Your values are the standards of behavior and ways of doing things that you think are correct in the way that you live and work. When your actions and decision align with your values then you show others that you have integrity, you become a good role model, and you experience piece of mind, because you’re confident you’re doing the right thing.
When you act in a way the goes against your values, you can feel unhappy and bad about yourself, you can make mistakes, and you may find yourself behaving unethically.
You’ll have noticed that different people have different values and these often determine the things they do in life. For example, a lifesaving surgeon will have different values from a respected musician, who will have different values from an award winning designer.
So do you know what your values are? To identify them start by thinking of times when you were happiest. What were you doing? Why were you so happy?
Next, remember times when you were really proud of yourself. Why were you so proud?
Then, think about times when you were feeling really fulfilled and satisfied with what you were doing? What need or desire did you meet in these situations?
Once you’ve thought about why these situations are so memorable, make a list of the values that led to these outcomes. These can be values like honesty, openness, success, creativity or self-reliance. Or they could be one of hundreds of other equally worthwhile values. You might end up with a large list and that’s fine, but you need to focus in on the values that best define you.
So, your next step is to prioritize these values, and identify the 4 or 5 you think are most important to you. This can be a challenging step, so give your-self some time to figure out which of these are most meaningful. By doing this, you’ll take a big step towards living a happier, more authentic life that will be aligned with your values.
Clint Best is a business coach and the founder of Kaizen Business Coaching in Kelowna, BC. Clint has been guiding forward thinking business owners through change and growth since 2002.