You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Those who stand for nothing fall for everything.” Often attributed to Alexander Hamilton, this quote holds some significance in regards to the concept of core values and identifying those ideas and values which guide your decision-making.
And it makes sense – if you don’t value anything, if you don’t allow your life to be dictated by some moral compass, you’ll probably allow yourself to get away with everything.
Sounds a little chaotic and unstable, if we’re being honest.
What do core values have to do with it?
Core values are exactly what they sound like: the values that you live your life by, the ideas, concepts and principles which guide the decisions you make and the steps you take in life.
While core values might sound interesting in theory, identifying your values can actually benefit your life in many ways.
Roy E. Disney said it well: “When your values are clear to you, making decisions comes easier.”
We have to make a lot of challenging decisions in our lifetime – whether or not to quit your job; if now is the right time to spend money on a new car; if breaking up or staying together is the better choice. When you are making potentially life-changing choices, having core values can significantly make these choices easier as you are guided by those values most important to you.
What are my core values?
You might already know the values you try to live your life by – these might include loyalty, honesty, perseverance or peace; or, you might have never taken the time to think about them. Maybe core values weren’t even a concept you were aware of. That’s okay! It’s a remarkable chance to learn more about yourself by identifying your core values.
To find the core values that you align your life with, you have a couple of options. First, you could look through a list of core values and identify some (no more than 3-5) of the ones which hold the most significance to you. Do you make all your decisions from a peaceful place, only selecting your route when you have identified the one that offers the most peace?
Perhaps you do whatever you can to remain honest or humble, even when that means admitting mistakes or lack of knowledge. Maybe intelligence or knowledge guides your steps, driving you to seek careers where you can expand your knowledge or put to work the intelligence you already possess. If it’s kindness that motivates you, it’s likely you are off-put by choices that are selfish or done at the expense of others.
Self-assessment of core values
Taking the time to write down and process the different values by which your life is guided can be very helpful, but for an even deeper look at core values, you can also invest time into a core value self-assessment. This self-assessment tool can help identify those ideals that motivate your decisions and choices, whether or not you know it.
The unique thing about self-values is that they are part of you whether you notice them or not. Often you will make your choices from a place of value – we don’t often choose things that don’t align with what we believe. And if we do, it’s likely something feels off: our gut is usually a good indicator of something wrong.
Why identify your core values?
Will identifying my core values really change my life? Possibly – if you know that it’s more important to you than anything to be honest and kind, you will also know that any lie or unkind deed you commit is not in line with who you are as a person. So living from a place dictated by your core values will help you remain authentic and genuine even during times of immense difficulty.
Additionally, by taking the time to identify your values you can grow in self-awareness and integration – meaning, you can become more in touch with who you are as a person; this can decrease anxiety (“Am I making the right choice?”) and increase resolve and overall peace. The choice made from your values is often the easiest to make and leaves you questioning little if anything.
Want to learn more?
If you find yourself desiring to learn more about self-awareness and core values, you might consider the benefits of counseling. Whether you are seeking additional assistance as you navigate decisions, or want to grow in a greater understanding of yourself as a person, consider the programs offered through The Light Program.
Learn more by contacting us by calling our offices at 610-644-6464.