The Question of Values
If you asked me in my early twenties, “What are your values?” I would have likely stammered or spit out words with no real thought or meaning behind those words. The truth was I had never thought about values in my twenties. All of my values at that point were 100% inherited by either my parents, school, or religion causing me to be a leaf on the wind of other people's expectations. When I finally became more value-focused, my world changed. I became more me, I became a better partner, a better person, and someone that I and others could trust and believe in.
That is why understanding your values is such an important thing to do. So let’s start with defining what a value is. Values by definition are “a person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life”. Now that we know the definition, would you not agree that maybe we should know what our values are, and maybe we should spend more time determining and understanding our values?
I always recommend to take time for yourself and really try to figure out your values and what you stand for. You can take a day off and just go to a coffee shop, a scenic park, you name it, but just go to a place where you can have some quiet time and think.
While you are thinking, ask yourself these questions.
1. What is really, really important to me?
Create a list of values that are meaningful to you and the only way to make sure they are meaningful is to ask yourself why are these values important to you?
2. Are these really my values or someone else’s?
Question your list. Often by the time, we start to think deeply about how our values we have been brainwashed by almost everything you can think of. It is hard to find out what your authentic values are, so don’t rush. Take time to question the values and see if they hold true to you.
3. If I used these values when making decisions would I be okay with that?
Values need to be conscious and at the forefront of all your life decisions, if they are not, you are likely out of whack with who you are. Your values are your standards for what type of life you want and when we stray from those values it generally creates a feeling of unrest or “hey! something feels wrong here”.
Use your values to make your decisions aligned with who you are and who you want to be. (This works not only for individuals but also for companies.)
Once you have a good understanding of your values, it makes a lot of sense to action them as unused values are not really values but ideals.
If you value family, spend more time with family. If you value trust, be more trustworthy by trying not to lie. If you value adventure, book that trip on your bucket list; do what is aligned with your values. You get the idea!
Knowing your values is the starting point for so many things including being an awesome leader. By running your decisions, through your values system, you will be able to quickly come to the right and often the best decision for yourself and others. Take the time to dig deep and find what your authentic values are. It will be worth it.