What Are Your Values?

Megachurch pastor has had an affair and his marriage is in shambles. Multi-billion dollar corporation has filed for bankruptcy, corrupt accounting practices to blame. Employees go on strike after 5th employee injured on the job.

We’ve all seen headlines like this. They’re heartbreaking. They’re terrible. And they’re mostly preventable.

boy standing on a ladder reaching for the clouds

Photo by Samuel Zeller

How can I say this? Because, when you live a life of values you know where you stand. You know where the line is. You know where to stop.

Our world has lost sight of values. They believe they’re buzzwords or hyperbole. Values don’t matter, so they say.

But values DO matter. Values tell you who you are, what you’re willing to do, and what you’re not going to do. When you have values clearly defined in your life, you can withstand the storms coming your way.

What Are Your Values?

The best time to define your core values is before you’re thrust into a position of authority. In these times, you’re able to figure out who you are without all of the additional baggage of leadership. If you didn’t create your core values before then, the next best time is today.

It’s never too late to create a list of your core values. They will be the rudder of your ship as you navigate life and business. They will keep you on course.

Do you know what your values are? If not, continue reading, we will dive into how to define your values.

1. Write down the times you felt the most content with your life:

You may hear you need to write down the times you were the happiest to figure out your values. I think looking at happiness as a guide for values is wrong. Rather than happiness, figuring out when you were most content in your life works better.

Contentment tells you that you’re okay with what has been given to you. You’re able to figure out what makes you, you.

2. Write down what makes you feel disgusted:

The next thing you need to do is to write down what makes you feel disgusted. These are the actions, thoughts, and behaviors that turn your stomach.

Why do you need to write these down? So you know what you don’t want to do in your life. These are the things that are wrong to you. If you ever did these things, you would feel like you’ve failed at life.

You can take this list and then turn it around to the positive side of things. If something makes you feel disgusting, the opposite will typically make you feel better.

3. Write down what activities bring you pleasure:

These are the activities that bring you joy in your life. It could be a long walk outdoors or a swim in Lake Michigan. You should be looking for activities that make you smile and feel alive.

By knowing what makes you feel most alive, you begin to see who you are. What you enjoy will tell you more about yourself than you could imagine.

4. Compile the lists:

You’ve now made three lists. For one and three, I want you to leave those as-is. For the second list, I want you to write the opposite of what disgusts you. You already have the disgust list, the opposite of that list should be easy.

Look over the list. Study it. Get to know your list well.

These are the things that bring you to life. They are also the things you feel are good, positive actions to take.

5. Create a value-word for why each activity is something you enjoy:

The list you created probably describes actions and activities more than actual values. That’s where this step comes into action. You, now, need to morph the list you’ve created into values.

Scott Jeffrey has a great list on his website. You can refer to that to get ideas of what your value-words will look like.

Examples of values are:

  • Accountability
  • Excellence
  • Positivity
  • Reliability
  • Cheerfulness
  • Community
  • Self-Control
  • Hard Work
  • Health

6. Choose your top values:

You’ve now got a long list of values that are important to you. However, being important doesn’t mean they’re the values you desire to follow in your life.

You need to do something else to your list. You need to begin trimming down your list to your five or six core values. These are the values you believe are the most important to your life.

Once you’ve got your list, begin to work at living out those values. Choose to work at becoming better with the values you’ve chosen.

Question: What are your core values? Share yours in the comment section below.

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