Getting clear on your values will provide you with an important anchor and give you a deeper sense of ease as you navigate the complicated choices of work, life and everything in between. Here are 6 Tips to Getting Clear on Your Values:
1. Find a quiet place
To begin with, it’s best to do this Values exercise when you have at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted time, perhaps in the evening. Find a quiet space, download and print the values sheet and have a pen ready.
2. Trust your body
As you choose your top values, try to listen to your body rather than your mind. Perhaps there is a word that you think you should value, but it feels hollow. Go with your gut feeling, choose the words that make your body feel light and that resonate on a deeper level.
3. Create space
Once you’ve chosen your initial top values, take a break. Go for a run, sleep on it, get some space. Then come back to your list a few days later and make sure these values still resonate. Be open. Do a final cut and narrow it down to your top ten. After you finalize your core values, it’s important to keep them top of mind. Each morning, think of your top values before getting out of bed and say to yourself “Today, I’m going to make choices aligned with my values of xxxx (list each value).”
4. Actual vs. Aspirational
Many people ask me; “Should I circle what my values are today based on the choices I’ve made, or choose the values I want more of in my life, values that are more aspirational?” My suggestion is to go with what feels good in your body and perhaps lean more towards the aspirational. If what you would like doesn’t reflect how you’re currently living, that’s a great sign you may be ready for change. Identifying the gap between your actual vs. aspirational values can help point you in the direction of where you want to go next.
After you finalize your core values, it’s important to keep them top of mind. Each morning, think of your top values before getting out of bed and say to yourself “Today, I’m going to make choices aligned with my values of xxx.” Throughout the day, anytime you remember, come back to your list of core values. You may even want to write them on a sticky note and post it on your computer or desk. If you notice yourself feeling guilty about a choice you’ve made, re-focus and come back to your values.
6. Take Action
In order to strengthen your values, it is critical that you take action by making choices aligned with these values. It’s not enough to simply identify your values by circling them on this sheet, you must also take action. Think of one action step you can take this week that is aligned with one of your top values. Maybe it’s making time for a friend in need, or blocking out your schedule for a yoga class, or spending extra time on a specific project at work. Whatever it is, create the time and space to make your values a reality.
Most importantly, remember that whenever you make a choice that is aligned with your values, it will lead to greater authenticity, connection and joy in your life.
Let your values lead you and you can’t go wrong. Enjoy!