As I have said before, if you want to truly get to know somebody, you need to know their values and what they stand for. That is, the measure of a person is their values.
Often we describe ourselves and others by what they do – their profession, career path, maybe their family or marital status, or even their hobbies.
Everybody has different core values, the things that matter to them. And generally, the people that are self-aware enough to know their values tend to be the ones who find ease with confidence, self-esteem, and decision-making.
What are core values?
Personal values are the things that are most important to you. It’s what you think about, and what you stand for. They are your most important convictions in life. Your values are at the root of who you truly are. Our instinct and intuition are rooted in our core values. They are the things we live by when we are being ourselves.
There is great power in knowing and understanding your own personal core values in life. Values are important because they guide your behaviour.
What happens if we don’t live by our core values?
People often face conflict, challenges, or uncertainty in life when they are working against or in conflict with their personal values.
When we live in opposition to our values we feel uneasy
How do you know what your core values are?
Sometimes there is a knowing – you just know a value that is important to you. For instance, it might be honesty, or loyalty, or kindness, or passion, or freedom, or determination. Often it is a word that might come up a lot when talking about the kind of people you want to be around, or the relationships you choose.
But for the most part, many of us aren’t really consciously aware of our core values. We might live by them, but it’s not something we think about much.
By doing the exercise that I am about to share with you here, you can focus in on your core values and most likely see some kind of pattern or picture emerge.
What is the point of knowing your core values?
It is empowering to know your core values. It helps with making decisions. It helps with self-esteem and confidence. It allows you to step into who you really are. It helps you separate out what parts of you are your true self and what is the noise and influence you’ve picked up from the outside world.
Once you have this knowledge of your core values it helps you to feel more centred and grounded. In moments when you might feel off track, you can remind yourself of your values to help realign.
It sounds really simple, but it is incredibly effective and I use this tool to help my coaching clients get started on our unravelling process.
The core values exercise
Set aside some time without interruptions. You need space for quiet and to be able to work with your intuition. The idea is to use your intuition to pick words that resonate with you. As you go through the list of potential words on the free worksheet I’m sharing below, you will find some words jump out at you.
Circle or mark any words that resonate, any of the words that you particularly like. And if any words that come to mind that aren’t on the worksheet, add them in.
Once you have a long list of words that resonate you could write them all out onto a separate piece of paper, or in a page in your journal. Now, notice any patterns, some words might be similar. Start to narrow down the words that resonate the most until you have about 10 core value words.
These are the values that matter to you the most right now.
What to next with your core values?
Some core values will be with you for life. Others might be something you are missing and want to focus on right now. It’s worth taking the time to ask yourself where each values sits with you.
Some people find it useful to focus on one core value at a time (I do this with my word of the year process) or perhaps they pick 3 values for any given season to work on.
Maybe write your shortlist of core values out onto post-it notes and stick by your desk to keep you grounded every day. Or perhaps add them into the front of your journal.
Choose a way to help you focus on your core values regularly in the best way for you.
How to use the core values worksheet
This worksheet helps you spend time with yourself to figure out what your core values are.
- Spend as much time as you like on the worksheet. Usually, it takes around 30 minutes to complete. Sometimes it helps to do the first step then come back to it at another time to complete the final steps.
- I recommend setting aside a time of peace and quiet, without interruptions, where you can allow your mind to truly reflect and listen to your intuition.
- Fill out your details in the form below to get access to the free core values worksheet which you can save and download to your computer and print out at home.
- Read through the words and circle any that resonate with you.
- Reflect on all your chosen words and look for themes.
- Narrow down the words to the values that stand out the most for you.
- Some values will be more important right now at this stage in your life, others might be overarching values throughout all of your life.
Download the core values worksheet
The process of choosing your core values is an act of intention and mindfulness. That is, it’s a practice that gives you space to really get in touch with yourself and what truly matters to you.
I hope it helps, and let me know how you get on!
If you’re interested I wrote about my values here a couple of years ago.