Identifying Your Core Values

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What do you value? What is most important to you?


So often we can feel a dissonance within ourselves. We can struggle to identify what we want or need which can lead to difficulty making decisions.


By learning to answer the questions above, we can help connect our head and our heart. When we live life according to our values, or said another way, according to what is most important to us, we often become more confident and at ease about what we want and need which can make making decisions
easier.


So how can you figure out your values? Here’s a guide to help.


First, start by reading the list below. Highlight any words that stand out to you. You can also add a few of your own.


Core Values List

Authenticity
Achievement
Adventure
Authority
Autonomy
Balance
Beauty
Boldness
Compassion
Challenge
Citizenship
Community
Competency
Contribution
Creativity
Curiosity
Determination
Fairness
Faith
Fame
Family

Friendships
Fun
Growth
Happiness
Harmony
Honesty
Humor
Independence
Influence
Justice
Kindness
Knowledge
Leadership
Learning
Love
Loyalty
Openness
Optimism
Peace
Perseverance
Pleasure

Popularity
Purpose
Recognition
Religion
Reputation
Respect
Responsibility
Security
Self-Respect
Service
Spirituality
Stability
Success
Status
Teamwork
Trustworthiness
Wealth
Wisdom

Second, go through the list again. Which 5 words are MOST important to you? These are your top 5 core values.


Now that you’ve identified your core values, let’s use them to help you decide what you want or need.


Here’s an example of how this can be put into practice.


Let’s say that you’ve been struggling to decide if you should stay at your current job where you’ve been working remotely for an insurance company. You’ve been there 5 years and are feeling increasingly unhappy, but you’re struggling to understand why. It pays well and has flexible hours, but something just doesn’t sit well. You wonder if you need to accept how things are or if there’s a change you should be making.


To help you make the decision, you decide to do the core values activity. You go through the list once and mark over 20 items. You’re surprised! You didn’t realize how many things are important to you. After going through the list a second time, you conclude that your top 5 core values are challenge, family, growth, security, and teamwork.


You then start thinking about your current job. You ask yourself, “How does my job align (or not align) with each of my top 5 core values?”  You come up with the answers below.

  • Challenge: You do the same tasks day after day. Not much has changed in the past 5 years.
  • Family: The job allows you flexibility to spend time with your family.
  • Growth: You haven’t changed position since you’ve started and there isn’t much opportunity to grow.
  • Security: The job pays well which provides you with financial security. You also feel a sense of job security knowing that many people have worked at the company for 25+ years.
  • Teamwork: You work alone and barely chat with anyone all day.


Although this job allows you to spend time with your family and provides both financial and job security, both of which are core values of yours, you begin to realize the job doesn’t challenge you, provide opportunities for growth, or allow you to be a part of a team. You begin to see that maybe the reason you’ve been feeling unhappy is that this job doesn’t fully align with your core values which means it might not be the best fit for you after all. You hop online that day and start looking for an in person job at a company with a great team culture and room for growth and challenge that will still allow you to have time with your family.


You go to bed that night feeling curious and hopeful about what is going to be next in life.

~BreAnna Fiala, MA, LLC

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