The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don’t let them put you in that position.
~ Leo Buscaglia
If I asked you “what are your values?” what would you say? Would you be able to easily list the things that are most important to you? The things that drive and motivate you? It is very important to be self-aware of our deepest desires and what we value to be most important to ourselves. It is these beliefs and values that drive and influence our daily behaviour. By understanding our values, and aligning our goals and purpose with them, it is much easier to achieve. When our values are not aligned with our goals, we tend to sabotage ourselves or give up more quickly, as it is difficult to stay motivated.
You can gain a more clear understanding of your values using this simple exercise. On a sheet of paper, list or mindmap what you believe your values are. When brainstorming, you can include areas that you feel are important to you, what beliefs you have, or any expectations you have of yourself. Try to list as many as possible. You may see that some overlap, or value similar areas in your life. This will give you a clue to your core values. When you are finished, rate each value as very important, somewhat important or not important, highlighting the most important ones, or those that overlap similar categories. Think about what these mean to you. You then need to decide on the most important, and rank them in order of importance from 1-10.
If you are stuck for inspiration of what your values might be, you can find a list on the internet. I prefer not to provide a list, so you know your values have come from within and a high level of self-reflection. Any ideas on a list may be influenced by what you think SHOULD be important, not your own truth. For another perspective, I like to ask a trusted friend or family member to tell me what they think my values are, as determined by my words and actions. You may be surprised what they see as your strengths that you may have missed.
Once you have clear core values, you may be able to see a path where you want to develop your strength in a weaker area to create change in your life. For example, if you wanted to be a successful business person, then you may need to have values such as punctuality, organisation, clear communication, leadership, and empathy, so you may like to improve your skills and adopt new beliefs in this area. I will discuss this in more detail in my post Be Do Have.
Finally, take your core values and reevaluate your goals, visions and purpose. Take note of any that may not align clearly with your beliefs, and see if you can reframe them to incorporate your values. Remember, the more aligned all of these elements are, the more rapidly you will see results.
Enjoy the journey!