Uncovering Your Core Values

by: Bill Lee-Emery

Values are things that are important to you and as such are very powerful motivators. When you are clear on your values it is much easier to design goals that will work for you. On the other hand, you are likely to experience internal conflict if you create goals without awareness of, or in conflict with, your core values. In effect you will be going in two different directions and are likely to be split down the middle. Not pleasant.

This exercise can help you to find out what is really important to you and help you stay on track.

1. First take a piece of paper and draw a large circle. Call this your ‘time pie’.

Now divide it into segments according to how you use your time over an average week. Categories could include: family, work, social, exercise, community, entertainment, hobbies etc.

Let it represent how you spend your time. Be honest and as accurate as you can. OK, now put that piece of paper aside.

2. Now on a separate piece of paper, list about 20 or more things that are important to you in life. Write quickly and without editing. As soon as you think of something important jot it down. There is no right or wrong. If you get stuck, here is a list that can prompt you.

Authenticity
Balance
Commitment
Compassion
Concern for others
Creativity
Courage
Empathy
Excellence
Fairness
Faith
Family
Financial independence
Freedom
Friendship
Generosity
Genuineness
Happiness
Harmony
Health
Honesty
Humour
Influence
Integrity
Kindness
Knowledge
Loyalty
Learning
Openness
Perseverance
Power
Respect for others
Responsibility
Security
Serenity
Service to others

3. Now asterisk 10 of them.

From these 10 mark 5 that are the most important. This doesn’t mean you have to give up the others! However, it will help you to recognize your priorities.

Next number the values from 1 to 5, 1 being the most important.

4. Now compare this list with your time pie. Do your core values show up in any way? If not, you could be working against what is most important to you. It could be a good time to re-evaluate how and where you are spending your time. Talk to a coach to assist you to get back on track.

If they do show up, chances are you are having your pie and eating it also. Congratulations!

PS When you are setting your goals, have your top 5 values clearly visible. Ask yourself, ‘Does this goal allow the expression of a core value of mine?’

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