

The decision is clear – Don’t buy the shoes.

Your life is driven by your core values whether you know what they are or not. They are the guiding principles of all of your decisions, emotions, everything in your life. You can make a choice to leave your core values on auto pilot or you can connect with them and leverage what is inside you to do great things and find happiness. By understand your core values, you gain a better understanding of what make you, you. Literally the easiest thing you can do is to identify your guiding values. You are going to live by them anyway so you may as well utilize them to build the life you dream of!

Core Values Must Reads

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