3 Steps to Define Your Personal Values and Live Your Truths
“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.” -Jim Rohn
I’m sure you will agree with me that being lost is no fun. I had jumped off the highway to avoid the morning’s bumper to bumper traffic that resulted from an accident, only to find myself driving in circles.
After pulling off the highway, I had somehow managed to land myself in a distribution compound filled with trucks gearing up to load and unload for the day. Each time I tried to follow a road that looked like an exit, I was met with a “No Outlet” sign. I found myself wishing that I had a compass to navigate myself out of this industrial maze. By using the needle as a guide, I could redirect myself in the right direction.
You may not realize it, but values work in a very similar way. When you are lost in the midst of life’s challenges, your values work like a magnetized needle, carefully redirecting you back on course. How? Values lead you forward by reminding you not only of what you believe, but they also remind you of who you are. Two very important factors that determine which way you will go.
So, how do you begin building a stellar internal compass?
Discover what’s important to you. Creating a clear set of values starts with understanding what’s most meaningful to you. Begin by asking yourself, what do I value most in life? Write down any words that come into your mind. If you’re drawing a blank, click here for an extended list of values to get your mind flowing.
A sample value list may look something like this:
Try to come up with a list of 10 values that resonate with who you are. One you have your list of ten, take a moment to write out what each value means to you. What does “balance” look like and feel to you? How does “trust” play a role in who you are and your approach to life?
By digging a little deeper to answer these questions, you’ll better understand why these values resonate so strongly with you.
Creating this value list is such a huge step in building self-esteem because it helps you to better define yourself as a person versus letting external influences define who you “should” be.
Narrow Your List. The next step is to narrow your list to the three most important values. This will help sharpen your focus and really hone in on what is most important to you. If you were about to embark on the most important journey of your life (which you are) and there was only room in your backpack for three, which values would you take with you? Which are the most essential for getting you to where you want to be in life? Run down your list, removing values one by one until you are left with your three.
Are You in Alignment? Once you have your top three values, take a moment to review if your life is in alignment. Chances are that if you value balance but spend most of your day stressing from one problem to the next, your life is not in alignment with your values. Go back to the question of “what does this value look and feel like to me?” and identify what it will take to get you there. Do you need to block out an hour of your schedule each day to rejuvenate? Is there assistance available to help you versus trying to juggle it all alone? By taking small steps to realign your life with your values, you gain the clarity and assurance that comes from living your truths.
Now that you have your list of core values, keep them in a visible place or on a paper carried with you so that they are readily accessible. Why? Life can bring some very big storms, and when you find yourself lost and unsure of which direction to turn, go back to your core values.
Then, let your internal compass guide you, until you’re back on track.