Your core values are individual beliefs — the things that you feel are important in your life. You can also define values as your personal preferences. You start creating values in early childhood, and during your lifetime, these might change or be influenced by your experiences. Your core values motivate how you act and behave.
If you want to make sure you are living your best life, determining your core values is a key step. Once you have homed in on your core values, they serve as a guide to fill in the rest of your life plan.
Knowing your core values makes it possible to spend time on things that feed and nurture your values, which gives you a sense of meaning and leads to more satisfaction with how you spend your time.
Bonus: in your next job interview, chances are they will ask you about your personal values and competencies. Because you’ve written down your list of values, you can really wow the interviewer with an immediate answer that gives a good sense of who you are and what drives you.
To simplify this first exercise, I’ve created a list of 75 example core values, which you can see at the bottom of this article. Use these as a starting point, but keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. Do some additional research online, or ask people close to you for some suggestions. This can be a fun exercise as you figure out how others see you and your beliefs.
Keep the list of core values to a maximum of six, with no minimum. If you write down three or four, that’s fine. You’ll probably find more than six values you recognize in yourself, but this exercise focuses on finding the core values that truly define you.
Some values focus on professional work; some focus on personal relationships. I can confirm that my personal list was different a few years ago — as I learned new things, met new people, and gained new insights, my list changed. You should review this list annually before setting new yearly goals.
Author Stephen Covey once stated:
“People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value.”
- Inner Harmony
- Meaningful Work
This article is an excerpt from my book. Interested in reading more?