When was the last time you actively gave thought to your values? Not the values of stocks in your portfolio or the values of baseball cards in your collection, YOUR values, your personal values to be specific.
These values are something few individuals take the time to consider, let alone build an awareness of. I don’t think this is because most would deem their personal values unimportant. Instead, I believe it’s more likely most people have never been asked to give them much thought.
In coaching one of the more foundational areas I explore with my clients is that of personal values. Today I’d like to share that process with you because I believe it’s important for everyone to give some thought to their values from time to time.
When beginning the process of exploring values, I explain to my clients that values are what you stand for and they speak to who you are at your core. Values define your character and others are often keyed into values you hold by your behavior and actions. Values tend to be grounded in your previous life experiences and continue to be influenced by your current life experiences. Because of this, values can change over time.
The vast majority of us are operating from our values each day but just don’t recognize it as such.
For instance, if you typically choose to spend your evenings hanging out with your kids and partner instead of going out for dinner with the girls in the neighborhood you may be demonstrating your value of family. If on the other hand your habit is to go out for dinner with the girls in the neighborhood every chance you get, you may be demonstrating your value of belonging or your value of friendship. None of these values, “family”, “belonging”, or “friendship” are “right” or “wrong”, they simply are.
So if there is no risk of being right or wrong, why is it important to build awareness around your values? I feel it’s important because being aware of your values can support you in many ways. For instance:
- Being aware of your values can make the processes of prioritization and decision-making easier.
- Knowing your values and working to live in harmony with them can support you in making better, more thoughtful decisions.
- Living in concert with your core values can give you the feeling you are living in integrity and moving towards being the individual you most want to be.
Imagine how much easier it would be to feel confident about your decision to take a job in another country if you knew your most closely held values were travel, adventure and life-long learning. Imagine how much easier it would be to make a decision to purchase a multi generational vacation home near a national park if you valued family, relationships and nature. Imagine how much simpler life’s tougher decisions could be if they were grounded in something that touched you at your core.
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of how exploring and getting in touch with your values can support you. Please click here to let me know if you’d like me to send you a copy of my values exercise. It doesn’t take much time to complete and I guarantee any time spent will be well worth it.
Already in touch with your values? I’d love to hear how you assess your values and how awareness of your values supports you!