What Are Your Values?

What is so important about knowing your own values?

Your values are the things that are important to you in how you want to live your life. If you don’t know what you want, it is almost impossible to achieve it!

Being clear on your values can help you makes decisions, big and small. It can help give you a sense of direction and purpose. It can also give you a sense of well-being and increase your confidence in yourself.

Photo by Ricardo Annandale on Unsplash

Some years ago I made a long list of my values, I had about 10 of them, and I tried to follow them all. But I found that with so many values, it was hard to prioritise them. 

Recently I have been reading Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead   In there, she states that you should have only TWO.  That’s right ONLY TWO.  To quote her “if everything on the list is important …. It’s just a list of guzzy feel-good words”. In other words, if all your priorities are ‘top priority’, in fact, you are not setting priorities at all.

She also says you can group your values, identify the main ones – and have other values sitting underneath. So I had a think. It felt important to identify my values so that they apply both in my private life and in my business.

There are a few tools out there to find your values. This one for example.

In my case I let it all percolate and my vales arrived whilst I was having a shower. I wasn’t even deliberately thinking about it. The values I chose are Integrity and Kindness. It was a bit of a surprise to me – I had previously thought my highest values were health and authenticity. I realised that for me at least, health is part of kindness to myself, and authenticity is a subset of my integrity.

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

I’m curious What are yours?  I would love to hear how it goes for you.

So now I have my values – what difference does it make? I’m finding quite a lot, actually.  Here is a recent example.

I had a peer focusing appointment set up last weekend.  It’s often a bit of scrambled to get to that call  – for both of us  – but this time she didn’t show up at all ….  I got frustrated and annoyed, I messaged her.  Silence.  Frustration mounted.  I figured she had gone out the night before and had overslept. I noticed my impulses….. the desire to call her up and berate her(!)… Instead, I paused and asked myself. “What is the kindest thing I can do here, for her and for me?” and “If I call her, how would that conversation actually go if I do wake her up ?” Hmm, that’s a bad idea!! It wouldn’t be kind to either of us. 

Instead, I decided to get on with my life. I figured she will wake up at some point, but I was still feeling annoyed. So I completed my chores around the house. That already felt better. Now what? Where is she?  Wake Up!!   I decide that the kindest thing I could do for myself, – is to go out. I chose to go out for long enough to keep myself occupied, but not too long. I did want to rearrange that call with her.  So I did my grocery run much earlier in the day than usual. Sure enough, by the time I get back home, she has woken up and sent me a hugely apologetic message. Oddly, by then I wasn’t remotely upset with her. Like, what would be the point?!  In any case, it didn’t feel kind to either of us, and I want to keep my integrity in this relationship.  I called her to set up a new time, she was a bit surprised at how cool I was about it. To be honest – so was I!

I am marvelling that this simple act of following my two values has resulted in a very different outcome for me. I am calm and more confident in myself, and our relationship feels stronger. It’s a very different outcome than when I have felt let down by others in the past. Remarkable.

Two values. Why don’t you give it a go? If you want a list to get you thinking you can look over here   (Also from Brené Brown)

I’m curious What are yours?  I would love to hear how it goes for you.

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