Your core values are individual beliefs

When you figured out your why, you gave some thought to your personal values. Your core values will be extremely important when we get to the actual goal-setting process, and should be written down, just like we did with core competencies. When you did the “find your why” exercise, you documented your core values.

Spend some more time with this — fine-tune what you have, and figure out what your core values are. Keep in mind that this is personal, so there is no right or wrong answer.

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. 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.”

See a list of 75 core values

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