“I stopped living according to my core values. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but thought only about myself and thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to.” – Tiger Woods
When you were young, you probably did not give much thought to values. Your belief system is set up for you as you grow by parents and other influences. Values are not consciously recognized until the decade of maturity, around age 30-40. A time where you have tasted life and thought about those early experiences. It is from those early experiences that you begin to tune into your true self. While I have taught, coached and mentored over the last 15 years in several organizations, I find the best and most productive people are the ones that define and stay true to their values.
In the following paragraphs you will learn the meaning of values, the benefits of values in leading a productive life and 7 steps to define your core values.
The Meaning of Values…
Values are the qualities you are remembered by. A standard of measure composed of principles that hold deep, rich, meaning. Values are the ethical and moral code that you are passionate towards. They are the priorities of your life. Defining your daily conduct and what you make an effort to get behind. The mental image people will remember about you when you’re gone. Your values are a source of your pride and the foundation upon which you live your life.
The Benefits of Values…
The person who is conscious of their values will have a focused and productive life. Values provide clarity, guiding your decisions and behavior in achieving goals. They represent a measuring stick making you self-conscious of your actions and if those actions agree with your beliefs. The benefit of measure reduces risk-taking and stimulates growth towards goals. Defining your values places a spotlight on what’s important and gives you a clearer purpose.
7 Easy Steps to Define your Core Values
Follow these 7 easy steps to define your core values for a more productive life.
- Head toward your secret spot. A place you are still, relaxed, and can think without distraction.
- Imagine the legacy you wish to leave behind. Some questions to ask are, “Who are you now?” and “How do you see yourself in the future?”. What does your ideal self look like and what is important?
- Record your thoughts. Scribble down as many one word descriptions in two columns. Strive for a minimum of 20 so you can have two columns of 10. For example: integrity, character, personal courage, wealthy, wise, caring, etc.
- Narrow your list down. Use the rows to compare the left and right columns. Eliminate the one of lesser importance. Repeat until you are only left with five.
- Prioritize your top five. The last five remaining are your values, rank them. The rankings come in handy when you have decisions to make.
- Implement your values. In every facet of your daily life, for decision-making, goal setting, how you prioritize your schedule, and even in your personal and business relationships.
- Reaffirm your values. Complete this exercise annually. I’ve done this for five years and compare previous years. What I have found is my top three remain the same, though may rank differently. The bottom two have changed depending upon which season in life I’m in.
Values are those qualities that define you, the standards by which you measure life and defined in 7 easy steps. I cannot promise this exercise will bring you success, keep you on the right track or help you achieve your goals. That rests upon taking the first step forward. Even after being raised on a good set of values, Tiger tripped and hit the ground hard. We have all had moments and probably will have more moments where we find ourselves on the ground, looking up. It’s what a person does in the aftermath that defines their character and values.
Please comment below with your five core values.