As we continue on our journey of making 2016 the year of INTENTION, one of the most important steps is figuring out how you want your life to look. Too often, we get caught up in material possessions, or think that a new job or new relationship will bring us happiness, only to achieve these and realize they weren’t what we wanted in the first place. It can be difficult to dig down deep and really identify what you want in life. Why? For many of us, it’s because we have not established our own personal value systems.
What is a value system? Unlike morals, which are defined by society, values are extremely personal beliefs of what is truly important in your life. Some may value status and respect while others value love and harmony. There are no RIGHT or WRONG values, they are simply the values that are already living in your heart and mind.
Whether we have identified them or not, our values affect how we think, act and ultimately feel. You know that icky feeling you sometimes get inside after you say or do something? Ever find it difficult to identify just why you’re feeling that way? It’s probably because you’ve violated one of your values and didn’t even realize it.
So how do you go about identifying your own personal values? The easiest way if you’ve never completed a values exercise before is to start with a sample list. You can find one on my website to print off and work with.
Take a first pass run through the list and circle about 10 or 15 that draw out a strong feeling for you, those that seem to tug at you as you read them. Be careful not to allow any “should” or “should not” thinking here. For example, if ‘Affluence’ jumps out at you, circle it! Don’t pass it by because other people may have been telling you that it’s selfish to value affluence. For values to work as a guide, they have to be true for you.
Now that you have that 10-15, really start thinking about each of them. Which stand out to you? Which just seem to fit in with how you want to live your life? Start crossing off values that don’t strongly resonate (it doesn’t mean you don’t still find them important, just that they aren’t crucial components to your life). Continue to think about what each value means to you and crossing off words until you’ve arrived at about five that you feel deeply matter to you.
Okay, so you’ve identified your five core values. Congratulations! But wait, you’re not done yet. Most people stop here. They say, “Alright, I know that I value love, honesty, communication, freedom and connection. I’m set!” However, to really put your values to work for you, you now need to ‘stack’ them. Stacking your values means arranging them from most to least important. This is crucial because we are often put in situations where two values are pitted against each other.
For example, you may be faced with the decision of whether or not to tell your spouse something that could hurt your relationship. If you know that your value of ‘honesty’ ranks higher than your value of ‘harmony’, the decision to tell him will be an easy one. To stack your values, compare one against the other and identify which one wins.
Using the above example, you would ask yourself:
“If I could be certain of complete honesty always, but it may not be very harmonious, or if I could have complete harmony and peace, but I would know that there isn’t much honesty, which would I choose?”
If you know that ‘honesty’ ranks higher for you than ‘harmony’, then your decision making just got a whole lot easier. Continue this process pitting each value against each other value until you have your 5 ranked in order of importance.
Once you have identified and stacked your values, you can start incorporating your newly defined system into your everyday life. You’ll be amazed at how difficult decisions have now become easy and how that ‘icky’ feeling begins to happen less and less. Putting this to work for you is an important step on your road to living a life of INTENTION!
Trish Cody has over 18 years of experience consulting with some of the world’s top Fortune 500 Companies. As a Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, Trish works with clients to uncover their core values and beliefs, understand how they are showing up in their behaviors and habits, and to learn a process of leading energy to naturally attract positivity and success. For more information, visit www.TrishCody.com.