What, exactly, are values?
It’s a term that gets talked about a lot in coaching, self-help, self-development and psychology… but there are actually lots of different definitions and interpretations of the term.
I frame personal values as the things that we hold most dear in our lives. They are the standards or founding principles on what means the most to us. Even when we are not conscious about exactly what our values are, they are the foundations that define how we interact with the world. In some ways you could say that core values are our most important ‘needs’ that we would always prioritise above anything else – the consistent needs that form a defining part of our lives, regardless of our mood or on the external circumstance.
We make decisions day to day and moment to moment based on our values and what is important to us. If you want to really know what you value, you need to start by looking at what your actions tell you. Values are defined by where you choose to put your energy, time and focus and the needs underlying that. So one of the best ways to understand what you really value is to take a look at what you are doing, day to day, and reverse engineer an understanding of what your values are from that.
If you’d like to learn a little bit more about how to get absolute clarity on what your values are, you might want to take a look at ‘How to Know What Your Values Are‘.