Use This to Identify Your Core Values

—video transcript—

When you’re facing a big decision or even a small consideration that can help you identify an intention for your life, I recommend that you visit or revisit your core values.

Core values serve a role much like a GPS if you’re on a trip. That global positioning system—it helps you identify your direction and keep going in that direction when other things may grab your attention and you’re considering a detour. I share about core goals as one of my core principles in what I call the Simply Successful Blueprint. And when I talk about something being “simply successful,” I’m not trying to oversimplify anything; I’m just trying to give myself and you tools to make decision making very basic, not complex. Because in the moment, if we’re deciding things and we haven’t thought about things before and we don’t have our values in place, we can be so swayed by circumstances and other people’s opinions. So, a big part of honing decision making skills for any scope of opportunity in life is to get in line with your core values.

FYI, I have another blogcast on this topic, and I will share a link to that HERE. It makes it simple for you to revisit that foundational information in conjunction with what I’m about to share.

I have learned in sharing the concept of core values with clients and contacts in my life who are seeking insight, that there are some questions about how we even identify what our core values are. It can be a bit challenging to know what is just a want, something we just wanna have in the moment, versus something that is a true value that represents a long-term desire. So, I’ve created a framework to help you and help me be clear about what core values are. And to do this, I created an acronym that is a word, “values” in itself, and I’m gonna walk you through that here.

V, they’re vital.
A, they’re actionable.
L they are long term.
U, they’re unique.
E, energizing
S, soul centered.

So let me take a little bit of a deep dive on each of those points to help you understand where I’m going with these thoughts and why they can be helpful to you if applied.

So, V vital: They are so important to you that if you’re considering it and you’re thinking about deleting it from the list, that would seem like a total mistake. It means it’s vital to you and who you are.

Actionable. Your values very frequently aligned with things that lead you to take action in a certain way. They don’t just sit on a shelf. They’re part of where you’re going and what you’re doing in life. They’re actionable.

Long-term. They’re gonna be with you now. They’ve probably been with you in the past, and they are definitely going with you into the future. And they’re not immediate or temporary in scope. They are here for the haul, long term.

Unique. They’re true to you. They aren’t constrained by culture or family or your schooling or your socioeconomic status. They are completely from you and maybe completely off script from what your society and your corner of the universe typically goes towards. You aren’t socialized for a certain thing and yet it calls to you. It means something to you. Unique,

Energizing. When you think about a value, it lights you up, it sparks you. I speak frequently about designing a life that sparks you. And that is a very important phrase for which I’ve chosen the words carefully because a life that is lived in design of the spark keeps you ignited, keeps you fueled, brightens you. There’s a difference in this energizing concept than identifying something that matters to you. Because matter can be weighty and heavy and feel like a deep responsibility or obligation that can actually wear you down. So I always invite you to look to the spark, look to what brings you energy and a a value will certainly do that for you.

Soul-centered: And then the S of values is soul-centered. And I gotta admit I may change that S down the road, but I feel pretty good about using S as soul-centered. No matter who you are, what you believe, what your faith construct may be in your life or lack of religious faith, you know that soul-centered and what you may believe about whether or not we have souls—no matter what your stance, there’s no doubt that we all understand that the soul is a term that reflects our pure essence, who we really, really are. And I’ve already addressed that in some of the other points. But that value will land in that place and truly be centered in the soul, the core of who you are before the world got its hands on you before you signed up for the script that somebody else envisioned for your life. Soul-centered will help you get back, as do all the other points that I’ve just shared for me.

Maybe I can give an example. So…one of my values is self-advocacy. In a world in which a lot of people wanna have opinions and input and will pull you one direction or the other, I have identified as a value for myself self-advocacy, and that comes from my goal to love myself, like my very best friend loves me. So if I’m loving myself in that way, self-advocacy will always be a core value for who I am. And it is vital at this point and stage in my life. I acknowledge that that has to be there to guide and protect me on the path that I am choosing for the life I’m designing that sparks me. Self-advocacy is actionable. When I keep that core value front of mind, I’m more awake in certain moments when opportunities come my way for which I feel I need to be paid at a certain level or someone wants some of my time and it’s not a reciprocal exchange. I can draw on my value of self-advocacy to make decisions that support me as a human being long term. Certainly the advocacy for myself is helping me look well beyond the moment and maybe something that might be ego-driven or just kind of fun or a temporary want—wake me up and get me to look long term.

It’s unique. I don’t know many people who include this on their list of values and that is completely unimportant and irrelevant to me. This was something I identified for myself, knowing myself and knowing how I’m evolving as a human being. This made the list completely unique to me. And certainly it energizes me. I’m so sparked by the idea that I get to speak up for myself in a positive, healthy way, not in a defensive way. It’s in a way that generates excitement and connection and opportunities to move forward meaningfully. And certainly it’s soul-centered. It gets to the true me. It’s me protecting the true me again in that healthy way, knowing that I have all the best intention or myself.

So there’s just one example of how V A L U E S values helps me identify and then stay connected with one of my core values.

Importantly, I have found that some people, in trying to create a values list. hit a wall and hit that wall rather quickly. My take on what might be going on, if you sit down and try and create a values list, a core values list that can serve as your GPS as you’re navigating life, may be that you are in a state of mental clutter and that mental clutter may be associated with another kind of clutter, be it physical clutter in the spaces in which you live. Relationship clutter in which you are constantly blocked and burdened by interactions and situations with other people in your life that are taking your mental capacity and kind of doing a brain drain. It may be digital clutter. Perhaps you are aware I digitally decluttered my life many years ago and, in doing so— surprisingly, I freed up mental space and an abundance of time that allowed me to pour energy elsewhere that I used to expend on just trying to keep up with email and trying to get myself to not scroll on social media too much. So if you’re having trouble creating a values list, getting in touch with your core values, you may be facing some kind of clutter that is resulting in mental clutter and lack of concentrated and meaningful time for you to really discern what your values are.

Another reality, if you’re having trouble creating a values list, may be that you have unresolved trauma. I trained in trauma-informed coaching and I sought that training to add to my knowledge and know-how in working and sharing with you because I saw early on in my career in the personal development space that many people are blocked because of things they’re carrying deep inside. These things can be big and dramatic and truly live up to what we all presume to be trauma with a capital T. Some of these things may be more surprising in terms of their trauma effect on our biology and our psychology, but they are trauma nonetheless. And I identified clients out of the gate that, after a season of great progress in life coaching and personal development, often related to their career paths, that we would hit a wall. And they would not necessarily regress, but they couldn’t progress forward because, as we got deeper into who they are, what they were going for, issues related to unresolved trauma would bubble up and needed to be addressed.

So I share that with you because a values list can often, if you are unblocked, truly just spring out of you. And if anything, you’ll need to revisit and trim it down and edit it so it’s a clear list that you can turn to with expediency and find your GPS in any given moment. But if you are mentally cluttered or you are facing unresolved trauma, creating a values list can be elusive. This is why I’m here and so many other people in this space are out there ready to serve as a coach, as a guide to help you get through—with your abundant intelligence and personal strength—that you just need to identify and tap into, grow beyond.

And certainly in some cases, that the torch needs to be handed off to a therapist to help you. And I would certainly always be there to ethically and professionally advise should I surmise that’s the situation.

Nonetheless, wherever you are, I encourage you to create your core values list. I can attest that having a core values list has served me so well. I strongly believe that when we decide in advance, all our decisions become more simple because in the moment the decision is actually already made. And how do we make decisions in advance? We get in touch with our core values so that we can project ahead how we would support our core values and be true to our core values when a decision has to be made, now or in the future. It’s a wonderful, wonderful tool to have in your toolkit as you are progressing as a human being.

Thank you for being here and taking in all these ideas and this information.
I value so deeply the opportunity to share it with you.

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