Just like a car, we as people have our own guidance systems. Although they are not mechanical, or high tech, they do have a major impact on the direction of our lives, as well as where we find our greatest joy, happiness and fulfillment.
What are they you ask? They are what we refer to as your core values. You see, when we operate from our true core values, we find and experience our greatest joy in life as well as greatest rewards. You become so crystal clear on them because every time you are in the exercise of each one you elevate your feeling of accomplishment and thus, true happiness and fulfillment. So, if accomplishment and true joy are important goals in your life, start now with the critical step of determining your core values. This article can only get you started but the process is critical because most assuredly, if you guess at them you will invariably be wrong. The order they play in level of importance is also critical for success, because at times you will find yourself in the dilemma of competing commitments. It is at such times that understanding the priority of them on your list should take precedence. So, the question becomes how do we discover what our most important values are in our lives?
Most of us perhaps think we already know what those most critical values we have…really? When I ask people from time to time, one of the most common answers I get is “you know, those in the Bible.” Do you have any idea of how many independent values exist in the Bible? Literally hundreds, and they are distinctly different. Although we might appreciate each and every one of them, each one has a very distinct meaning/appreciation on each one of us as our differences as human beings run deep. We are all created differently. Upon what analysis have you come to that conclusion?
The struggles are numerous in this exercise so I suggest you set “what you think you know” aside. If you come with pre-conceived notions, you will perhaps over-ride your true self.
- Step 1: List what you “think” are the most important values in your life. You can readily “google” core values and uncover an extensive list (some over 500) of basic core values. Great starting point.
- Step 2: Evaluate the list and with a “blank state” mind (in other words no preconceptions) pick out values that create a real positive reaction for you…in other words, you have an emotional reaction of joy/fulfillment.
- Step 3: Now shorten your list…first in half, and then finally get down to 10. Many of the values may carry very similar meanings so unless you find a real distinction that is very meaningful to you, isolate the one in the “highly similar” group to the one you most resonate with. Write one distinct core value on each of the 10 cards.
- Step 4: This next step is an exercise you do whereby you “separate yourself” from each card (“value”), and spend time seeing how that makes you feel, what is your reaction to the “dropping of the card to the floor.” After waiting for 4-5 minutes, then journal on it. You do this with each of the 10 “value” cards, and as you are doing so, start putting them in the order of which ones are most important to least among the 10. Typically some re-ordering will take place.
Why is having this clarity so powerful? Clarity is everything! Without it, we tend to get blown in the “winds of life”, tossed and turned by whatever way the wind happens to blow on a given day, as our decisions are not based on our “internal navigation system” but rather a wish or whim of what might be fulfilling in our life…in that moment. When we don’t honor our values, our mental, emotional, and physical states all suffer.
It is critical in your life in order to truly reach fulfillment that you operate from those core values as you will make better choices in your life and experience the highest level of joy.