Discover Core Values in 6 Steps

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Photo Credit: Jamie In Bytown via Compfight cc

Your core values are the qualities you consider the most important in yourself or an organization.  They are what you believe in and look for in everything you do.  They are your guiding principles in your personal and professional life.  Look around you, the people you have surrounded yourself with likely share similar core values.  The business dictionary defines core values as a principle that guides an organization’s internal conduct as well as its relationship with the external world.  I find that my core values do not change much during the course of time except after life changing events, which for you maybe graduation, first child, marriage, divorce, retirement, death of a loved one.  All those events have significant impacts on how we view life.  I like to revisit my core values each year.  I have a reminder in my iPhone which chirps once a year and I re-look my core values and see if they are still true and clear.  Here AnnArbor.com list the statistical characteristics for defining core values:

  1. It has to be strongly held.
  2. It must be widely held.
  3. The value has to be stable over time.
  4. The value doesn’t vary much when we age, our level of education, and so forth.

Core values are important to define because they can guide you through planning your life or business.  Having your core values clearly defined will aid you in making the first steps in the planning process or making decisions as they arise.  Art of Manliness list the steps for discovering your core values:

  1. Go to that place where you can get away from the world, shut off your phone, lock the door, find a seat somewhere in nature that s relaxing and away from the daily grind.
  2. Grab writing utensils and something to sketch on.
  3. Think about what is really important to you.  These things can’t be luke warm.  Must be clear, usually they are the first things that come to mind.
  4. Write down everything that comes to your mind, don’t make any decisions yet whats more important than the other.
  5. If you have more than five core values begin dropping one at a time after you completed the list.  You can compare one to the other, which ever doesn’t stand up to the other then scratch it.
  6. Once you have five, list in order which is more important than the other.  This can be clearly defined by deciding which ones you would let go if one conflicted with the other.

Teddy Roosevelt’s core values were honesty, hard work, and justice.

My 2013 five core values were:

Purpose, Balance, Family, Wisdom, Adventure

I had a few different values in the beginning of 2012:

Knowledge, Health, Adventure, Family, Faith

I always am seeking knowledge and wisdom, very similar but a little different.  I realized that in the last year that I have the knowledge but apply it and being wise in my decisions or recommendations is really what I value.  Purpose became very important to me this year, I’ve struggled with this, what type of legacy do I want to leave behind when I take the journey to meet the creator of life.  What purpose does he have for me, what is my mission.  Balance replaced Health because I was having some health issues that dissolved late this year and I have the all clear, but now I seek balance in my daily activities, faith, family, profession, social endeavors and mind.  Family and Adventure stayed on but swapped, I married late in 2012 and I also have a child on the way, due in August.  Last year I looked deeply at faith along with my wife and which christian denomination best fit our family.  I was also baptized last year proclaiming my faith and becoming a member of the covenant.  I ordered this years list simply by what seemed common sense to me.  If I have no purpose in life, the rest will not follow, if there is no balance I cannot have time for my family, my family must come before all decisions, being wise is more important than having a little innocent fun, without wise decisions I won’t be having any fun.

Here I found a list of core values that can help if you’re having some trouble with generating ideas.

What core values did you come up with?  Leave a comment below and join the discussion.