Why it is important to identify your values
I spend a lot of my time working with business and organisational leaders. One of the things that constantly amazes me is how few can articulate their personal values. Many have not given it much thought.
One of the reasons business people struggle with priorities and decision making is that they do not have a clear set of business values. This leads to inconsistency and often unreliability making it hard for them to build trust with people.
If you are living in congruence (or in synch) with your values you will be a more peaceful, more decisive, more productive, more consistent and more trustworthy person. E.g. If your values include: Family, Freedom and Making a Difference but you are so busy and tired from working 14 hour days and the only ‘difference’ you are making is your greying hair and growing wasteline, you are going to be totally frustrated.
What are values? Values are the essential you. Values are those things you consider important, things you will fight for, some may even even die for. You will certainly be very unsettled and upset with yourself if you compromise them.
5 Key Questions To Assist You Identify Your Values.
In answering these questions look for recurring patterns that you notice about yourself and your behaviour.
- What are your hot buttons? What gets you going? What inspires you? What stirs you? E.g. For myself it is people who will give you a go when you do not deserve it, who will forgive and overlook fault and history and believe that you have the potential to change. I love to assist people see and release their potential. This is clearly a personal value. The value is ‘Grace” or as we say in Australia ‘A Fair Go’.
- What do you spend most of your time talking about passionately? What subjects interest you consistently? E.g. I love to read stories and am motivated by people who work hard, persist and win overcoming huge obstacles.
Cadel Evans story of 10 years hard work persisting through many disappointments, injuries and near misses to become the first Australian to win the Tour De France is hugely inspiring. For me the personal Value is Persistence.
- What are your strengths? Have the courage to focus on and admit your strengths. E.g. I enjoy listening to people and seeking to really hear what motivates them deep on the inside. The gift of listening is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give. For me this is a personal Value of Generosity
- What is effortless for you and you have noticed that it is often difficult for others? E.g. I am usually very consistent. I like to do what I say I will do. Keeping my word is very important to me, as is being on time. For me this is the personal Value of Integrity.
- How do you spend time and money? This is where is gets really honest. If you want to find out what you really value then have a look at your expenses and your diary. If you do not spend time and money on what you say you value then I don’t believe it is an important value. E.g. I spend regular time and money on 3 fitness classes per week and have invested over $30,000 in the past year in courses that are assisting me to grow. The Values here are Health & Fitness and Personal Growth,
From your answers to these 5 questions you will gain a good accurate picture of your personal values. If you are in business identify 4 – 6 Core Values that will guide your business life (and culture).
This exercise may also help you to notice some values that you do not like and could work to change? E.g. Comfort.
Struggling, or want some assistance, then I suggest that you do this exercise with someone who knows you really well.
To identify your values and have the courage to live them is one of the simple keys to living a fulfilled life. It is also vitally important if you are in a position of leading other people. A leader who does not have clear personal values is a leader in name or position only.
I wish you well as you identify your values