“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I posted this quote on Instagram yesterday because I thought it is a great reminder when it comes to aligning yourself with your Core Values.

Why do we need to define our Core Values? Defining our Core Values helps to give us consistency in our lives. I originally wrote this article for people learning about web design and branding, so feel free to use it for that as well.

But the usefulness goes way beyond branding and thinking about, and applying our core values will make life a lot easier.

If we want to create some kind of consistency in what we do, and how we present ourselves or our business, we can look at our core values with every new step that we take and see if things line up.

Aligning our core values with our lives is important because that way we can actually be true to ourselves and don’t have to force anything, even when it comes to such things as marketing.

So, if brings us happiness as well as success, it seems like a wonderful way to get started.

Why Core Values?

Defining our Core Values is something that takes time and introspection. Usually when I tell people to define their Core Values and to only pick three, they say that there are so many more things that are important to them than three. And I understand.

But three is also a magic number. It’s a number of things that our brain has evolved to remember. Egg, Milk, Honey. If it’s more than that you might have to write a shopping list.

Same goes for your Core Values. You will be able to recite and remember them. But there’s a trick of how you will be able to bring everything together that matters to you. We’ll come to that in a second. 

First, let’s take a look at some strategies you can use to define your Core Values.

Dare To Lead
1. Dare To Lead
In her 2019 book Dare To Lead Brené Brown also talks about defining your Core Values. If you haven’t read it yet, I can absolutely recommend it! I’ve written about why here. And she prepared a wonderful list of values to help you get started. You can download the list of Core Values from her website and just circle the ones that speak to you. Or cross the ones out that are not as important and get close to the ones that matter most to you that way.
2. Bringing in Your Own

Maybe you’ve defined your core values a long time ago, or just last week. Maybe you’ve grown up with clear values in your family and community and this is nothing you have to think about.

How wonderful! Write them down, so that you can be reminded of them more regularly or share them with your team or friends.

3. How We Do It

Brené Brown’s list has helped me a lot to get started to find out what values really are and what possibilities are out there.

But in order to actually make it true to myself, I needed a little more. I asked myself a couple of questions, and then started asking my web design clients these questions as well.

My recommendation is to answer them once only for yourself, to be truly honest and not feel like you have to come up with something that is presentable. Do this just for yourself, no judgement, just pure witnessing.

There’s no right or wrong to any of this.

Where are you now?

Where did you start?

What were some of the things you dreamed of as a child?

In what situation do you live now?

What are some of your personal achievements?

What are some of your business achievements?

Where are you at with your business right now? (Example:I have a well running shop, but I’d like to reach a wider audience online. I am a therapist and I have some clients, but I would like to reach more. I’m a specialist in this field, but nobody knows that I am. I’d like this to change)

Where would you like to be? (Again, please write down your wildest dreams, we might only reach what’s possible, but we might reach more than you think is reasonable)

How would you like for others to describe you/your business?

What will help you to get there?

Once you’ve answered these questions, come back to think about your Core Values. Can you see something that has consistency, a dream you had as a child, that maybe you put aside because you didn’t think it was doable? What were and are the things that really matter to you?

And here’s the Trick:

Write everything down that comes to mind and then see if you can divide your Core Values into three groups. Once you have grouped them, see if you can summarize each group under one term.

After you’ve found your three main terms you can add three sub-points for each of them. You might even want to add a short explanation of what each point means to you.

What worked best for me was to think about describing my work, and how I approach it, to an employee. If I want them to work self-sufficiently yet in accordance to what matters to me, to my core values, what would that look like?

What is important to know about how I work?

Here are the core values I’ve defined for myself.

I use these when I write a new blog post, or start a different project. Is it holistic? Is it joyful? Is it brave?

Holistic

The Bigger Picture – I’m working to do my part in making this world a better place

Biggest/Smallest Impact – biggest impact when it comes to creating change & the smallest impact on the environment

Balance – in order to fully be there for my clients, I need to fully be there for myself first. This includes well-defined responsibilities and boundaries.

Joyful

Creativity – finding something new and exciting in every step of the work

Positive Outcome – creating something that is helpful/useful

Innovation – looking for the best solutions, tools, methods, staying alert, not walking any trodden path

Brave

Honesty – being honest and creating space for difficult conversations to achieve lasting change

Glass Half Full – there’s a solution to every problem, it’s OK to not have the answer right away

Freedom – to create fair exchanges that give more freedom to both parties

I hope this helped you to define your core values. If it did, please share what you came up with and why. And if you’d like some more support in finding your core values. Message me to book an appointment.

Thank you for doing your part in making the internet and whole world, a better, safer and more fun place to be.

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