5 Questions to define your core values

When you claim your personal values it allows you to fall into aligns with your deepest truth.  Your values tell yourself and the world what you stand for.  In a podcast by Tonya Leigh she shares some questions to help you decide on your own core values.

One of the things to do is revisit what you may have noted as your core values a few years ago.  Do they still represent you now? Values should help you grow and create the life you want to create and make sure your daily decisions align with what you value. Personal values are important to have in place to help your really know what you stand for, what you want your life to look and feel like.  Once you know those things it helps you make better decisions. 

Values are those things that we hold as valuable, important or acceptable. Ask yourself if you have defined what is valuable, important and acceptable to you.  You can value what you want so long as you like your reason for doing so. You would make a different decision about something to someone else based on your values.

TL gave five questions to help evaluate your core values:

  1. What are the value words that really resonate with you? It could be elegance, abundance, fun, joy, achievement, generosity, growth, help, happiness, love, passion, service, security, uniqueness, boldness, or anything that feels strong to you.  Google “personal value words” if you’re stuck for inspiration.  Write down the words that you are drawn to.
  2. What was the biggest highlight and the biggest lowlight of your life? During your highlights you’ll probably find you were living to your core values.  During your lowlights your values were probably being supressed. Think about what those moments can teach you about what you value.
  3. Who do you admire and what values do they embody?  When we admire someone it usually means that we aspire to be like them in some way. They don’t have to be public figures.  There is a direct correlations between someone you admire and your own core values. What values are they expressing that you want to incorporate into your own life?
  4. What values do you need to practice every day to get to where you want to be? Our values are buried in our dreams for our lives.  Think about your big dream and what values you need to incorporate into daily routine around decisions, how you show up, to tell the world what you stand for.
  5. What do you want people to be saying about you at your funeral?  Sounds a bit morbid, but it’s a fact of life. Take control of who you are and how you express your values so you can change the narrative.  When you know where you want to end up you can reverse engineer things to embody the values that will help you create that goal. Imagine the life you’ve lived and what people will say about you then live your life based on your core values to get you there.

Some words that resonated with me included authentic, fairness, growth, honesty, loyalty, self-respect, responsible, stable and trustworthy.  In 2015, as part of my Masters programme I did a personal values assessment. The results back then were very similar to how I still feel now.  They focussed on making a positive difference in the world, finding meaning in existence, development and growth, and a feeling of self-worth.

Trying to find a life highlight and lowlight is hard. There are many good and bad things that have happened in my life, but I don’t necessarily feel they are strong enough to be a highlight or lowlight.  There are some obvious ones like getting married and having my daughter, but I think another time I felt good about life was when we went to the US for our 10th wedding anniversary.  C and I started off in Washington DC, then went via Philadelphia to New York.  We flew business class and stayed in Hyatt Hiltons, all at no cost as C had air miles and hotel points from work.  That meant we could spend our money on going out to nice places to visit, soaking in the culture at the various Smithsonian museums, trying not to laugh at the so called history of “the making of the US” at the Philadelphia Independence Hall, to the over the top shopping experiences and walking through Central Park in the snow in NYC.  We were free of responsibilities of work and ringing, we were able to be ourselves and do what we wanted, when we wanted. We enjoyed cultured activities and tacky touristy ones, we ate and drank well. A lowlight for me was when I got into a bit of money difficulty when I was very young.  I was trying to keep up with the Jones’s and had credit cards and shop loyalty cards and racked up an astonishing amount of debt that the minimum payment amount on my credit card statement was more than I earned in a month.  I learned some valuable lessons from that which I have never looked back from.  I don’t have a credit card, or store cards.  If I don’t have the money in my account, I don’t buy it.  I don’t go into overdraft and I save for big ticket items, and I’m saving for my retirement.

Admiring people is always a difficult one for me.  We only get to see what they want us to see so it can be difficult to determine sometimes whether they are genuinely embodying those values or doing it for publicity.  I’m not a celebrity watcher.  I tend to admire people who have been able to turn their lives around through hard work and determination.  When you’ve had a set back its how you respond to it with grace and authenticity that resonates more with me.

I think the values I need to concentrate on more are self-worth, putting myself first for a change.  I realise that sounds awfully arrogant.  So much of my life is doing things for others, being places or doing something I don’t really want to.  I want to start to get some of my life back whilst I’m still able to enjoy it.  I’m going to be planning more things that I want to do.  Saying no to things I don’t want to do more often.  Not compromising my own life to suit others so much.

I don’t suppose there’ll be anyone left who cares by the time I pop my clogs.  I don’t mean that to get sympathy, but given I’m the youngest of my family and friends group, my husband is 15 years older than me, the law of averages might suggest I’ll be the last one left, unless something drastic happens.  I fully intend to have a non-funeral.  No service, no gathering, no party.  Just burn me and scatter me somewhere.  Therefore I don’t expect anyone to say anything about me at my funeral.  I often attend funerals of ringers and listen with interest to their Eulogies.  Sometimes what people say is far from the person I knew.  They are often spoken of who wonderful they were, loving, kind, funny and so on, when my experience of them was they were grumpy, mean and a bully.  But that’s back to the idea of only seeing one side of someone’s life.  You don’t get to see the whole picture.  To be honest, I don’t really care what people will say about me when I’m gone.  I won’t be there to listen.  The nearest I’ll get to anyone saying anything about me as my annual appraisal at work.  They often say I’m hardworking, fair, softer than I might first appear.

What values do you want to embed in your life?


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