Determine Your Core Values — And Live Accordingly
You know those people who seem to have an easier time with life? It just seems smoother for them, and they’re all-around happier people — but you can’t really figure out why. I’m sure a few faces are coming to mind.
These people have identified their core values and aligned their day-to-day choices accordingly. They know the beliefs and principles that guide their lifestyles, and their day-to-day decisions are easier to tackle because they have that fundamental understanding of who they are and want to be.
Now, if I asked you to name your core values, in less than one minute, would you be able to do it? How sure would you be? Would they match your partner’s? Would they match your day-to-day life? How close are you to achieving them? The reality is, when asked about our core values, most of us struggle to find the answer.
So today, we’re going to fix that!
What Are Core Values?
Core values are the principles and standards that guide our actions, interactions and relationships in personal and professional life. Some values we inherit through our parents, and others we pick up as we go through life.
How Do We Identify Them?
Even though, when asked, you may struggle to recall your core values, you actually have a more intuitive understanding than you think. Your core values, after all, are manifestations of your authentic self, so the answers are actually waiting inside you!
Believe it or not, our bodies signal us when things are aligned with, or contradictory to, our core values. Have you been engaged in an activity that you really didn’t resonate with, and suddenly you clammed up, got a headache, or felt uneasiness in your stomach? How many times did you actually pay attention to these feelings? Those were signs from your body that you were getting off track.
Have you ever felt drawn to a certain hobby? Maybe you’ve always been naturally curious about a specific subject. Or maybe a type of work has always fallen in your lap, but you never paid much attention to it because it didn’t help you fit in or seem like a big money-maker. Those were signs from your body to go full speed ahead in the direction of your dreams!
How Do We Know If We’re Living In Alignment?
When our lifestyle choices are out of alignment with our core values, we feel unhappy, stressed and out of balance. That’s when things feel, well, like a mess. The quickest way to determine if you’re living in alignment with your core values is to ask yourself one simple question: Am I more happy than unhappy?
What If They’re Not Practical?
We all have certain responsibilities that we carry out of necessity. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it certainly doesn’t mean we’re destined to be stuck in discord because we can’t live the way we want. Let me explain:
Have you ever held a job you wished you could quit, but you stuck with it because you needed the money? Let’s call that Option A. Have you ever stayed in a job that was barely paying you enough to be worth your time, but you loved showing up and staying for long hours? That’s Option B.
In either situation, you’re taking a job out of necessity. But in Option A, you’re prioritizing money over fulfillment in your career, and in Option B, you’re doing the reverse. It all depends on what you value. If you’d rather work a dull yet lucrative job — so you could enjoy your time off without financial stress — then Option A is the most aligned with your values. If you’d rather live minimally so you could be fulfilled at work, then the Option B matches your core values.
In either case, you are meeting the necessity of having a job, but your choice still matches your values.
The Bottom Line
To become one of those happy, carefree people you often envy, it’s extremely important to identify your core values and revisit them often. As we grow and change, so do our core values. Success, measured by money and status, might be a top priority now, but after you have a family, work-life balance often takes the spotlight. But as long as you make an effort to see them, you will always have your core values, like a guiding star to steer you through life’s dark and light moments.
Weekly Action: Core Values List
Following is an exercise to help you identify and prioritize your core values. Have fun and let your inner wisdom guide you through this exercise — don’t force it!
- Circle 3-5 items from the list that represent your core values.
- Prioritize your items by numbering and listing them, in order of importance.
- Write one or two sentences about what each one of them mean to you, and provide an example or situation when you felt in or out of alignment with that value.
Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!
Aazam Irilian, is an artist with a mission to heal and the founder of heal the heart. She is a Transformation coach and helps others to uncover their blocks and overcome life challenges in order to move forward in life, personally and professionally. Her process of combining visualization and creativity, allows participants to relax and clear their mind, in order to identify solutions toward achieving best result for personal and professional growth.