How to find your values: Part 2

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In the first part of “How to Find your Values,” we did a values hierarchy or prioritization exercise where you brainstormed as many values as you could think of, and then weighed them up against each other to find which ones were most important to you. If you haven’t done this exercise, do it now.

The why and how to find your values

The second part of the “How to Find your Values” method is about really narrowing down on these to find your core values. You might have 5 or 10 values that are dear to you. But values can sometimes contradict each other, causing discomfort, shame or anxiety. Life presents you with many difficult choices and knowing your values can really help you when you need to make that tough decision. Your values will tell you what kind of person you are (or want to be) and provide guidelines to help you act.

It’s natural to modify some of the values on your initial list as you face new and challenging situations. However, your core values will last a lifetime. Here’s how you find them.

Blue-Footed Booby Success Formula: Find your values by asking the tough questions

Take your list of 5-10 values and then ask the following questions:

  1. Would you have this value under duress? Did you ever lose it in times of stress? Could anything change this value for you?
  2. What would happen if you had to decide between this value and 1 million dollars? Would this value change if you had to sacrifice a million dollars for it (or more)? Are you be prepared to die for it?
  3. Would your values hold true in 20 years? What about if it became a competitive disadvantage in your business?
  4. Do these values make you feel good about yourself? Would you be comfortable sharing them with people you respect and admire? Do they represent something you would support and uphold, even if it makes you unpopular, or puts you in the minority?

Find a mnemonic

I did this activity after the prioritization exercise with my life coach, and in doing so, was able to switch up the order of my values to get the top 5. These I dubbed the 5F’s so I can easily remember and refer to them. Try think of a mnemonic that works for you.

The path of least resistance

Sometimes you might need to make a decision that forces you to choose between your core values. One that’s not between right or wrong, but between two of your most important values, such as family and freedom. I suggest asking yourself which path resonates with you the most or offers the least resistance when weighed up against your goals and overall values.

Choosing happiness now and in the future

When you find your values, you can keep your sense of integrity when making decisions – and know that what you’re choosing to do is best for your current and future happiness and fulfilment. Making value-based choices isn’t always easy, but it helps you stay on the path you want to be on.