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What are your values?

Sun rising over a sandy beach with waves lapping and birds flying.

There’s no beating around the bush, I’m going to dive straight in with a definition of a value taken from my coaching study material written by Nick Bolton:

‘It is important to realise that a value is neither morally good, nor bad. It is not something to be judged.

Rather, a value is something that is intrinsic to what somebody feels to be fundamentally important in their life. It drives their actions and choices, their feelings of satisfaction about where they are in life, and their relationship with others.’

If you’ve ever undertaken an exercise to identify your top values, you may feel similarly to me: a long list of values can feel a little nebulous. 

Usually you are required to pick 10 which can be hard – it’s either too many or too few!  

Then there’s the meaning of each word.  

A value is deeply personal and for each of us a word may conjure up something slightly different, so what exactly does the word mean as a value?  This can put us off our values seeking stride. 

Although ultimately it’s about the right fit for us, it isn’t easy to uncover all on our lonesome. 

It’s hard to recognise that with which we live all day long.

Don’t let this put you off.

This quest is worth pursuing; shedding light on your values can help you understand why you may not be happy with certain situations in your life or why something might just be feeling off.  

Conversely it may explain why something ticks all the boxes, all of which helps you become more aware and intentional when making future choices.

This is essential information to uncover when figuring out what to do next in life – values are part of what I like to call your hidden treasure.

There’s an easier way to discover your values.

In the early stages of working with clients, we uncover values (as well as strengths and skills) through story-telling. I can spot patterns, words used, feelings expressed that point to them and I reflect these back.

I find it far easier to identify values for others than for myself.

So, in the spirit of ease, let me share an additional tool I use with clients that will take you only 10 minutes to complete (and it’s free!): the values assessment put together by the Barrett Values Centre.

Once completed you will be emailed a pdf of your results with explanations. There are also some questions to help you reflect on the values identified.

But of course, I have my own questions to ask 😊:

  • What is important about each value you have identified?
  • Where in your life can you see how your values have influenced your choices?
  • Where are your values missing in your life?
  • What effect is this having on you?
  • How would you like to use this new knowledge about your values?

Values can and will change over time. 

You probably don’t have the same list as 10 years ago and neither will you in 10 years’ time. 

This is absolutely normal and is representative of your growth.

The key is to tune into your values every now and then so you can use the knowledge and understanding to empower your choices.

Now you’ve undertaken this exercise, are you able to choose your top 3 values? 

Mine are: having fun, connection and space.

Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash