Values are who we are.
They are our beliefs, morals and philosophies that serve as guideposts towards the actions we take to achieve the results we desire. They are our internal reference points for decision-making. Discovering, refining and understanding your core values is an integral part of leadership and critical to successful planning and goal attainment.
The exercise below is designed for you to discover your core values as they are right now. Set aside some quiet time, 45 minutes or so. Do this work in a space you find fun and inspiring with no phones, no Facebook, no tweets, and no interruptions.
Discover core values through your peak moments in time
Discovering your core values takes place in two parts. The first is broad level unearthing of values. The second is condensing and refining these values to 7-10 core value strings.
Part I: Identify three special peak moments when life was especially rewarding or poignant
This is just a “moment” in time, not an entire experience but a snapshot. We are seeking experiences that are particularly rich and fulfilling. For example: finishing a 5k race, successfully completing a large project or receiving a promotion.
Ask yourself the following questions regarding each of your peak moments.
- What was happening?
- Who was present and what was going on?
- What were you doing?
- What other factors contributed to your happiness?
- What need or desire was fulfilled?
- How and why did the experience give you meaning?
- What were the values being honored in these moments?
Write out as many key words/values that you felt in these moments. You will feel certain energy around the words that feel right. It is more valuable if you use your own words to describe your values, but if you need assistance, please review this values list.
Part II: Condensing and refining your values into strings
Use several words together to form a string describing the value. Grouping similar values together allows you to not have to find the perfect word for whatever value/emotion. For example:
- Place the most significant word at the beginning, such as integrity and leadership above
- Take your time and create your 7-10 value strings
If you feel up for more, here is another values exercise.
Values can change over time
These values may take time to flush out and fully develop but this is a great place to start to visualize and verbalize the core values in your life. Of note, core values are usually stable, yet they don’t have strict limits or boundaries and can change over time.
For example: what was success to you when you first entered the workforce may be different now. As your definition of success changes, so do your core values, therefore, revisiting and updating your core values is a lifelong exercise.
Up next we start putting your plan together with a vision exercise and goal setting based on your core values.
Image Courtesy:Walt Stoneburner