What do all these words have in common? They are my core values, or the ones I’ve identified so far… it’s an ongoing discovery!
So why do I have them written at the front of my notebook? What do I use them for?
Your core values are the things that sum up what is truly important to you and what you stand for. When your values are being met, you feel grounded, energised and/or fulfilled. Being aware of what your values are can help to guide you towards making the right decisions in your career or wider life.
Your values will sub-consciously drive your reactions to different situations. Sometimes you just get that niggly uncomfortable feeling about something or someone that eats away at you. Being aware of what your values are can help you to identify why you feel like that and guide you to a particular decision or action. For me, just understanding why I feel that way, is often enough to help me to move forward.
My values guided me to build walking into my coaching offerings. As soon as I started working on this idea, I knew it was the right direction for my business. I could see the strong link to my values and I immediately felt more comfortable about what I was doing and why (and with that, came more self-confidence).
So how could understanding your core values help you?
Perhaps you have spent a long time wondering whether to make some sort of change to your career, in order to feel happier and less frustrated. But you’ve been struggling to identify what it is that you need to get that motivation back again, so you’re worried that you could go through a big change, and then still feel the same way.
Identifying your core values will help you to make more informed decisions about your career and life.
So where to start?
Take a few minutes to reflect on a time when you felt really motivated and happy at work. Write down the things that were happening, e.g. what were you working on, who were you working with, what parts you enjoyed the most, what skills were you using, what feedback did you get, what happened as a result of your work, etc. Keep writing things down, let it flow. Then look back at what you have written. What sort of themes are coming up?
Once you have identified some themes, take each in turn and ask yourself, “what was important to me about that?” Digging a bit deeper will help you to identify the value that could be at the heart of it.
A core value is normally a single word. Don’t worry if the word you come up with might mean different things to different people, as long as you know what it means to you. Take one of mine, for example – Energy. How you interpret what that means, and how I see it as one of my core values, could be quite different.
Helping people to discover their core values is a key part of coaching and something I really enjoy helping my clients with. If you want some help to identify yours, get in touch.