Consciously choosing the values you want to shape your life and then taking steps to base your actions on your values leads to joy, contentment, and feelings of well-being.
Facing A Choice
It was date night for Martha and her husband and she had been looking forward to it all week; an evening when they could pay attention to each other and re-connect. But at 4:00 PM, her boss came to her with a problem that needed her attention. If she resolved this issue, it would be a feather in her cap and add to her chances for a promotion.
David has the opportunity to take an online class, paid for by his company, that would improve a key skill. But the class is every Saturday morning for two months – the same time he usually reserves for his two young children.
Allen got a substantial raise. He is having a difficult time choosing between increasing his contribution to his retirement account or buying a new car he’s had his eye on for a while.
We are faced with decisions every day. And occasionally they are hard ones to make. It helps to consider our values when we make the hard choices. Thus it is useful to know what our values are.
Values – A Definition
Values are principles or qualities that we deem as worthy and desirable. They represent behaviors and activities that bring us joy, contentment, and feelings of well-being when we engage in them. A value is a feeling, a belief or a behavior that you are naturally drawn to – principles that you consider necessary to a well-lived life. Thomas Leonard, the “father” of life coaching, suggests we see values as a theme by which we live. [Leonard]
How Did You Get Yours?
Our values initially came from parents, teachers, and other adults in our young lives. We saw the way our parents lived and we adopted those values. We observed what behaviors our teachers and other authority figures rewarded and the behaviors they punished. And we were immersed in our local culture and absorbed values from there.
When we were young, we incorporated the values we encountered in these various ways without thinking about them too much. And some of us still hold those values we learned in childhood, never stopping to consciously decide which ones are serving us and which ones may not be that helpful in our current conditions.
Therefore it is often helpful to consider or re-consider what values we are living out through our behavior.
Choosing Your Values
How would your life be different if you chose the values you live by? What if you went through an exercise to consider and choose values that you want to live out? What new meanings might you discover? How would knowing your values help you in deciding on the best behavior in a specific situation?
There are a number of benefits to choosing the values you want. [6 Steps]
Your begin to live on purpose – you know what is important to you and you can choose to live in ways that reflect that. You can use this knowledge to guide your behavior. [6 Steps]
Knowing your values helps in decision making. When you are faced with a choice, you know what matters to you. [6 Steps] You may also experience increased confidence and a feeling of stability. You know what you want and you know what’s important to you. [6 Steps]
Sometimes the choice in a given situation is between two of your Valid Values. That’s why it’s good to prioritize your list of values so you know what is your most important value, your next most important, and so forth.
A Values Exercise
TheExceleratedLife.com contains a couple of resources if you want help in defining your Valid Values.
- The Valid Values Excelerator is an extensive exercise that leads you through the steps of identifying your values, then gradually narrowing the selection until you have your top four or five – your Valid Values. Then you look at where you are expressing these values in your life and where you may not be expressing them and the results this is having for you.
- Excelerator JumpStart – Valid Values contains steps you can take right now to begin defining and living out your Valid Values. These are short, quick actions intended to give you a jump start for this step in creating your Excelerated Life.
What If You Lived According To Your Valid Values?
“Life presents an endless series of decisions, large and small, that require you to make difficult choices. While many factors are involved, the critical factor in deciding may be your core values.” [Selig] How might your life be different if you consciously chose your values and then deliberately chose actions that honored them?
Turn Values Into Behaviors.
Here is an exercise to turn your values into behaviors. [Sands] List your Valid Values in priority order, then write three short sentences that describe behaviors that demonstrate the value. As an example, here are my top 3 Valid Values and behaviors that help me live them out.
o I do what I say I will do.
o My word is my bond.
o I live in congruence with my Valid Values.
o I give my family unconditional love.|
o I provide and care for my family.
o I make time to listen and connect with my family.
Health + vitality
o I get 7 or more hours of sleep each night.
o I aim for 30+ minutes of exercise twice a day.
o I eat mostly whole foods and avoid sugar.
Living In Harmony With Your Values
Values are principles or qualities we deem as worthy or desirable. They represent activities and behaviors that, when we engage in them, bring us joy, contentment, and feelings of well-being. If you want to know what you value, look at how you spend your time and energy.
If you are feeling out of touch or disconnected, you may not be living out of your values. When your life is in congruence with your Valid Values — the principles you deem as important and desirable — you feel in harmony and balanced. And that is living the Excelerated Life™!
Excelerated Values™ – defining and living your Valid Values – is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being and a life of meaning, purpose and service.
“6 Steps to Discover Your Core Values.” Indeed Career Development. Indeed, December 12, 2019. Web. June 23, 2020.
Leonard, Thomas. The 28 Laws Of Attraction. New York: Scribner, 1998.
Sands, Ben. “How To Discover Your Personal Core Values (And Why You Must!).” Sands Leadership. Sands Leadership, . Web. June 23, 2020.
Selig, Meg. “6 Ways to Discover and Choose Your Core Values.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, November 4, 2018. Web. June 23, 2020.