Why define your core values?
“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 was a great quote to remind us why we should become aware of our core values.
Becoming aware of our core values can help us to understand ourselves better and it can help us find clarity on what matters most to us, and this clarity and acting in alignment with it can bring us happiness as well.
Our core values often remain in the unconscious and direct our actions from there, but once we become aware of them it becomes a lot easier to align what we think, say and do.
Defining our core values also helps to give us consistency in our lives, and an anchor to come back to whenever we feel things are somewhat off.
I originally wrote this article for people learning about web design and branding, so feel free to use it for that as well. The usefulness, however, goes way beyond branding.
Knowing our core values and using them in our work is beneficial, when it comes to creating a personal brand because it allows and reminds us to stay true to ourselves and consistent, especially when it comes to such things as marketing.
But it also helps us, in our lives, to stay true to who we are and to experience the happiness of being fully aligned and our true selves.
So, if brings us happiness as well as success, it seems like a wonderful way thing to take a look at.
Why 3 Core Values?
Defining our core values is something that takes a little bit of time and introspection. And our core values shouldn’t be an endless list.
I actually recommend for you to pick just three.
Usually when I ask my clients 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 a magic number. It’s a number of things that our brain has evolved to remember.
Eggs, milk, honey.
Butter, flour, tomatoes.
Red, green, yellow.
If it’s more than that, we might have to write a shopping list or use a mnemonic device.
Same goes for our core values.
We want to be able to remember them at any moment, without having to think about it, to actually be able to use them effectively.
There’s no use in becoming aware of our core values once and then having a hard time remembering them.
So, that’s why I ask you to define 3 core values.
But there’s a trick of how we can bring everything together that matters to us in 3 core values and I’ll share that trick with you in a second.
First, let’s take a look at some strategies you can use to define your core values.
1. Dare To Lead
2. Bringing in Your Own
Maybe you’ve already defined your core values a long time ago, or just last week. Perhaps you’ve grown up with clear values in your family and community, and this is nothing you have to spend much time thinking about.
How wonderful! Write them down, so that you can be reminded of them more regularly or share them with me in our next session, in the comments below or on Social Media.
3. How We Do It
I find Brené Brown’s list super helpful to get started to find out what values really are and what possibilities for core values are out there.
But in order to actually make it true to ourselves, I find a little more digging into our true essence can help.
For that, I’ve prepared a couple of questions for you to answer.
My recommendation is to answer these questions 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 of what comes up.
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 personal life/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. I’m on a journey of recovery, but I’d like to feel stronger and more empowered. I feel good about most parts of my life, but I’d just like to get a bit better at…)
Where would you like to be? What are your goals/wildest dreams? (Again, please write down anything you can imagine, there are no limits here.)
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:
Now, with this clarity on your life, reoccurring patterns and possibilities where you might want your life to go, write down all the values that seem relevant, and then see if you can divide them into three groups.
Once you have grouped them, see if you can summarize each group under one term.
After you’ve found your three core values, 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.
This way you can bring together all the values that define your complex life, but by using the three-times-three formula, you will also be able to remember them easily.
To give you an example, I will share my core values with you here as well:
CELEBRATING DIFFERENCES – it’s easy to judge others for doing things or thinking about things in different ways. More than anything, to be generous means, to me, to be strong enough to hold space for everything there is and to know that our unique views and talents are what make us whole. The more I’m meeting everyone with love and respect, the easier it becomes to overcome our feelings of separation.
GIVING MORE THAN I TAKE – this is essential. Not only do we feel better when we give more, the more we give, the more we get back. Yet by intending to give more than I take or receive, I make sure that I’m not giving to receive.
BEGINNER’S MIND – in a way, generosity for me also has to do with staying humble and not thinking that I know it all. I try to enter every situation and meet any person without expectations, but with openness and the curiosity to learn and be surprised.
BEING PRESENT – if happiness is when our thoughts, words and actions align, then joyfulness is when I forget myself and am able to be completely in the moment.
BEING PLAYFUL – exploring life in playful and sensual ways, dancing, feeling, smelling, singing, being in awe of everything there is.
BEING CONNECTED – meeting someone and having a moment, laughing together, sharing stories, experiencing, feeling alive, touch, kisses, love. Connecting to animals and plants as well.
BEING AWARE OF MY POWERS – we are the creators of our lives, and the way we think and (inter)act has a direct effect on all of us. This includes taking 100% responsibility for my life, thoughts and actions and trying to become impeccable in action and thinking.
CLARITY – knowing what I want, what I’m capable of and where I need to grow. Having a good plan and routine to be able to do the things that matter most to me and bring love, happiness, flow and alignment into my life.
BEING MY BEST SELF – I know that I am at my happiest when I’m giving and doing my all, when I can be creative, present and connected. People often think excellence is hard, but I find uncertainty, anxiety and confusion much harder.
I hope this helped you to define your core values.
If it did, please share your core values in the comments below, or ask questions if you have them.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can implement your core values and align them best to what you do, book a first coaching session with me!