For the longest time, I was completely unaware of my core values.
Deep down, I felt that there was incongruence – a gap in my feelings – between what I was doing, and my feelings around those actions.
While I was gleaning some happiness, there was never a spark! Never energy that got me into a rhythm. Into “flow” as it were.
There is a scene from the movie Shirley Valentine (just gave away my age there 🙂 where Shirley is screaming at her daughter.
She jokes that her family have her parading around the house like “RT bleeding D2” – I use to feel like this too.
What’s a value anyway?
For the purpose of this exercise, I am going to give you this description:
“principle or standards of behaviour; one’s judgment of what is important in life”
A corporation might have its own set of values, but most importantly we have our own set of values, which essentially are our compasses.
They are inherent – they form our belief system, and they lead us in our decision-making.
The crux of this definition though, is that if we ignore those inherent values, we can often walk into decisions that don’t serve us best.
Sometimes, those decisions might not serve us at all.
my top two core values of freedom and adventure
I had a successful corporate career.
In fact, there were things that I absolutely loved about my job.
I loved the people I worked with. I loved the travelling that I was blessed to be able to do. I loved the experiences and growth opportunities.
But there was always this “gap”
This incongruence between my actions of going about my job, and the deep feelings that I was yearning for.
My core values were indeed what led me to move jobs often. More times than I can remember.
You see my version of freedom and adventure, were not being met. It’s just that simple.
You don’t have to quit your job, to live congruently with your values
I went off on Camino and discovered a whole new version of what my life might look like.
Under the circumstances of how I had designed my life, it made sense for me to pursue my audacious goals, by giving up my corporate role.
This doesn’t mean that in pursuit of your own core values, that you need to make life-changing decisions such as that.
It only means that you can start to make decisions in your current circumstances, that serve you. It also means that you have a deeper understanding, of why some decisions might take a little longer to arrive at.
Understanding ourselves is the best version of freedom most of us can relate to.
my three-step process to discover your core values
Ok, maybe I shouldn’t call it my process because it has aspects published in many articles.
However, my version is how I assessed my position when I was moved to changing my career. It feels like a natural process to derive your core values because that is what it is.
1. First, discover your memories around past decisions made and really get into your heart space.
How do you feel? What colours are you seeing? Are you smelling anything?
Usually, we can remember those times when we made a decision, but we felt like we were acting outside of ourselves. Our heart might have been telling us something very different to what we were doing.
Following our hearts often lead us to our core values.
2. Check what drives you, and check what people you listen to.
We naturally align with people who uphold our own core values.
My social media feed is full of online entrepreneurs, adventurers, pilgrims, pioneers, brave-hearts, conservationists, swimmers, loved ones, birthday parties, happiness, inspiring posts, and loads of dogs!
You can bet that I am not listening to the latest news because that goes directly against my top core values!
3. From those people you follow and listen to, write a list of what you love about them.
These are essentially your own core values.
When Jimmy Chin posts his adventures, I can literally feel my core temperature rising. Of course, I am far off from being an Alpinist, but his version of adventure excites my own version, and I am automatically inspired.
Lewis Pugh and his commitment to the environment and his passion for swimming sets my soul on fire.
My awesome group of online entrepreneurs spurs me into my own action, and the coaches I follow move me into a passion-driven business of my own.
The pilgrims that I follow make me believe in my own personal achievements, move me into a space of possibility and remind me of a like-minded community.
In words we write, from our thoughts, our core values are exposed to us. They appear like magical little pieces of information for us.
our lives are an endless series of decision making
This might seem like a glum thing to say, to end.
But it is meant to help us understand that this is what we do naturally. We make decisions.
Every day, every minute, every second.
Our thoughts become our actions, and our actions lead to results.
Can you imagine the immense joy of making decisions aligned with your core values?
Can you imagine the utter pleasure of the results that come from actioning those decisions?