How to Figure out your Values
Figuring out your values is a fundamental step towards living a fulfilling life. Values are your beliefs that motivate your attitude and your actions.
Have you ever worked on something that you didn’t believe in? It’s the most exhausting thing in the world. It sucks up your energy.
When you shift your focus to something you do believe in, you can feel it energize you.
Knowing your values is key to deciding what you want to spend your time and energy on. It’s the foundation for designing your life.
We’ve created a 5-step exercise that helps you figure out your personal values.
5 Step Exercise: How to Figure out your Values
Begin with a notepad, journal, or note-taking app.
This process takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Now, pause and take a few deep breaths.
The only thing you have to do for the next 30 minutes is complete this exercise. All other distractions can wait. Focusing on the task at hand is how you give yourself the best shot at succeeding.
STEP 1: Begin with an Open Mind
You have never done this particular exercise at this point in your life. That is a fact. Now act as if this is the first time you are doing this.
The mind of a beginner is the first step to embark on a creative, personal development process.
You are the creator. Becoming aware of your values is personal development. Remember, the goal of this exercise is to design your own life.
Pause. And vow to keep an open mind.
Step 1 complete.
STEP 2: Model your Values after Others
Modeling is one of life’s great shortcuts. It’s why records are constantly getting broken. It’s how this generation is wealthier than the last generation. When someone paves the road it’s always much easier for the people behind them.
The best way to discover your own personal values is to start by looking at the values of people who have the things that you want. This is called Modeling and it’s the quickest way to achieve a desired result.
We’re going to use the example of Tony Robbins. Mr. Robbins is a Motivational Coach, Business Tycoon, and Philanthropist. Most importantly he’s happy and has designed a fulfilling life.
So, what are Tony Robbins Values?
Health/Vitality is Mr. Robbins #1 value.
For some people, Love/warmth may be more important than their health. And that’s okay. Knowing that is the most important part. This helps us design the other aspects into our life. Which leads to overall fulfillment.
To see a more extensive list of values, Scott Jefferey has put together a comprehensive list here.
Step 2 complete. Take a deep breath.
STEP 3: Write down your list of Values
This is a quick and dirty process. There’s no way of knowing where your values are going to fall on the list until you put them to the test. The point is to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
We have compiled a list of questions that can help you discover what your personal values are.
Begin by writing down the question in your notepad. Then write down your best answer. Don’t spend too much time getting caught up on the perfect answer. You can always circle back to these questions.
- Exciting Experiences
Consider a meaningful moment—a peak experience that stands out.
What was happening to you?
Which values were you honoring at this time?
- Suppressed Values
Now, go in the opposite direction; consider a time when you got angry, frustrated, or upset.
What was going on? What were you feeling? Now flip those feelings around.
Which value is being suppressed?
- Code of Conduct
What’s most important in your life? Beyond your basic human needs, what must you have in your life to experience fulfillment?
Creative self-expression? A strong level of health and vitality? A sense of excitement and adventure? Surrounded by beauty? Always learning?
What are the personal values you must honor or you won’t feel true to yourself?
- How would you like to be remembered?
When you’re not around, what would you like people to say about you? That you’re trustworthy? Funny? Motivational? Think about what the biggest compliment would be.
- What change would you like to see in the world?
Imagine you had the resources to fix world problems. What would you start working on?
Based on these questions – write down 5 of your top values. If you have more than 5 and can’t choose, that’s okay, add as many as you’d like.
STEP 4: Why are these Values Important to you
Next to your values – write down why it is important to you.
Here’s an example;
Health is most important to me because with my auto-immune system, if I don’t eat a healthy diet, the inflammation paralyzes my back. This provides excruciating pain and I’m not able to get out of bed.
STEP 5: Organizing your Values
Put your values in a safe place and label them when you are finished. This place should be easily accessible.
You will need to access these values for the next section in Designing your Life: How to Set
Figuring out your values is a fundamental step towards living a fulfilling life. Well done.