Core Values: Finding out what makes you tick.

on Friday, 24 November 2017. Posted in Life management



Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

Why we do what we do

Do you keep running into the same walls in your career? Do you notice certain battlefields that you seem to encounter in all your relationships and friendships? Are there certain areas in your life that you keep struggling with? Is there a certain type of person you never seem to get along with but you are unsure why?

Often these problems emerge when you are not clear on your values or your surroundings and actions are not aligned with your values.

Values are your deepest beliefs on how you and the people around you should interact with each other and the world. Your values are the foundation of what you consider to be good and bad, right or wrong. Unconsciously your values guide and influence all your behavior.

You are what you believe in

Do you know what ideas and beliefs control you? It is important that you do. We face so many difficult decisions every day and knowing your values, understanding what is important to you and why helps you to make more powerful and fulfilling choices. 

When you live by your core values, it will make people respect and trust you and it gives you a sense of pride and self-esteem. When you are confronted with people, situations or (your own) behaviors that don’t match with your values, you feel uneasy or resistant. And when you stay in a situation like that long enough, that uneasy feeling can turn into depression, anxiety and stress or anger.  

Your values are the conscious representations of your (un) conscious belief system. Your belief system is influenced by a lot of different factors. Your personality, how you grew up, the media, your religion, your education, your culture, what you believe in, your experience etc. etc. All these things together shape how you see the world and what you value most. Some beliefs are positive, they help you grow. An example of a positive belief is the idea that everything can be learned. Other, often unconscious beliefs, can be limiting and constrain us, for example, the belief that you can’t do something or you don’t deserve something. Most limiting beliefs are based on unconscious faulty logic, fear or excuses we make up to disguise a feeling of failure.

Core Values

A lot of people share similar values, but your Core values are that special combination of strong principles that are unique to you. Core values are the values that are most important to you and that you identify with most. These are the values that distinguish you from the herd. That means everybody has a different set of core values that define who you are and more importantly, who you ideally want to be.

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Very few people always live by their values. We are all a work in progress. But it is still important to have a clear understanding of the kind of person you want to be. Everything around you changes constantly. You can't change or control your life for the better unless you understand what is really important to you. Only once you discover the invariable core of your identity, you understand:"This is who I am. This is what I value. This is what I am searching for. This is what I need in my life" If you can identify your Core Values, you can learn how to use them to your advantage when it comes to decision making and taking action in your personal and professional life.

This is why all successful people live by a clear set of core values. Think of all the people you admire: Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, they all had strong values that they lived by, even in difficult times. Their values helped them achieve greatness.

Defining your personal Core Values

Defining your Core Values takes a lot of soul-searching and exploring your belief system. To get the first idea about your own core values you can try this simple exercise at home:

  1. Write down 15 values that you find in important in your life.
  2. Then you rank this values: One by one, you start comparing every value to another one. Ask yourself which one would win if you could only choose 1 and rank accordingly. (the value that wins goes up, the value that loses goes down)
  3. When you have put all values through that process you pick your top 6
  4. These values are an indication of your Core Values.

Understanding what is important to you, will help you identify a lot quicker why some people, actions and situations make you feel happy and fulfilled or unhappy and angry. With a list of the 5 things that you value most in life, it is easier to decide what is the best choice for you when it comes to jobs, love, friendships and the future. Knowing what behavior you value most will help you strive to be a better person. It gives you fulfillment when you live up to your own standards.  It will also help set higher standards for the people you spend your time with.

Think of the 5 people that you spend the most time with. Do they live up to your Core values? Do they support you in becoming the best person you can be? If not, it might be time for some changes in your environment.   


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