Created: 06 June 2016
Unlock Your Personal Values
Each of us possesses innate values that are unique to us. Being aware of what your values are and more importantly ensuring you behave according to them will guide you when making decisions and enhance meaning experienced in both your work and personal lives.
But what are values? Are they the same as purpose?
Purpose is an overarching reason for existing that drives us daily, while values are an intrinsically held set of principles and behaviours that are are often unspoken, but act as robust infrastructure to help realise your purpose. Examples of values are honesty, integrity, kindness, compassion, commitment and reliability.
Why should I identify my personal values?
Often, disconnection between your values and daily behaviours can lead to feelings of anxiety, sense of loss, lack of motivation and not feeling like the best version of yourself. The more we are able to connect and act in line with our values the more meaning we experience. Michael A. Tompkins (2013) articulates this wonderfully identifying that living your values ‘motivates deep change, such as breaking free from anxiety’.
Additionally the more closely aligned your personal values are to the values of your place of work, the more fulfilment and performance you will experience. Many organisations have realised the importance of identifying the company’s values - a 2014 study by Great Place to Work® found ‘that a strong values-driven culture is critical to the success of high performance organisations.’ However it is the authentic manifestation of values through behaviours that enables such success; ‘the values need to be ‘lived’ throughout the organisation’. This applies to individual values too, as such it is really important to identify your personal values.
A few quick methods to begin to unearth your values:
- Write down the traits you are drawn to in friends.
- Write down a list of people you admire and which of their traits you respect (you may know them personally or they may be a public figure).
- Finally review these lists. Which values stand out? Do any values overlap?
- Write down 5 values from these lists that most resonated with you and consciously remind yourself of these this week.
Often, the attributes we admire in others act as a mirror to what our own values are.
With your values clearer and at the forefront of your consciousness, test them out this week. Do you feel more comfortable and more yourself? How has this exercise impacted your decision making? Are you able to live by these values at home and at work?
So now you know and can hold your head up high knowing you are behaving with your sincere values in mind. Embedding the essence of you in the workplace and home will mean you naturally shine, are more confident and fulfilled and the best part, you don’t even need to try.
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are” - Roy Disney
Written by Emma Masding
Emma has a management consulting and creative producer background and is fascinated by philosophies of life, positive psychology and personal development. Emma is combining her interests of applying well-being theories to practical life with a love of writing to blog for Yoke.
Tompkins, M.A. (2013) Anxiety and Avoidance: A Universal Treatment for Anxiety, Panic and Fear
Great Place to Work® (2014) Organisational Values. Are they worth the bother? How values can transform your business from good to great.