Core Values

Maybe you’re tired of following the crowd like a lost sheep.
Maybe you’re tired of feeling guilty.
Maybe you’re wondering if this is all there is.
Maybe you’re just tired.
Maybe you’re wondering why you do what you do. (‘Cause I want to is not an answer.)
Maybe you just need to know your Core Values… those things you hold closest to yourself and are yours alone.
Knowing what you stand for so you can make choices that make sense is a big deal. Giving your life purpose and direction… intentionally moving yourself toward your goals is a big deal. Knowing who you really are (instead of believing what other people think you are) is a big deal.
Figuring this stuff out is not easy. It’s a task many ignore because it’s not magic where you get to wave your little wooden wand and everything will be better. In this society, there is an expectation that instant gratification is somehow better. That most things can be accomplished with little work. That figuring out who you are involves no time, effort, digging, exploring and making conscious well thought decisions.
There are myriad people who will sell you a quick fix; snake oil in a bottle. There are many more people who set goals, write affirmations, make beautiful, art worthy vision boards and ultimately skip the most important part why.
Have you ever wondered why you do or want certain things?

What Are Core Values?

People who teach and coach talk a lot about being in alignment with your values, knowing who you are and living authentically. They talk about it a lot. They’re pretty emphatic about it, honestly. And there is good reason.
Core Values play a huge role in every area of your life; career, business, family, relationships… everything. It’s like gravity… whether you believe it exists or not, it will still affect you. And, whether you choose to believe it or not, it will still affect you when you jump out of a plane without a parachute. Core Values are like that. They will affect you.
There are plenty of people who can list what is of value to them and still not know their core values. So? Knowing your Core Values gives you the opportunity to weigh the importance of actions and events.
This is important? Yes it is.
Is it more important to by a new pair of shoes or feed your children healthy food? Is it more important to have a boat or a house for your family? You might be surprised how many choose the shoes or the boat. While they may feel good for a moment, in the long term I doubt they’ll find the decision all that satisfying and they still need food and a house.
The happiness of your child does not carry the same weight as buying the shoes or eating chocolate cake whenever you want or showing off your new boat to friends.
Your values carry weight and what is really important to you has value. If you don’t know what those values are and what they mean to you, you may well be one of those people who chooses the shoes or boat simply because you think it’s what you want. What you are really getting is a momentary hit of pleasure that will likely have negative consequences later… with feelings of guilt… and inadequacy… and the underlying question, “Why did I do that?” 

Do You Want to Play a Game?

All you need to do is agree or disagree with the statements below. Just think about them for a few seconds first. Can I sit on the fence? Nope. It’s my game; my rules. You have to make a choice.
Do you agree or disagree with the following statements:
·             It’s okay to go to bed without having brushed your teeth.
·             Same sex marriages should be legal in every country worldwide.
·             It’s totally acceptable to pick your nose in a public place.
·             Life should mean life with regard to a prison sentence.
·             An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth.
·             Eye contact must be made at all times.
·             Money doesn’t buy happiness.
·             All politicians are liars.
·             All religions cause wars.
·             It’s survival of the fittest.

Whether you agreed or disagreed will depend entirely on your value system. Although it may feel like you made the choice that may not be the whole truth. Our values are a little like an internal navigation system; guiding us and leading us whether we know what they are or not; like internal gravity.
Even as you read through this exercise, your internal rating system is using your values to judge the usefulness of this article.
At this point, if you are scoffing at this article and huffing and puffing about how it is useless drivel and I already know plenty, thank you very much, then there is nothing I can do to help. You’re done. Go back to the sports scores and the shopping channel and buying shoes and racing around in your motor boat. I can’t help you until you choose to help yourself.

More Stuff Please

Core Values are a system in perfect working order; working even now as you read this. They are the central headquarters of how you choose and what you decide; how you behave &  how you act.
Core values underpin how you live your life. They are who you are and they assist you to answer “who am I”. They are unspoken rules, and conditions which you have agreed to years ago and which you ultimately live by. Whether or not you are consciously aware of them is irrelevant. They are the measuring stick of what you do, what you believe as the truth and they are the cause of what your life looks like.
You may find when they are being challenged by others, you’ll defend your values. You’ll stick by them. Why? Because they are your identity; not part of your identity… they are your identity. They are you.
You’ll look around (sometimes unconsciously) to seek evidence that your values are the right ones. It is not a matter of right or wrong. It is a matter of feeling they are right.
Where Do They Come From?
Some of it is upbringing. Some of it is social. Some is handed down from ancestors. Some is political or social. Some is how you were raised, what you experienced and even where you were raised. Most of your Core Values grew over time. Some were there when you were born. (Being healthy is a good example of a value since birth.) You will have learned values from what was acceptable or not in your schools, playground, work places, home life and on and on.
You will have placed a value base on almost every area of your life.

Another Game

Try these questions:
·             How do you feel about your name?
·             Where were you born? How has that shaped you?
·             Where did you grow up? How do you feel about it today?
·             What did your parents (main care givers) teach you?
·             What sex are you? How do you feel about that?
·             What behaviour do not you tolerate in others?
·             And do you tolerate it with your closest family?
·             What did your peers teach you about life at age 10?

See, you could be here forever.
You’ll have values I’ll find do not fit me and vice versa. Of course we may share a few. And what if your core values are crap? They won’t be crap to you. How could they? They are yours, nobody can tell you what you place value on.
What’s the Difference Between Core Values and Values?
They are deeper... much deeper. Finding them or identifying them isn’t too hard. Look for what triggers a very strong emotion in you (anger, love, hate, jealousy) there will probably be a link to a core value wrapped up there (the workbook I will publish in a day or so will help).
What about your life, career, business?
I believe knowing your core values helps you make better decisions, better choices. They are your guide, your map and compass. And when you are aware of them you can take back the helm in steering your life.
  • If one of your core values is authenticity, how would you feel working in an environment where everyone wears masks, back stabs, gossips and comments?
  • If another was family time, how would you feel if you worked in environment where it was expected you would work late, put in extra hours, work overtime?
  • How about if one of your core values was to be treated with respect and dignity, and yet your boss was a tyrant a belittler, an aggressive monster, or your partner ignored you on a regular basis?
  • Perhaps one of your values is independence and freedom, how do you feel when someone makes decisions (even when it’s well meant) about your life without your consent?
  • Maybe one of your core values is honesty and integrity, what happens when you find someone has been lying to you?
Core Values do matter.
To live a life 24/7 where you are not ‘in alignment’ with your core values is challenging… and more harmful to yourself than you know.
Knowledge is power.
Discover your core values. Know them, learn from them, embrace the ones that serve you and move away from the ones that do not serve. They will show you why you behave and act in certain ways. They will help you manage conflict. They will help you see other people more clearly. They will shed light on what really matters to you. They will explain to you why you feel what you feel and do what you do.
They will help clear your mind of clutter and feel more confident.

When you are working through the workbook, you can do it alone and my suggestion will be to do it with someone else. A coach helps tremendously as does a fellow “seeker”. You may feel like working through it alone. That’s fine. Just know that in my experience, having another person to bounce your ideas off of seems to help.