This month I’ve been taking a step back from my normal go-getter persona, to take some much needed re-grouping time, and enjoy a little bit of summer leisure. I think this is important…for everyone. Even if a vacation is not in your budget (it’s not in mine), you can still take a staycation, or at the very least, a weekend off from work, errands, and even technology.
One of my leisure activities this month is a free online course from Edx.com called, Becoming a Resilient Person: The Science of Stress Management and Promoting Wellbeing. In one of our exercises, we are tasked to come up with our core values.
When I was studying to become a life coach at one point, this was one tool that we used to identify whether or not our clients were doing things in their life, that were in line with their core values. But it’s something I’ve long since forgotten about, until this weekend, where I spent some quality time coming up with my own.
Why It’s Important
Values are different than goals. Goals are specific, such as, “I will make sure I attend all my daughter’s soccer games this year.” Values, however, are a compass in which we use to design our goals. So for that example, that particular mom or dad’s values might be, “Family.”
Without knowing our core values, it’s easy to wander through life without a sense of direction. This plays a huge part in our work and financial lives.
Why? Let’s say one person’s core value might be “Adventure.” Knowing that, they can set realistic goals around that value. So, when it comes to saving, that person might put money away for a trip around the world instead of spending it on eating out, clothes, entertainment, etc.
Another example when it comes to work life: Let’s say one of your core values is “Creativity.” Well, if you decided to have a career as an accountant or nurse because the money is good and steady, you might find yourself not satisfied after awhile and can’t figure out why. It’s not like you just have to up and quit your job if that’s the case, but you would have to work extra hard to make sure that you have enough creative outlets in your life.
I’m going to share with you my core values, and what they mean to me and my work and financial life.
1. Authenticity – I knew without a shadow of a doubt this was one of my core values. It’s a close cousin of humility, a trait I highly regard in people, and almost made the top five.
After recently listening to this amazing podcast, I knew that I could easily self-identify as a HSP (highly sensitive person). I pick up on the smallest social cues very quickly and can easily spot someone who is not authentic and disingenuous. So, when it comes to work, I need to seek out clients I can fully trust.
It’s also very important to me that I be 100% myself in both work and life, even if I’m not doing what the cool kids are doing, or if it turns some people away.
2. Balance – This one was a no-brainer for me. I’m a true Libra and I crave daily balance. DAILY! I work with many people who burn the candle on both ends for a lengthy period of time, then finally play catch up with rest and a vacation. I’m NOT one of those people. I need to make sure I balance work/play/errands/friend time, etc, all the time to feel like a whole person. Because I work with people who are not like me, I need to make sure I am more firm with my boundaries.
3. Creativity – Since I was very young, my imagination and creativity have always been a natural part of my life. Without having some kind of creative outlet I feel stifled. I mentioned in this post that starting this blog changed my life, because it gave me an outlet to express myself.
4. Health – This might be my top core value. Without health, we don’t have much. It’s our greatest commodity and I’m so thankful every day for good health (even if I have those 40-something aches and pains). 🙂
This has a direct result on how I spend my money, and I put a lot of my hard-earned dollars towards good food and overall well-being.
5. Connectedness – I struggled to find the fifth value. I could feel what it was on the tip of my tongue, but couldn’t find the right word. It wasn’t love…it wasn’t quite compassion…but I knew it had to do with people, and the overall greater good. Eventually, the word found me, and it completely resonates with the kind of work I want to do. Anyway, this word resonated with me and aligns with the type of work I want to do and how I want to live my life.
Other words that made my top ten: Abundance, compassion, persistence, love, humility, and passion.
How to Choose Your Core Values
There are many ways to help you choose your values, but this is the method I used:
Imagine it’s your funeral and someone is reading your eulogy. What would you want it to say? How do you want to be remembered? Now line that up with what matters most to you at this very moment. Pick ten words or phrases that stand out to you. Don’t be picky…the words should just jump out at you. After you pick ten, start narrowing it down until you have your top five.
Let me know in the comments what some of your own values are, and whether or not you are currently living within the parameters of those values.