So, I’m guessing that by now, many of us have participated in some kind of yearly review (although we still have one more month to slip into the swing of things, as far as I’m concerned!) Maybe you have already come up with some goals, intentions or a theme word for the year –but have you also taken your core values into consideration? Are you wondering why you would even want to know what your core values are in the first place? I know, I know – life-coaches are always talking about core values, living in alignment with your values, knowing who you are, blah blah blah. There’s a good reason for that!
Why are core values important?
We have a whole bunch of values – social, cultural and personal. The most important are our core values – the ones we place the most emphasis on. Some values may have been passed on to us from our parents. Others have been picked up along the way, via environmental influences, pivotal experiences and everyday conversations. They then become reinforced by actively seeking out information to validate, or in some cases, discard them. Tim Brownson (often referred to as the ‘values coach’) asserts that values remain relatively stable by the time we reach our mid 20’s. While two people may have similar values, it’s unlikely that they would have an identical core value ‘fingerprint’. Values form the foundation of your life. They reflect the truest essence of who you are and what is important to you. Your values affect the way you think, the partners you choose and ultimately the results you are getting in life. That’s pretty important right?
The benefits of understanding your core values.
The main benefit of knowing and understanding your core values is to improve the results you are getting in those areas that are truly most important to you. You can use them as a reliable navigation system for your life – moving closer to the values that best serve you, and away from the ones that are not serving you so well.
Knowing your core values can help:
- To get to know yourself better, enhance your self-awareness and effectively navigate your personal priorities better.
- To gain a deeper understanding of interpersonal relationships and manage conflict more effectively.
- For added clarity in decision-making.
- For setting goals that are right for you
Consider the following hypothetical situations:
- If you place a high value on courtesy and manners – how do you think you are going to feel when your best friend is always late and never apologizes? What’s the best way for you to handle this, particularly if you want to maintain the friendship?
- What if you are a geographically remote stay at home mum, who strongly values friendship and connection? How important will it be, for your wellbeing, to ensure you get out and socialize regularly?
- Would it be a good decision to accept a high-paying, yet repetitive task-based job, if you place a high value on creativity and freedom? What if you value routine and self-reliance?
- Let’s say that two of your core values relate to ‘adventure’ and ‘boldness’ and your biggest goal for 2013 is to ‘get fit’. Would you be best suited for swimming laps at the local pool, taking up yoga, or to go rock-climbing and pole-dancing?
Refer to your core values when setting goals
Not knowing your values when you set goals, is like going to the grocery store on an empty stomach and without first creating a list. You return home with full bags but discover that you have bought a lot of impulse items and things that you don’t really need. You might even feel a little short-changed and frustrated, but not fully comprehend why. The more clarity you have around your values, the faster you can identify why you are experiencing conflict and reconnect to a more harmonious state. When you know your core values, the task of setting goals that intuitively resonate becomes a whole lot easier. Ultimately, understanding your values helps you make choices, goals and decisions that are best suited for your personal success and happiness