What Matters Most
Values stem from our beliefs and convictions, which then guide and direct our behaviors. They are the essence of who each of us are, the foundation of our unique self-expression. Values help us to act with integrity, and when our life priorities are aligned with our values, we are well on our way to experiencing fulfillment in our lives.
Whatever values a person has will help paint the picture of the life that person wants to live. What a person holds up as important on the inside ends up being reflected, just like a mirror, in the physical world around them. But if a person is not living in alignment with their values, a disconnect between who they are on the inside and the life they are living on the outside is then created. This disconnect can easily zap a person’s energy and derail them for their goals and dreams.
To take the first step in determining the core values working just below the surface of who you are, take a few minutes to perform the following values identification exercise. We derive a great deal of personal fulfillment when we live out our values. Still, life is one of our choosing. Find out what core values you have and then decide whether you are expressing them in your life.
Exercise: “Values Identification”
- From the list of values below, place a checkmark next to or highlight the 25 words that best represent what matters most to you in your life.
|Acceptance Accomplish Achievement Acquisition Adventure Alignment Altruism Amusement Assistance Attractiveness Authenticity Awareness
Charity Community Compassion
Connection Consciousness Consideration Constancy Contentment Contribution Cooperation Courage
Discovery Diversity Security Education Effectiveness Elegance Wellbeing Empathy Encourage Encouragement Energy Enlightenment Entertainment
Excellence Experiment Expertise Exquisiteness Fairness
Feeling good Fitness
Gratitude Guidance Happiness Harmony
Imagination Independence Influence Innovation
Inspiration Instruction Integrity Intelligence Inventiveness
Kindness Knowledge Laughter Leadership Learning
Mastery Merriment Nobility Nutrition
Order Organization Originality Peace Peacefulness Perception Personal Development
Positive attitude Power
Radiance Recognition Relatedness Relationships Reliability Religious Resourcefulness Respect Responsibility
Self-awareness Self-worth Sensations Serenity
Simplicity Spirituality Stability Stimulation Strength Strengthen Success Superiority
Truthfulness Understanding Victory
- Now take the words you chose above and place them into 5 different groupings. Group the words according to what has a related meaning to you, or that you feel easily “fit together.” Place the words in the boxes below for each group.
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3||Group 4||Group 5|
- Once you have placed your 25 words into the five different groupings, give each grouping a name. Think of a word or short phrase that best encompasses the meaning for that entire group. Write the names you come up with in the boxes below.
|Group 1 Name||Group 2 Name||Group 3 Name||Group 4 Name||Group 5 Name|
- The five group names you have just come up with above represent your top five core values.
- Next, label each of the five segments with your five core values and then rate how well you feel you are currently living out that value with 5 being ‘fully living out the value,’ and 1 being ‘not living out that value at all.’ Draw a line across the segment to indicate that values’ degree of fulfillment currently in your life.
Reflect on Your Results:
- What insights have you gained from conducting this values identification exercise?
- What kind of person would you be if you were living out each of your core values to their highest degree?
- What connection can you find between the core values you have identified and your highest hopes in dreams for your life?
Values exist whether we recognize their presence in us or not. But by having a greater understanding of them you can develop plans, set goals and make decisions that will honor them. Determining your core values will help you to discover what’s truly important to you. Making choices in life based on your core values won’t always be easy, but since your core values are such a central part of who you are and who you want to be, honoring them is crucial.
The core values this exercise has revealed for you should be regarded only as the beginning of the process of determining the essence of who you are. In the days ahead, keep asking yourself what is important to you and what you really care about and want for your life. Recall those moments in your past when you were most happy and fulfilled. What values were being honored in those moments? Also think about the times when you were most frustrated. What values were being violated in those moments? Certainly there are more values working within you than just the five values revealed here. Continue the work of discovering your other unique qualities, beliefs, principles and convictions.
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