What are values and why do I need to know them?

Posted on 2014 / 05 / 28
nardianorman
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A few years ago, when I first started dating my man, we got into a casual conversation about his business. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, and we hadn’t been dating for very long so we were in that ‘get to know each other’ phase. Being the overly enthusiastic person that I am I asked him about his business goals and what he stood for. Well, Mr Man didn’t really know how to answer those questions, and as I followed up with the ‘so what are your values?’ question, and was met with a very vacant stare I took it upon myself to call an impromptu ‘goal setting/value finding’ coaching session.

Three hours later, and Mr Man, had clarified his values, had set some awesome 5year goals and was left feeling a little brain fried! (for the record he kept those pieces of paper next to his bed for years, until the sun faded all the writing, however he remained true to his values and as such has gone on to build a business and write a book all with his values in mind!)

So, if you are like him you may be asking the question what is a value? Put simply your values are your beliefs and are typically what you hold dear to you. They act as a form of internal compass that guides you and drives your behavior in the right direction. Without knowing what your values are, who you are or what you stand for, you can end up drifting through life, never really experiencing complete fulfillment.

When you are clear on your values and what you stand for your life becomes a lot simpler because you will only participate in events/jobs/activities, or hang out with the people who are in alignment with your values. You can start to eradicate the things in your life that don’t stack up and conversely start focusing on the things that truly matter.

When you live life according to your values you can set the appropriate goals that when achieved contribute to your sense of purpose and fulfillment. This is exactly why some people seem to be so blissfully happy and content with their life because they are living life on purpose. The cool thing is that having a life that is juicy, fulfilling and exciting is not reserved for just some special people. Anyone can create and choose to lead that sort of life, and it all starts with knowing your values.

Now, whilst this all seems like flowers, cotton candy and rainbows it does require some effort and conscious decision making to stay on point with your life. There will be times that are difficult, and certainly times that will challenge your value system, however being clear on these values will enable you to negotiate your way through these tricky moments.

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Clarifying your goals requires some reflection but it is a fun process to go through! Grab a pen and loads of paper and find a quiet space free of distractions. Now the fun begins:

VALUE FINDING PROCESS:

1. Write the answers to this question: “What are the most important things in your life?”

Allow yourself time to write freely, avoid overthinking it just let the answers come scrambling out. Once you feel like you’ve written down all the answers ask yourself the same question again. Repeat this one more time until you have written through 3 blocks (here is a list of words that may help you out (http://www.stevepavlina.com/articles/list-of-values.htm)

2. Now you will have a list of different words; go through and group them into similar meanings, for example you may have written down education, learning and teaching, which are all quite similar and therefore can be grouped together. Next you need to rank these words or groups. Ask yourself the following question: “If I could only have one of these values which one would it be?” Rank that as number one. Then ask yourself, if I could have two of these values what would they be? Keep asking yourself this question until you have ranked or number all your words. The top 5 values are what you value the most. Now we need to see if there is alignment between your values and how you are living your life.

3. Write the answers to the following questions:

“What do I spend most of my time doing?”

“Where do I spend most of my money?”

The answers to these questions will help you determine whether what you are doing with your life lines up with what you value most in your life. For example, if you say that ‘health’ is one of your values, yet you spend most of your time at the pub, and most of your money on takeaway foods then it is clear to see that your actions are not aligned with your values, and there will be unrest. Here’s another example; if you say that ‘family’ time is your biggest value yet you are constantly at work, or coming home late at nights and not seeing them, you will experience negative emotions because you are not being true to yourself. If you find that your values are not in alignment with your current actions then it is time to make some changes.

4. Ask yourself the following questions:

“What do I need to do to make sure my values are being met?”

“What do I need to stop doing?”

“What do I need to start doing?”

Once you have established the answers to those questions you can now start your goal setting process. Make sure you keep your values in a place that you see on a regular basis to remind you of who you are and what you stand for. I love this process and I hope that you have found this helpful. If you would like more information or help with this please drop me a line, and I will get back to you asap.

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