Inside you, there’s an inner compass that guides you from the inside out. Only, most of us are too “busy” to take stock of what we hold true as personal values.
For years, I had never asked myself, “What are my personal values?” and it showed. Instead of developing this connection to what I valued, I easily latched onto company values in place of my own which contributed to my career burnout. I wanted to do the right thing rather than make choices that are right for me.
While that may work well in a corporate setting, once personal choices come about, the company values don’t really apply. This leaves you clueless about the deeper soul-searching decisions you face.
What I didn’t know is that knowing my personal values can be a powerful resource to help figure out what I want in life.
These values are a combination of your beliefs, behaviors, principles and personality. Values may be the deal-breaking reason for decisions you make in life. Values can be the reason you feel conflicted, or stuck when a part of you is compromised in a situation or relationship, including within your job.
Ideally, we strive to live in alignment to these values. When we don’t, there’s a self-created wall that lies between what you do and what you value. The wall is conflict and breeds feelings of anxiety, discomfort, or stress. The wall suppresses happiness and fulfillment, as it represents a less than optimal outcome for the situation being faced. If you’re stuck and stressed, you can’t afford to continue through life without your personal values to guide you.
“If you’re not clear on what you value, how can you decide what you want?”
Since defining my personal values of truth, interconnectedness, essence and joy, I think about them daily when faced with decisions and choices. The values are like a mini-contract with myself to stay in agreement to my true Self.
A client of mine experienced that these values bring about her best self. She reflected that reconnecting to her values helped her “find the strength within myself to make changes, sometimes difficult ones, to get my life back to where I wanted it to be.”
The good news is that discovering your personal values is as easy as choosing 5 words that resonate so deeply with you. Why 5? Well, that’s a great question. If you had say, 20 personal values that you believed in, it may be challenging to stay in alignment to all 20 at a time.
Instead, as an initial step try to identify just 5 values that are most meaningful for you. Keep it simple for now.
To help you, download our free Personal Values List to get started.
5 Steps to Define Your Personal Values
Scan the Personal Values List and circle the values that resonate with you.
Choose ones that are most true for you.
Take your time.
You may find there’s many values you’re attracted to. You’ll need to find the specific, exact-meaning words that capture the values you want to live by.
Trust your instincts to select the words and concepts that come to mind quickly.
If these values didn’t exist, your would wouldn’t make any sense.
Catch yourself choosing what’s politically correct.
Give yourself permission to express your values, not the values of others.
After you have the initial list, you might expand or collapse words together.
This exercise is simple and empowering. The simplicity is coming up with your personal values. What’s empowering is what you do with them once defined.
What changes if you bring these values into each day?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for career questions you have or if you would like a PDF copy of this blog post.
Based on the self-discovery exercises in “Finding Passion.”
Use your values to help with career choices
If you liked this post, you’ll love the 20 self-discovery strategies and exercises in my book, “Finding Passion: A Self-Discovery Approach for Navigating Career Crossroads” to help you ask the tough questions you’ve been avoiding and rediscover what you really want in your career. Available on Amazon.
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