Have you ever felt like you lacked clarity of your purpose or overall mission in life? It’s a common feeling, but one that can be changed by unearthing your core values.
When in search of your purpose, which is a big idea to tackle, sometimes you have to start with a smaller question to answer.
Knowing your core values can help guide your decisions, both in your personal life and your career.
Why core values matter
Core values are the beliefs or principles that guide your behavior and decision-making. They are the foundation of who you are and what you stand for.
When you know your core values, you have a clear understanding of what is important to you, what you are willing to fight for, and what you are willing to let go.
Knowing your core values is especially important for your professional growth. If you are not clear about your core values, you may be susceptible to wasting precious time on people, places, and opportunities that deplete your energy and focus from what really matters to you.
When what you do is aligned with who you are (and what you value), you are more likely to be engaged and fulfilled.
How to discover your core values
Discovering your core values begins with a little introspection. By delving into your thoughts, emotions, and experiences, you can gain valuable insights that will guide you toward a more authentic and fulfilling life.
Reflect on your past experiences
Think about the moments in your life when you felt most fulfilled and satisfied. What do you recall about your state of being in those moments?
Maybe it was a sense of adventure, creativity or helping others. Use those experiences as a starting point for identifying your core values.
When I was making the transition from working as a full-time worship leader to a job focused on organizational communication, I had to do the same exploration you are doing right now.
Something I discovered about myself was that I valued faith, collaboration, and connecting people to transformative experiences in the work I did. The irony was that didn’t involve anything musical once I got to the core of what fulfilled me in my work.
Identify your non-negotiables
Perhaps it’s easier to identify what you don’t value you might be drawing a blank thinking of what your core values might be.
What are conditions in your life that you simply cannot accept? Hate, insecurity, and competition at the expense of community – all things can highlight the opposite of what you would want to experience or subject others to.
These non-negotiables could point you toward your core values. These are the values that are non-negotiable for you.
Tip: Check out a list of core values in the resources at the end of this article.
How to incorporate core values into your life and career
Once you have identified your core values, it’s important to incorporate them into your life and career. Here are some ways to do that:
Make decisions based on your values
When faced with a decision, consider whether it aligns with your values. If it does not, it may not be the best decision for you.
Set goals aligned with your values
When you set goals that align with your values, you are more likely to stay motivated and committed to achieving them.
Communicate your values
Let others know what your core values are. This can help you attract the right people and opportunities that align with your values.
Surround yourself with like-minded individuals
When you surround yourself with people who share your values, it is a step int he right direction for your goals and your overall health.
According to The American Journal of Psychiatry, people who have friends and close confidants are more satisfied with their lives and less likely to suffer from depression.
Evaluate your current life
Look at your life as it is now. Are you living in alignment with your values? If not, what changes can you make to bring your life more in line?
As you grow and change, your values may also evolve. It’s important to regularly re-evaluate your values and make sure they are still aligned with who you are and what you want to achieve.
Why you shouldn’t settle
Now that you know your core values, it’s time to put them into action. Use your core values as a compass to guide your decisions and actions in both your personal and professional life.
Remember, when you align your choices with what truly matters to you, you will find greater fulfillment and happiness. Don’t settle for anything less than what excites and resonates with your core values – wait for the opportunities that truly make your soul sing.
I like how Leanne Jacobs, author of “Beautiful Money: The 4-Week Total Wealth Makeover” said, “If an opportunity is not aligned with that matters most to you (your core values), let it pass.“
Jacobs went on to explain, “The opportunities that don’t make your soul sing, or that you can’t be excited about, just end up taking space where a better opportunity could be.“
Value and purpose
Laving space for pursuits, relationships and opportunities of core value ultimately sets you on the path to purpose. You might be able to state your purpose in an eloquently crafted sentence, which is an achievement worth celebrating. But rest easy if you’re still figuring it out. Eventually, your purpose will unfold because you have mastered the art of choosing fulfillment over fluff.