Living, Loving & Leading with your Core Personal Values


On the blog this week I am continuing with this notion of “belonging to yourself” that has emerged in my work with clients many times. This has been particularly common when digging into areas of challenge and discomfort; only this morning I had an in-depth conversation about belonging vs fitting in during a client session.

Last week I introduced you to the Four Pillars (of Belonging to Yourself), and how it is my understanding that these underpin our ability to belong to ourselves. This week we are starting to explore the first pillar: KNOW yourself. This first pillar is fundamental. Before you can take CARE of yourself, take RESPONSIBILITY for yourself or even BE yourself, you’ve got to do the work and get to KNOW yourself.

The first brick in KNOW yourself is your Core Personal Values (or for today just “values” as life is too short to type the phrase “Core Personal Values” dozens of times). Your values tell the world (and you), what is important to you, what you desire, what you need and what you care about. Your values are significant because they are part of who we are and what we stand for. They represent part of our unique, "one-ness”, help guide our decision making and provide us with a personal code of conduct to live, love and lead by.

I talk with clients about their values often and the same questions come up time and again, so I thought it might be helpful to answer them here.

How do I develop my values and do they ever change?

Values are something we learn over time in our lives. They’re often handed down to us by our parents and the community we live in and they be both very specific and quite general. They are also shaped by our life experiences, our personal growth and so many other factors.

Values are not set in stone at all and shift and adjust as you do. Quite often you will carry 2 or 3 values throughout your life – I call these “Compass Values” as they guide you from within. If you’ve experienced a lot of change in your life, it’s likely your values have shifted along the way quite a bit. Mine certainly have and it’s why I go through a values discovery process maybe once a year.

Do I actually have values if I can’t articulate what they are?

You most certainly do and I’m not at all surprised as many people are unable to articulate their values. If you sat for 5 minutes and thought about what guides you in your life you might be able to come up with one or two of your values, but consciously going through a discovery process almost always brings up some real surprises.

What happens when I live, love or lead in a way that isn’t supported by my values?

This is a good question as not having a list of your values isn’t going to do you any harm at all and you might wonder if it even matters.  Interestingly, when you live, love or lead in a way in a way that contravenes an important value, you are likely to experience much higher levels of stress, stress-related illnesses, or at the very least, a regular niggling feeling that things are not quite right but without the ability to really know why. Conversely, when you live, love and lead in a way that honours your values – that is a great feeling indeed.

How can I go about finding out what my values are?

There are a number of ways you can find your values and it really depends what type of learner you are, and how much support or input you enjoy from other people or resources. I’ve included some suggestions below.

  • You could try writing about some of the times when you were the happiest and saddest in your life, and then looking for some commonalities in the values that were being upheld or compromised at that time.

  • How about looking for your values in humanity at large? What delights you and upsets up about the world today? What values are being highlighted here? 

  • Once you’ve found a few values that you like the look of, try journaling about them and how you would live them “out loud”. Do they feel like home? Do they really belong to you, or is there any possibility of them being values that you should have – have you been gifted them by someone else? You are looking for your values, not those that family, friends or your community think you should have.

Or last but by no means least, my free course, YOUR values | YOUR life, is a three-week programme designed to help you get to the heart of your values. The programme includes a thorough discovery process, a module on testing your values out in the real world and some fantastic tools I have developed to help you to live, love and lead aligned with your values.

Whatever method you use, I would encourage you to find your Core Personal Values as they are a big part of what makes you tick, and living in a way that honours them is a glorious feeling.

Next week we move on to brick two in the first of the Four Pillars – Strengths.

Have you signed up for my FREE three-week course YOUR values | YOUR life yet? Your Core Personal Values are one of the bricks in the first pillar of Four Pillars of Belonging to Yourself "KNOW Yourself"; when we live, love and work in a way that honours our values, we feel safe and fulfilled. Are you living, loving and leading aligned to your Core Personal Values? Click on the image to find out more.