Your values are like a magnetic force that pulls you towards a certain choice over another. For example, if you are faced with a set of choices (University acceptance, Job offers, etc) there is usually a force pulling you towards one option over another. What is that force? What are the beliefs that guide you? What direction is your life moving in? How do you know if you’re leaning in the right direction?
Do you have clear answers to these questions? It’s ok if you don’t. Sometimes we may think we have a clear direction of who we are and what our purpose is in life. Taking a closer look at the forces that guide our decisions can be helpful, especially in the face of difficult choices. The following steps are a few tips on how we can redefine our values:
(PS these steps can also be used to define “Family Values” which is an activity that can be done with the whole family; as well as “Company Values”.)
Use the following questions to identify the things, thoughts and areas of your life that are first and foremost for you:
- What do you dislike? What do you like?
- What is important to you now?
- What are you doing when you are your best self?
- What is important to you in general?
- What gives you strength?
- What thoughts drive your decision making?
- What thoughts inform your interactions with those around you?
Spending some time reflecting on these questions will help create some self awareness. Go through your week mindfully thinking of these questions as you go about your day. This will inform you of what you value most in your life.
Use your answers, and your reflections from Step 1 and find the following:
- The essential thoughts, needs, desires
- The things that allow you to be yourself
- The ideas that allow you to be your best self for you and those around you.
Identifying words such as ‘friendships’, ‘work’, ‘health’, from your reflections can help when writing a list of things and thoughts in your life that feel non-negotiable. Which of these crop up more than the other? Which words are more frequent than the others?
Useful tip: you can use www.viacharacters.org as a guideline to a list of words, if you are not able to find them in your reflection. What thoughts and reflections match the words in the list?
Read through your list of words again and ask yourself, are these the things that I value, or the things that I think I should value?
Once you have your authentic values list, ask yourself:
- Which ones are my top values?
- What effect do these have on my daily life?
- What effect do these have on my relationships?
- What effect do these have on my performance at work?
- To what extent have these values informed the decisions I have made in my life up until now?
Now go back to the questions in the first paragraph. How much clearer are the answers to your questions? If you are finding that you are still standing in the same place as you were before, facing the same way and still confused then reach out and schedule a free session. Sometimes it helps to talk it through with someone who will listen and be an objective observer in order to gain clarity.