Embrace Your Core Values to Find Your Path to Purpose

Embracing Core Values: A Path to Purpose
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In today’s fast-paced and complex world, navigating through the intricacies of life and work can be challenging. It is during these times that having a strong foundation of core values becomes essential. Core values are the guiding principles that shape our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, both in our personal, professional and social lives. Core values provide a moral compass that enables us to make decisions aligned with our true selves. Always acting in alignment with our core values empowers us to live a purposeful and authentic life.

What are core values?

At the heart of our very existence lie core values, which are deeply-held beliefs and principles that define who we are as individuals. Core values act as a moral framework, driving our choices and actions. They embody our ideals, aspirations, and what we consider to be most important in life.

Key characteristics of core values include their enduring nature, their ability to shape our identity, and their influence on our behavior and decision-making processes. By consciously aligning our actions with our core values, we can live a more fulfilling and meaningful life. 

Core values extend beyond our personal lives, as they also guide us in the professionalism and social realms. In the business world, core values form the foundation of organizational culture, shaping the behavior of employees and the overall direction of the company.

Defining and implementing core values within organizations fosters a sense of purpose, unity, and ethical conduct. Upholding core values is what determines how we show up for our family and engage in our community, where it reflects allowing for purposeful connection. 

How to find your core values: 

To better understand the benefit of core values, we need to differentiate them from other types of values. Some values may have been instilled in us as children or are based on our communities and the culture we grew up in. While other values may change or be influenced by external factors, you can define the core values you want to remain steadfast and serve as a constant reference point for your actions.

Core values reflect our true selves, and they help define the essence of who we are and aspire to be as individuals and organizations. Through embracing our core values, we cultivate attitudes, beliefs, behaviors and goals that align with our authentic selves, leading to personal growth and organizational success. Core values should reflect how we envision our ideal selves in the future.  

Define who you want to be

There are two exercises that are extremely efficient at providing insight into what our core values truly are. Not only are these exercises easy and quick to do, but they provide game-changing results in understanding what you stand for and want to achieve in your lifetime.  

Exercise 1

Taking a personality test, and more specifically the 16Personalities test, can be a truly beneficial place to start when conceiving of your own personal core values. The test is a questionnaire of 130 questions that take 10 to 15 minutes to answer, but the results literally tell you what you most likely value most. Make a list of the values that resonate with you the most.

Exercise 2

The Funeral Exercise is a task Stephen Covey, the author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People has his readers stop everything and do in the habit referred to as “Begin with the end in Mind”.

In this exercise you write out your eulogy as you imagine the people in your life would say about you upon your death. You list your the characters, contributions and achievements you would like for them to recall about you in all of the areas of your life. If this exercise seems overwhelming, begin by writing an article that could be published in the New York Post for your 100th birthday.

Examples of core values and their definitions

Several core values resonate universally and serve as guiding principles for individuals, families and organizations alike. You can check out a full list of values examples but let’s start with exploring a few examples:

Integrity: Upholding honesty, trustworthiness, and ethical conduct

Integrity encompasses the quality of being honest, trustworthy, and adhering to a strong moral and ethical code. It involves acting with consistency and transparency in all aspects of life.

Respect: Valuing and treating others with dignity and consideration

Respect involves recognizing and appreciating the worth and rights of others. It involves treating everyone with dignity, empathy, and kindness, irrespective of differences.

Responsibility: Being accountable for actions and taking ownership

Responsibility means taking ownership of one’s actions, decisions, and commitments. It involves being reliable, accountable, and proactive in fulfilling obligations.

Compassion: Showing empathy and care for others

Compassion involves displaying empathy, understanding, and care towards others. It entails extending a helping hand and providing support to those in need.

Growth: Continuously learning and developing

Growth reflects the value placed on continuous learning, personal development, and self-improvement. It involves seeking opportunities for growth and embracing challenges as avenues for progress.

Putting pen to paper, i.e. instilling in the mind

It is ideal to select anywhere from five to eight values that you feel most strongly connected to in order to be familiar enough with them to recall them at any time.

While your value can be one or more full statements, it makes it easier to memorize them if you headline each value with a catchy phrase or tagline. For reference: These are my personal values that I have both committed to mind and reference regularly in decision making and determining how I chose to spend my time. 

My core value list

It’s not that easy to come up with a list of core values. Here’s mine that might inspire you on your journey of self-discovery:

  • CHOOSE LOVE – Make decisions out of love and not fear. Love unconditionally.
  • OWN IT – Build trust & loyalty through total accountability & transparency. Do not complain. Find solutions.
  • DON’T STOP – Be driven to change and grow and believe in yourself.
  • DELIVER VALUE – Enrich the lives of everybody we come in touch with.
  • KEEP IT SIMPLE – Only do and buy things that matter. Simplicity is the highest form of sophistication.
  • KEEP IT REAL – Being authentic. Be yourself. Not a HELL YES is a NO.
  • COURAGE – Don’t hold back. Share the love

Core behaviors: Living your core values

Living by our core values requires more than just understanding them; it involves aligning our actions with them. By consciously practicing core behaviors that reflect our values, we reinforce their importance in our lives. For instance, if one of our core values is “respect”, we can demonstrate it by actively listening to others, valuing diverse perspectives, and treating everyone with fairness and compassion. 

Your core values can serve as your decision-making filter and how you spend your time. For example one of mine is “authenticity” but I refer to it as “Keeping it real” and this means I only engage in activities that I truly want to do. 

The power of alignment 

When we spend our time living aligned with our personal values, a transformative power emerges. Therefore it is imperative to reflect on and embrace our core values and identify their alignment in the different areas of your life. The way to align your actions with your authentic self, is to strive to live a life driven by your core values. They shape our identity, guide our behavior, and contribute to our overall well-being and happiness.

Being aligned with your values in all the different areas of life allows us to make conscious choices that lead to greater fulfillment and success. Living by our core values not only brings us joy and purpose but also creates harmonious relationships and enables us to make a positive impact on the world around us.

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