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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.

  1. Abundance

  2. Acceptance

  3. Accessibility

  4. Accomplishment

  5. Accuracy

  6. Achievement

  7. Acknowledgement

  8. Activeness

  9. Adaptability

  10. Adoration

  11. Adventure

  12. Affection

  13. Affluence

  14. Aliveness

  15. Ambition

  16. Appreciation

  17. Approachability

  18. Assertiveness

  19. Attentiveness

  20. Attractiveness

  21. Authenticity

  22. Availability

  23. Awareness

  24. Balance

  25. Beauty

  26. Being the best

  27. Belonging

  28. Bliss

  29. Boldness

  30. Bravery

  31. Brilliance

  32. Calmness

  33. Capability

  34. Caring

  35. Celebrity

  36. Certainty

  37. Challenge

  38. Charity

  39. Charm

  40. Cheerfulness

  41. Clarity

  42. Cleanliness

  43. Clear-mindedness

  44. Cleverness

  45. Closeness

  46. Comfort

  47. Commitment

  48. Compassion

  49. Completion

  50. Concentration

  51. Confidence

  52. Congruency

  53. Connection

  54. Consciousness

  55. Consistency

  56. Contentment

  57. Contribution

  58. Control

  59. Conviction

  60. Coolness

  61. Cooperation

  62. Courage

  63. Courtesy

  64. Craftiness

  65. Creativity

  66. Credibility

  67. Curiosity

  68. Daring

  69. Decisiveness

  70. Delight

  71. Dependability

  72. Depth

  73. Desire

  74. Determination

  75. Devotion

  76. Dignity

  77. Diligence

  78. Direction

  79. Directness

  80. Discipline

  81. Discovery

  82. Discretion

  83. Diversity

  84. Drive

  85. Duty

  86. Dynamism

  87. Eagerness

  88. Education

  89. Effectiveness

  90. Efficiency

  91. Elation

  92. Elegance

  93. Empathy

  94. Encouragement

  95. Endurance

  96. Energy

  97. Enjoyment

  98. Equality

  99. Excitement

  100. Exhilaration

  101. Experience

  102. Expertise

  103. Exploration

  104. Expressiveness

  105. Exuberance

  106. Fairness

  107. Faith

  108. Fame

  109. Family

  110. Fascination

  111. Fashion

  112. Fearlessness

  113. Fierceness

  114. Financial independence

  115. Firmness

  116. Fitness

  117. Flexibility

  118. Flow

  119. Fluency

  120. Focus

  121. Fortitude

  122. Frankness

  123. Freedom

  124. Friendship

  125. Friendliness

  126. Frugality

  127. Fun

  128. Generosity

  129. Giving

  130. Grace

  131. Gratitude

  132. Growth

  133. Guidance

  134. Happiness

  135. Harmony

  136. Health

  137. Heart

  138. Helpfulness

  139. Heroism

  140. Holiness

  141. Honesty

  142. Honor

  143. Humility

  144. Humor

  145. Imagination

  146. Independence

  147. Ingenuity

  148. Inquisitiveness

  149. Insightfulness

  150. Inspiration

  151. Integrity

  152. Intelligence

  153. Intensity

  154. Intimacy

  155. Introversion

  156. Intuition

  157. Intuitiveness

  158. Inventiveness

  159. Joy

  160. Justice

  161. Keenness

  162. Kindness

  163. Knowledge

  164. Leadership

  165. Learning

  166. Liberation

  167. Liveliness

  168. Logical

  169. Love of life

  170. Loyalty

  171. Making a difference

  172. Mastery

  173. Maturity

  174. Meticulousness

  175. Mindfulness

  176. Modesty

  177. Motivation

  178. Mysteriousness

  179. Neatness

  180. Open-mindedness

  181. Openness

  182. Oneness

  183. Optimism

  184. Order

  185. Organization

  186. Originality

  187. Parenting Style

  188. Passion

  189. Peace

  190. Perceptiveness

  191. Perseverance

  192. Persistence

  193. Persuasiveness

  194. Philanthropy

  195. Playfulness

  196. Pleasure

  197. Popularity

  198. Power

  199. Positive Attitude

  200. Practicality

  201. Precision

  202. Preparedness

  203. Presence

  204. Privacy

  205. Proactivity

  206. Professionalism

  207. Prosperity

  208. Punctuality

  209. Purity

  210. Realism

  211. Reason

  212. Reasonableness

  213. Recognition

  214. Recreation

  215. Relaxation

  216. Reliability

  217. Religiousness

  218. Resilience

  219. Resolution

  220. Resolve

  221. Resourcefulness

  222. Respect

  223. Reverence

  224. Richness

  225. Sacredness

  226. Security

  227. Sensitivity

  228. Sensuality

  229. Serenity

  230. Service

  231. Sexuality

  232. Sharing

  233. Simplicity

  234. Sincerity

  235. Skillfulness

  236. Solidarity

  237. Solitude

  238. Spirit

  239. Spirituality

  240. Spontaneity

  241. Spunk

  242. Stability

  243. Strength

  244. Success

  245. Support

  246. Teamwork

  247. Thoroughness

  248. Thoughtfulness

  249. Timeliness

  250. Traditionalism

  251. Tranquility

  252. Transcendence

  253. Trust

  254. Truth

  255. Understanding

  256. Uniqueness

  257. Unity

  258. Variety

  259. Vision

  260. Vitality

  261. Warmth

  262. Wealth

  263. Where you live – city, town, apartment, home

  264. Willingness

  265. Wisdom

  266. Wittiness

  267. Wonder

  268. Work – type of work you do

  269. Youthfulness

  270. 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.

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