What are your values?

 

Knowing what our own values are is a key step towards values-based living. By following our values, we are doing what matters to us, which is a powerful step towards being at our best. It also means that, no matter what, we have a choice of what we do next: instead of reacting in ways that are self-destructive, counter-productive and unhelpful, we choose to act in accordance with our values and move in a direction that matters to us. You may already know what your own values are, or perhaps you are yet to consciously discover them, or perhaps your circumstances and values have changed. Coaching is a powerful way to help you define your values, and also to explore how to use them as a power that motivates your actions, and how to create a life that is closely aligned to what matters to you.

How to find out your values

There are many ways to find out what your values are.

Ask yourself questions

What are the most important things to me? How do I want to behave? What do I want to stand for? What do I want my legacy to be? When am I at my best? What really annoys me?

Ask your friends questions

Ask your friends what they see as the main things that matter to you.

Questionnaires

Numerous are available, such as Schwartz Portrait Values Questionnaire, and the VIA questionnaire which allows you to determine your character strengths.

Pick values from a list

A list of common values is shown below. Go through them, and sort them into three categories: matters a lot, matters a little, doesn't matter. Then focus on just the ones in the matters a lot list: if you have more than 8, pick your top 5-8 values.

  • Acceptance: willing to accept others (and self) and situations as they are

  • Adventure: seeking and exploring new experiences

  • Assertiveness: standing up for your own rights/needs/wishes in a socially acceptable fashion

  • Authenticity: being your own, honest self

  • Caring: looking after others

  • Compassion: acting kindly towards others and yourself

  • Connection: paying full attention to others and the present moment, being connected with others

  • Contribution and generosity: giving, sharing, helping

  • Cooperation: collaborating with others

  • Courage: being brave, persisting despite fear or difficulty

  • Creativity: being innovative, original, thinking outside the box

  • Curiosity: being open-minded, exploring

  • Encouragement: encouraging and rewarding

  • Engagement: being fully engaged with what you are doing or with others

  • Fairness and justice: being fair and just

  • Fitness: looking after physical and mental health

  • Flexibility: adapting to change

  • Freedom and independence: being able to choose

  • Friendliness: being agreeable and friendly

  • Forgiveness: being forgiving to others / self

  • Fun / humour: engaging in fun activities, enjoying humour

  • Gratitude: being appreciative

  • Honesty: being truthful

  • Industry: being hardworking and dedicated

  • Kindness: being caring, nurturing, considerate

  • Love: being affectionate and loving

  • Order: being well organised 

  • Persistence / commitment: sticking at something despite difficulties

  • Respect/self-respect: to treat myself and others with care and consideration

  • Responsibility: being accountable

  • Safety and protection: ensuring safety of self and others

  • Skillfulness: continuously practicing and improve skills

  • Supportiveness: being helpful, available, supportive

  • Trust: being loyal, reliable, faithful

There are lots of other values too, so you may have your own that is not on this list. There is also a degree of overlap between the different values.

 

Remember there are no right or wrong ones, what matters is knowing what yours are and spending your life doing things that are aligned with your values.

“If a man knows not which port he sails, no wind is favourable.” Seneca

© Mat Daniel Consulting 2020

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