Sticking to Your Values
Everyone has different values. Your values probably differ from someone else’s in at least a few ways. We share some basic ideals like trust, kindness, and honesty. We may not all have them in the same order and there are loads more values than those.
Have you ever considered what exactly your values are and if you’re living up to them? When you live according to your deepest values, you find life feels balanced for you, in sync. If not, there’s an unrest. Something doesn’t sit right. Ultimately, you’re being dishonest with yourself if you value one thing but are living differently.
So, how can you make sure you’re doing this right? How can you measure and order your own values and make sure you’re living with integrity?
We have a way. Keep reading.
How to Determine Your Values
Each person has a unique view of the world. While our perspectives may be similar, we have nuances that set our views apart from others.
To define your values, we have a simple exercise to help you organize your thoughts and determine what you value and how much you value it.
Ready to try it?
The Values Worksheet
All you need to do is start listing off what you value in any particular order. As you go, you’ll find some items are more or less valuable to you than others. You can rearrange them as you like.
To make things even easier, you can use a Values Worksheet like the one below. Start reading through and marking the things that are most valued by you. From there, you can start narrowing it down and putting the smaller list in order. It’s okay if some things tie.
Core Values List from Leslie Boyd.
It’s one thing to say you value something most, say maybe communication or compassion. Now it’s time to look at what’s happening in your life and see if you’re living that value.
Jack and his coworker Mike have been partners on rides for five years, but Jack is thinking of transferring out. It’s not Mike’s fault, but he just isn’t happy in his department. He isn’t telling Mike yet because he’s unsure of what will happen and doesn’t want to cause conflict. He’s probably going to wait until he gives his notice.
Jack is also taking coaching sessions with FRC which helped him determine what he wants to do. In his next session, his coach gives him a Values Worksheet. Jack values communication and his coach sticks him with the following question, “Are you putting communication first in your relationship with Mike?”
Jack hesitates because this makes him realize he isn’t. He thinks for a moment and decides communication is still important and he needs to talk to Mike about his transfer plans. He knows Mike deserves to know first. Jack tells his coach his thoughts and plan. He knows he will need to report back in the next session.
Emily is a supervisor and is particularly stressed in her department lately. Staff is short and shifts aren’t getting picked up. She knows she needs to start mandating overtime. One person in particular almost never picks up shifts and it’s someone Emily doesn’t get along with. She calls Bret into her office and plans to demand he take at least two more shifts that pay period.
All fired up, she asks him what’s keeping him from picking up shifts. Nervously, he starts to tell her about his family situation, the kids, and doctor visits; he’s a single parent and his parents are getting old. She knows some of this so she knows he’s not lying. Then she looks at a plaque on her wall.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~ Dalai Lama
Emily always values compassion and this makes her stop and think. Then, she changes her approach.
They talk for a while as she listens more intently and they begin to work out shifts he can take going forward that won’t interfere with the care of his kids.
A More Satisfying Life Path
Knowing your values is the first step to unlocking a more satisfying life path. Those who value success will work harder. Those who value family will spend more time with them. You can value both but it must balance or one falls short. When our values are not reflected in how we live, deep inside we feel unrest, a dissatisfaction that must be faced.
Take the time to learn your values and ask yourself the hard questions. Are you living your values? Is the path you’re on reflecting your values? If not, it’s time to reevaluate. If so, you’re already on the path to a satisfying life.
Your turn. What do you value?