Knowing Your Core Values

Our core values are what make us who we are, and they help us when making all of the important decisions in life.

For instance, if someone’s core value was integrity, that person would be respected and known for having integrity, and when big decisions were to be made, they would look to do the right thing, i.e act with integrity.

Often when we are conflicted it’s because we are doing something which is not in line with our core values, which might be because we don’t really consciously know what our core values are, or it could be that the situation is forcing us to go against our core values.

When we are in conflict with our core values, this will definitely generate stress within us, and we need to find a way to get back in alignment with our values.

I know a couple of people who have quit their jobs because they felt their values were being compromised, they were being asked to do things that they fundamentally didn’t agree with and they had to decide, do I go against my values or do I just quit?

It’s a tough call in a tough job market, but both people said that as soon as they quit, they felt like a weight had been lifted off of their shoulders. The stress they had been suffering dissipated immediately and they felt like new people.

This was because they were back in alignment with their values!

One of the greatest exercises we can do for ourselves is to sit down and define our core values, when we know and understand our core values, we can know and understand ourselves so much more. Even more so we can share our values with our partners and work colleagues so they can know and can understand us better.

I remember reading a story in one of the Stephen Covey books, I think it was Principled Centered Leadership, but I am not sure.

Anyway, the story was about a woman who every time she had to buy big kitchen appliances used to drive 6o miles or so, to go to a particular store because she only wanted a particular brand and this was the only store that stocked them.

This used to drive her husband nuts, there were plenty of brands available where they lived, some cheaper, some better, but no his wife insisted on going to buy this one particular brand.

One time the husband was so irate they argued about it, and the wife burst into tears, and she finally told him that, this was important to her because during the depression her father owned a store and that this firm was the only one that would continue to supply him with goods on credit so that his business didn’t go bust.

On hearing the story, the husband hugged his wife and drove to the store. Once he understood the story, which even his wife didn’t consciously understand, he knew and understand why this was important for his wife.

Loyalty was one of her core values, and she felt she needed to repay the loyalty that brand had shown to her father.

Often we do things, and even we don’t consciously know why we do them, but it’s because of our values, these are what drive us sometimes to do strange things.

Things that others can never understand without knowing our values.

This week I have been on a course and one of the things we have been focusing on is getting more clarity on our values, knowing who we are, and what is truly important to us.

It’s not as easy as it sounds, although some values may be easy, getting the full package takes time and commitment, and we need to be honest with ourselves.

However, once we know our true values, it makes living the life we want so much easier to identify – it might not make it easier to achieve, but at least now we know what we want and we can put a plan together to achieve it.

I can’t emphasize this enough, or recommend it more strongly, if you haven’t done this before, then go give it a try, it’s very liberating.

If you want to learn more about creating highly engaged teams or being a better leader click the link to make an appointment to talk about how I can help.