Understanding Your Values

Understanding your values is a crucial early step in making changes in your life, making decisions, managing time effectively, understanding what stresses you, developing effective relationships with others and unlocking your motivation.

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What Is A Value?

In this context a value is something which you place a high priority on and represents what is important to you in your life. Some examples of values you may hold could include achievement, caring for others, concern for the environment, control or being yourself.

We all have different sets of values which determine our behaviour. For example if you have a high caring value you are more likely to prioritize towards activities that allow you to care for others and you are more likely to feel fulfilled in doing so. Taking this same example, if you are not able to act in a way that allows you to fulfil your caring value, whether at home or in work then you are likely to feel unhappy or even stressed.

When I was first introduced to the concept of understanding your values I was blown away to discover the influence values had on my own life. This newfound understanding helped me to account for why trying to set up a joint business with my husband some years ago didn’t work for me (we have different value sets and the business proposition itself, while suiting my husband, demanded a way of working which compromised my own values), it was responsible for helping to determine my career as a coach (my business allows me to fulfil many of my personal values), it helps me better recognize and respect the differences in others and I always use my values as a basis for making important decisions in my life.

So, if you are wondering why you don't seem to be able to make changes in your life, manage time effectively or keep to yet another New Year resolution you may want to ask yourself the role that your values is playing. Perhaps your goal or intended action just isn’t in line with your priority values. If you are struggling with a particular relationship in your life you might want to consider the role your values and those of the other person have in this relationship.

If any of these examples apply to you then spending some time understanding your values could be time well spent and some coaches specialise in spending time at the outset of your relationship to help you to clarify and understand your values. 

Further Reading:

Finding True North: Discover Your Values, Enrich Your Life by M. Henderson (Paperback - Feb 2004) 

What Matters Most : The Power of Living Your Values by Hyrum W. Smith (Paperback - 29 Oct 2001)

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard (Paperback - 1 Sep 2006)

Leading Through Values by M. Henderson, Shar Henderson, and Douglas Thompson (Paperback - May 2006)

See Also:-

Finding True North (book review)
Let My People Go Surfing (book review)
Leading through Values (book review)
Understanding Your Beliefs
Can You Coach Yourself?
Personal Development Articles
Personal Development Exercises

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