Your Personal values are the general expression of what is most important for you. A value expresses the worth of something, and in this case what you categorical like and dislike.
So they are like categories for all your preferences in life. Values are formed starting in early childhood and are later consciously re-evaluated and can therefore be changed.
By comparing two values you can discover which is representing something that is more important than the other. Therefore you rate the one value over the other.
Personal values are generally operating in the background. They influence everything what you do but usually it happens on auto-pilot. You just know intuitively what you like and dislike and decide accordingly.
Why is it Good to Know Your Personal Values?
The answer is twofold:
First you get clarity and build your self-awareness by identifying your values and secondly knowing your highest values can act like a guide for you. It makes intelligent decisions easier. Also knowing your negative values, those from which you try to keep away from, is very helpful as well. When you are clearly aware of your value hierarchy you can consciously check situations against your value-system, which will create better decisions and results. It will be easier to keep your balance in life.
For instance when you are about to make an important decision you can double-check if going the one or the other way would go against one of your core values. On the long run, that would pose a problem for you.
So all in all it’s an awareness building process which can give you direction in life.
When choosing your personal core values it is important to think about the criteria that you will use to make your selection. Since your personal values decision will have multiple answers, your criteria will also help you to prioritize and limit your list. Using our decision making model, you will want to look at other connected decisions for goals/source requirements that will influence your criteria. If you have already made decisions for a personal vision, mission statement, and/or core beliefs, you should see goals/source requirements that will influence the criteria for this decision.
With your connected decisions in mind, here are some criteria that might help in selecting your personal core values.
- Consistent with my personal vision, mission, and core beliefs – In addition to specific goals/source requirements, you can use this criteria as a way to eliminate personal values that are inconsistent with your other decisions.
- Inspirational – Personal values should encourage you to fulfill your purpose in life. Great personal values, read every day, will provide an uplift and motivation to take on the day’s challenges.
- Unique – Your values need to speak to you. Don’t hesitate to use values learned from others, but your core values should help define who you are and want to be. They should reflect the priorities for your life and will tend to emphasize your strengths while compensating for your weaknesses.
- Provides guidance – Personal core values should help you in your everyday decisions, particularly with relationships.
- Long lasting – This is about creating your future. Expect that your values will evolve as you grow, mature and gain life experience. However, this is not about following the latest fad. If you expect a personal core value to change next week, it likely isn’t very core.
- Meaningful and rewarding – Values provide the measures that help us live meaningful lives that fulfill our given purpose. Living a life of meaning brings us joy.
A List of Core Values
There are a lot of value lists out there, so here are just the real core values that most people have and that differentiate a character the most. I tried to keep the list tight and avoid repetition by synonyms:
|Beauty||Being the Best||Calmness||Cheerfulness|
Create Your Value Hierarchy
In order to create your 10 top-values do the following:
- Select the 10 values from the list above that you like most. (of course you can also do a Top 5 or Top 3)
- Start with the first in the list. Then order this by importance by comparing two values by asking: “Which one is more important to me if I had could only have one and had to compromise the second?” Remove the winner and write it on top of a new list and then continue with the remaining 6 on the old list and so on.
- Do this for all 10 until you have an ordered list of your top 10 values.
Here are my top 10 personal values:
Your value hierarchy expresses your character of course. Someone who values adventure highly is a different character as someone who values stability more. Someone who values success highly is different than someone who values family on top.
An interesting exercise is also to create your top 10 negative values, which express what you really dislike or what is totally unimportant to you.
Are Values Fixed or Can I Change Them?
By there very nature, your value-system tend to be more stable, it is your character in it’s many facettes. But single values are not static and fixed. They can change. Personal values usually change when something big happens, or when you are consciously re-evaluating your life and make a decision, based on your experiences, to change your value hierarchy.
As an example I valued diversity a lot in my first business. Later I learned by experience all the drawbacks of doing a lot at a time and now I value simplicity more.
So what when you are dissatisfied with a value you have and what to change it?
For instance you may have the top value of stability and you want to become a bit more flexible in your life. (could be the other way around as well) Changing this would work if you create experiences and enjoy them that are in alignment with the new value: flexibility in this example.
So to integrate a new value into your top-values:
- Create positive experiences that express this value in your life
- Decrease experiences that are aligned with the opposite value in your life
- Also working on your beliefs will make it easier to adapt to new values.
Please break your list down to TOP 5 and then to TOP 3 personal values.
What are your TOP 3 personal values?
This is my TOP 3 personal values:
No person likes making mistakes. Having well defined personal core values helps us avoid making choices that work against who we want to be. Our values become a clear set of guidelines for our words and actions, consistently moving us in the direction aligned with our core beliefs and personal vision. Our life becomes one of our choosing, not one that is directed by the decisions of others. Our values help us build and maintain our identity as unique individuals.
Choosing and knowing your values can provide a number of benefits that include:
- Reducing stress
- Making better decisions
- Finding environments and people that support your aspirations
- Increasing joy and happiness
- Supporting your growth and development
- Helping in times of conflict or confusion
- Growing contribution and value
- Providing motivation
Knowing it or not, choosing it or not, all of us have a set of personal core values. Prevent discontent, conflict, frustration and lack of fulfillment by choosing consciously the values by which you want to live.
Now do the limpness test: Ask yourself the four following questions?
- Would you sacrifice any of theses vales for a million rand?
- Have you lost any of theses core values in times of stress?
- In 20 years would theses values still hold true?
- Are you prepare to disregard one or more of theses values if they put you at a disadvantage?