DO YOU KNOW YOUR PERSONAL VALUES?
In my previous life, working in Human Resources, I could rabbit on for hours about the importance of ‘values’ and ‘values alignment’ in driving an organisation towards success.
It was a form of corporate jargon – or wankery – that HR peeps are famous for.
And I was one of those peeps.
But here’s the thing – despite its wank-factor in corporate-speak, values are important. Especially, personal values.
“Technically, values are desired qualities of ongoing action. Poetically, they’re our heart’s deepest desires for how we want to spend our brief time on this planet. Metaphorically, they’re like a compass: they give us direction and keep us on track.” – Russ Harris
And, how your values align with your life decisions will affect how you feel about your life in general. And, how connected you are. Whether you consider your life meaningful.
Having said that – it’s important that we don’t confuse a value with a goal.
A value is a principle or standard of behaviour; a judgment of what is important in life to you
A goal is an object of your ambition or effort; an aim or a desired result
Values come before goals. They are what inspires and motivates us to work towards our goals.
And, they are different again from ‘needs’ which are just very important goals.
If you’re having difficulty differentiating between values and goals, here are a few pointers (i):
Values are here and now, goals are in the future
Values never need to be justified. They just are.
Values often need to be prioritized
Values are best held lightly
Values are freely chosen
The very best thing about understanding your personal values is that they provide you with your very own road map with which to navigate your way through life
In today’s world full of increased ‘comparisonitis’ (technical term!), many of us suffer from a misguided compulsion to compare our accomplishments to someone else’s. Having a clear understanding of our own values makes this disappear. That easily.
When you understand what really matters to you, life decisions can be made by asking yourself one simple question:
How does this stack up against my values?
If the answer is that it is aligned with your values, then it’s an easy question to answer. If not, then you’ve got some further thinking to do. Either way, it has little to do with anyone else.
The clincher, for me; the bit that makes all the difference; the ‘Oprah A-ha moment’, is this –
You must be present with your values
It’s not enough to understand your values. It’s not even enough to be able to articulate them to yourself (or someone else). Nope.
When we connect with the present moment, we are mindful of the here and now. We are fully engaged with what is going on around us and we are not lost in our inner thoughts.
Aligning with your values is all about being present and paying attention to what you’re doing. Right now.
That’s a work in progress for me.
So, I’m starting by really connecting with my values. I’ve narrowed them down to seven. Which was actually quite difficult.
And, these are they…
to be authentic, genuine and real; to be true to me
to be trustworthy; loyal, faithful, sincere, and reliable; and/or be trusting of others
to be curious, open-minded and interested; eager to explore, discover and learn
to be warm, friendly, open, accepting, agreeable and helpful towards others
to be kind, considerate, nurturing or caring towards others (and myself) or the world around me
to contribute, give, help, assist, share or be generous
to act responsibly, and be accountable for what I do
Do you know your PERSONAL values?
If you’d like some help in understanding just what values really resonate for you, download my FREE Personal Values Workbook.
- How your values differ from your goals
- Why values come before goals
- The importance of both values and goals
- Why aligning your values with your life decisions will affect how you feel about your life in general. And, how connected you are. Whether you consider your life meaningful.
- A simple bull’s eye technique to get you well on your way in identifying your personal values and where you might need to pay closer attention