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How to determine your personal core values

How to determine your personal core values

September 30, 2021

I sat at my desk feeling very overwhelmed with all the responsibilities I had now to face with the loss of my husband with three of my seven children still at home being homeschooled, no experience in the corporate world since I left my career as a Director of Marketing in the Criminal Justice field 12 years earlier to raise a large family alongside my husband. Putting a budget together and paying bills online was very foreign to me. I was comfortable feeding the working poor during a very difficult 2007-2008 crisis because I was in the background. I had to have my oldest son, Taylor, come and show me how to do it. The world had changed yet I had not changed to meet this new world where now I was alone and trying to figure out my next steps. My income was going to stop this year from the church, my husband was a pastor, facing an unknown future.

Taylor, my oldest, sat next to me laughing and I was terrified, I was afraid of driving, meeting people in person because I was no longer a wife, of facing my unknown future and the bill paying system. I loved paper and had a filing system. He said, “Enough of that mom, it’s time to put everything online.” He helped me set up a few accounts and like I taught him, he let me take over, I was shaking while doing this. He scrunched up every bill and threw them in the trash and anxiety set in. Later that dark night, I got up out of bed and took all those bills out, smoothed them then filed them. Old new habits are hard to die.

I had to ask myself, do I change or remain the same? I decided to do what I do best and rebuild my mission and reevaluate my core values now that I am single deciding to grow up and face my new reality which now included me being responsible financially. I talked about the ant in the last post, my slothfulness needed to turn into an ant without an overseer or captain.

What are core values?

Core values are the fundamental beliefs you have about your life or business. These values guide your behaviors, decisions, and actions and remind you what’s important to you and what you want more of in your life. When you know what’s important to you, you can live in alignment with those values. Many people do not know their own core values yet operate in them daily and is something you should understand and if not, grow in this area.

Why values are important.

Values are important because they drive our decisions on a daily basis and if you are not satisfied with how your life is, start with being honest with yourself in regards to what you truly value. Then you can make changes if you want to see a different outcome. You actually live daily by these values whether you know them or not. You might have good intentions but unless you understand your true core values, you won’t be able to change.

The two influencing books and people who have taught me how to understand my are the Bible, Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, and Dr. John D Martini.

Any past issues you will need to deal with, see if there is shame or guilt associated, I do believe you need to face those things, seek forgiveness or forgive. Ask yourself a few questions; what have I done, and do I truly have a personal conviction?

If what you do does not align with what you say, then there is a disconnect and that needs to be dealt with.

Each of us actually live by a separate set of values and it shows up in what we actually do, not what we say. There is a great statement which says, you can’t walk yourself out of a problem you behaved your way into. But some of the things we do are based on our current value system which can sometimes reveal that we are trying to please others. This is where hiding and lying come in to play. You might be deceiving yourself and can only change this if you are honest with who you really are, remember, who you are is what you do when no one is looking, this can be a great thing or a negative thing but embrace it and move into the direction of change.

Some things to consider honestly when you are trying to understand your current value system.

Where are you most disciplined?

What makes you jump out of bed in the morning?

What brings you the greatest joy and where you feel most fulfilled?

What is easy and a habit you have in place? What energizes you and you think, yes, I get to do that today? 

What do you think about all the time? 

What do you dream about? What do you talk about? What do you love learning about? How do you fill your space, where do you spend your money and what is fun to you? 

When we are living by someone else’s values we are minimizing ours. Most of the time we really don’t understand or know our own personal value system. We procrastinate when we are not operating within our personal values and are most unorganized in that space. It’s the same with company values. If I say with Nifty Package Co our values are one thing but those that work with me, vendors, staff or clients, see something other than those values, then I create mistrust to those around me and it is time those around me hold me accountable and I need to be willing to hear them and make appropriate changes.

Your goal is to learn about your own values and live in those highest values. When you do this, you inspire others by them in behaving with what you say. When you do this, you are energizing and inspiring others. But what if you are living by a wrong set of values are you are hurting those around you?

How do change your value system if it doesn’t align with what you want it to be? 

Be honest with yourself, embrace it, then change. Otherwise, you then try to fool others but you end up fooling yourself most of the time. Learning to build trust in yourself first is to start with self-daily. Small compromises can eventually lead to big failures. Think about what you do and who you say you are, those must line up. Daily inconsistent, falling short soft choices hurt our self-esteem but making and keeping promises first to yourself, then to others begins to build trust within yourself and then to others. Restoration of trust within yourself starts with small honest behaviors. For example, let’s say you want to get up early every day and walk or run 30 minutes before work or your day starts but every day you hit the snooze button and sleep away through the alarm, jumping out of bed running around to get out the door. This same thing happens daily, it’s a battle for you and disappoints yourself. But if you set the alarm for the exact time you want to get up and you actually do, you then create self-trust and makes you feel better. Consistently doing it over and over again creates a new habit. Thus, strengthening a new core value of health and discipline. Consistent trust building behavior changes your trajectory or goal.

Set a goal or make a promise then do it. 

Evaluate your values, make changes if necessary towards how you want your life to be and how you want it to look.

When I went through a sad divorce in my early 30’s, I had just read Stephen Covey’s book, The Seven Habits mentioned above (I read it about once a year or listen on audio still) and decided to take my values seriously. I was saying I was a Christian but did not live the life I professed. I had a lot of changing to do and started with if I were to die tomorrow, what would I want my 3 sons to say about me? But based on my inconsistent and very sinful behavior what would they really say? Then over the next many years, I changed consistently and for many years now, my values and behavior line up. I am not perfect but I evaluate and work on growing daily.

If you need help here, let me know!