What are Values?
How Come It is Important to Know Your Values?
There are 24 hours in a day, it is important to understand what is important to us, as we may be focusing on things, people or experiences that do not matter to us, and in the end we do not feel content, satisfied or happy with ourselves or our lives. In our society we are goal oriented which is a wonderful skill to have; yet many of us are working on goals that are not actually feeding our values and this leaves us feeling empty or unfulfilled. Knowing your values is your own personal guidance system that contributes greatly to providing clarity, lightness, knowingness, satisfaction, being content, fulfilled, driven, peaceful and so much more. Knowing your values is clarity of understanding what matters to you.
What happens when we do not know or honorour values:
Here are some examples:
Betrayal to Self:
Imagine health is a core value for this individual. They have decided what health means to them is to lead a healthy active life style. A couple of the forms that feed that value is to work out minimum 3 times per week and eat healthy foods. They end up working long hours at work by choice, and are so busy they eat fast food instead of healthy food. This individual has broken their agreement to themselves, they are out of integrity with their word, and thus what will happen as it was one of their core values is a leakage of energy being displaced in a unhealthy manner. It may look like resentment or anger to themselves, or displaced onto others, anxiety, depression, stress or worry like symptoms building up.
Betrayal to Self/ Accomodating Another:
In relationship with our significant other it is important to have a healthy sense of give and take; however this is different when it comes to our core values. Many couples end up in conflict that is related to a core value conflict which is quite different than general values. Partner A and Partner B have similar core values of family, religion, parenting and financial security however Partner B enjoys an active lifestyle and joined a running group and really wants to share this with Partner A. Partner A is a homebody and has no interest at all to go out in the community and be active. This couple has been married 17 years and in the past it worked as Partner B repressed his want of being active and stayed at home. Partner B no longer wanted to keep pretending it did not matter. Partner B and Partner A recognized they both did not want to change these aspects of themselves and they separated as this was a core value conflict. Knowledge of your core values will guide you in making healthy relationship choices from the beginning and prevent many breakdowns in relationships.
Is My Workplace a Fit?
Companies have mission statements and this is a way you can gage their values are a match to your values. Sometimes, circumstances can alter a company’s value and this may impact you as well. As an example, an individual I was working with established that honesty was one of his core values, and he had been working for the company for 10 years enjoying what he did and working with his customers. A policy change was implemented that went against this individual’s honesty value and he was asked to implement these changes with his customer that he felt was unethical. It went directly against his honesty core value. In the 6 months that the change took place this person, was not sleeping properly, lost some of his hair due to stress and developed anxiety attacks going to work. This individual approached management and they were not willing to change their policy. The options now for this individual was to change deparments or companies as his values were no longer in alignment with his company. If this individual stayed he most likely would continue to experience health related symptoms impacting from the conflict of his core value.
Identifying Your Values
Step One – Choose Values That Are Important To You
I invite you to take some time and free flow circling or marking as many values that you can that speak to you or resonate with who you are which you feel are important to you and your life. Some values you may not identify at all with and others may jump right out at you. Remember this is only a guide and it is important to note that you can add your own or change the wording if it feels like it would be more of a fit for you to do this. You may pick one or two and then leave it for a space of time and when you come back to the list other words jump out at you.
- Being the best
- Financial independence
- Love of life
- Making a difference
- Parenting Style
- Positive Attitude
- Where you live – city, town, apartment, home
- Work – type of work you do
- Zest for Life
Step Two – Choose Five Core Value
From the list of values you selected, ideally if you can narrow it down to five core values. How I describe core values is that you will walk across broken glass to have it met, or hot burning coals of fire. Another way of distinguishing it as a core value, if I were to ask you to give me your core value, could you part with it. For example, one of my core values is freedom and I know for sure I would not let anyone take this from me or give it up. You can play around with them, and it is sometimes useful to work with someone you trust to sort through this process.
Step Three – Define each Core Value
You may find that you choose a value that is the same as someone else you know. It is also important to note that even though you have the same value it may mean something completely different to that other person. For example, a family value to someone coule mean I want to be the provider of the home and to their partner it may mean I want to create a peaceful loving home for my family.
Step Four – Distinguish the forms that fulfill your Values.
This is a step that many people fail to do and this may lead to unstated expectations of oneself or another that often results in disappointment. As our life evolves our values may stay the same and our forms may change, so it is important to review this list on a regular basis.
Example of health could be to work out three times per week, eat healthy foods, be a non-smoker, go to bed at certain time, etc.
Example of family could be no matter how busy my life becomes I want to have a sit down meal with my immediate family on Sundays, I want to go on a annual vacation, have a scheduled date night with my partner, etc.
Step Five – Identify Short-Term or Long-Term Goals that Fulfill Your Values
Once you have a list of your forms, choose five to ten items that you can create goals that will relate to these forms. For example, if you choose Security as a value, one of the forms could be to be mortgage free in 10 years, and the goal is that you pay an extra mortgage payment each month to have this result. Your goals can be long or short term. With goals a great tip is to go by the SMART method.
S = be specific with goal
M = have the goal be measurable
A = attainable
R = realistic
T = include a timeline
Examples of Tara’s Values:
To create a peaceful home where each family knows they are free to be themselves and are loved for who they are!
Sunday mornings we have a special breakfast together as a family unit.
My children have a story read to them at night and state their gratitudes.
Annual family vacation to somewhere new.
From Spring to Fall we go on a family picnic and hike once a month.
Have a family meeting once a month to share our requests, suggestions etc.
I am free to be myself. I listen to my inner voice and I honor myself.
To create a vision board that reflects who I am by Jan 2, 2011.
Each month I purchase a piece of clothing that reflects who I am.
I purchase and create my ipod with lists of songs that speak to me.
I learn how to play the drums by December 31, 2011.
I learn how to belly dance with my daughter and register for classes by September 2011.
I am fully self expressed, alive and having fun.
I go to a bed and breakfast twice a year with my partner, Spring time he chooses and surprises me and the fall I do the same.
Every November my family and I go to the Royal Winter Fair.
Every two years my family and I go to the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.
Every 4 months I take a personal development course.
I am living a life of financial freedom. I am a powerful and effective communicator, and I speak from my heart in control of my emotions.
My mortgage is fully paid off in 10 years by December, 2012 or earlier.
I only purchase things/items that I can pay off in cash right away.
My website is fully complete by June 2011.
I take courses that will enhance my communication skills.
I feel a inner sense of peace. I am in control of my thoughts and feelings.
I go for a walk three times per week or more with my walking group.
I meditate and journal every morning for at least one hour.
I treat myself to a facial and / or massage every month.
I go to a Shalom Retreat every 3 to 4 months.
I spend quality time with my children every day.