What Are Your Personal Values?
This self-reflection tool will enable you to think about and define your personal values.
Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work.
They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they allow you to measure your choices.
When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life is usually good – you’re satisfied and content. But when these don’t align with your values, that’s when things feel… wrong. This can be a real source of unhappiness.
This is why making a conscious effort to identify your values is so important.
Defining Your Values
When you define your values, you discover what’s truly important to you. A good way of starting to do this is to look back on your life – to identify when you felt really good, and really confident that you were making good choices.
Step 1: Identify the times when you were happiest
What were you doing?
Were you with other people? Who?
What other factors contributed to your happiness?
Step 2: Identify the times when you were most proud
Use examples from your career and personal life.
Why were you proud?
Did other people share your pride? Who?
What other factors contributed to your feelings of pride?
Step 3: Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied
What need or desire was fulfilled?
How and why did the experience give your life meaning?
What other factors contributed to your feelings of fulfillment?
Step 4: Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment
Step 5: Prioritize your top values
This step is probably the most difficult, because you’ll have to look deep inside yourself. It’s also the most important step, because, when making a decision, you’ll have to choose between solutions that may satisfy different values. This is when you must know which value is more important to you.
Write down your top values, not in any particular order.
Look at the first two values and ask yourself, “If I could satisfy only one of these, which would I choose?” It might help to visualize a situation in which you would have to make that choice. For example, if you compare the values of service and stability, imagine that you must decide whether to sell your house and move to another country to do valuable foreign aid work, or keep your house and volunteer to do charity work closer to home.
Keep working through the list, by comparing each value with each other value, until your list is in the correct order.
Step 6: Reaffirm your values
Check your top-priority values, and make sure they fit with your life and your vision for yourself.
Do these values make you feel good about yourself?
Are you proud of your top three values?
Would you be comfortable and proud to tell your values to people you respect and admire?
Do these values represent things you would support, even if your choice isn’t popular, and it puts you in the minority?
When you consider your values in decision making, you can be sure to keep your sense of integrity and what you know is right, and approach decisions with confidence and clarity. You’ll also know that what you’re doing is best for your current and future happiness and satisfaction.
Making value-based choices may not always be easy. However, making a choice that you know is right is a lot less difficult in the long run.
Step 7: Summarize how these identified values may shape your business decisions.