When I first launched my coaching practice that initially focused on supporting people through various life transitions, I attracted a number of women with various physical ailments from lack of sensation to pain in different parts of their bodies. When I took them through an exercise to help them to clarify their top five core values, an interesting thing happened; for almost all of them a “light bulb” went on. They realized they were in a job or a relationship that was severely out of alignment with one or most of their top five core values.
So what are values and why are they important?
Values are the beliefs and principles that are at the core of our being. We learn them from our parents, from people who have had a significant impact on our lives, and from our life experiences. They “determine” our perceptions of and reactions to people, situations and events in our lives.
Personal values might include achievement, commitment, contribution, connection, integrity, or family. If you are a High Achieving Woman, it is important that you set goals and achieve them on a regular basis in order for you to feel good about yourself. If “contribution” is one of your core values, feeling that you are contributing and making a difference in the world positively affects your well-being.
Have you ever met someone and after having a short conversation with them felt uncomfortable? When someone steps on or pushes up against one of your core values, you may feel uncomfortable, or angry, or protective of another. For example, if “social justice” is important to you, when you see someone behaving disrespectfully to an individual from another cultural group, something fires inside you and you naturally want to stand up for the individual. Getting clear on your personal values helps you better understand yourself and your reactions to others.
Knowing your top five core values also assists with your life choices. If you choose a business partner who is all about competition and you value collaboration, over time this will bother you. If you value connection and are not able to openly communicate about feelings with a friend or partner, over time the relationship won’t grow stronger as you will feel something is missing or that you need more.
In summary, identifying your top five core values is critical to better understanding yourself and your reactions to certain individuals and situations. Using your core values to assist you in choosing a partner, career or workplace is essential to creating a life of health, happiness, true fulfillment and inner peace.
How have your core values influenced you and your choices? I welcome your comments below.