If I asked you what your personal values are would you struggle to provide a clear and thoughtful answer? What if I told you a hero is simply someone who has become conscious of and taken a stand for their core values? In this three-part series, I’ll discuss why clearly knowing your core values can improve the quality of your life and uncover your inner hero.
The Invisible Power Of Values
Why do some soldiers disobey direct orders and risk their own lives to save a fallen comrade? What would make a pregnant mother in Oklahoma dying of cancer forgo treatment to save the life of her unborn child? Why would a well-known politician risk losing his family and reputation to further his career? And finally, what do all three of these people have in common?
For better or worse, they were living by their values, and just like them each one of us has our own set of personal values. They are the things we believe to be of utmost importance and give priority to our lives. Every day in every area of your life, your values are being expressed, mostly below your awareness. You’re living by them but when you don’t consciously know them, your life can feel like a senseless race, moving from one seemingly important goal to the next, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, unfulfilled and out of control.
Does This Sound Familiar?
Living outside your values creates an internal friction between what you say and what you do. For example, if one of your core values is, “My family comes before my job,” and they see you consistently working so many hours that you rarely have time to spend with them, they’ll conclude that your real core value is, “My work is more important than my family.” Not knowing what your values are can be problematic at best and crippling at worst. There’s a high price to pay when you aren’t clear on what’s truly important to you. See if any of these sound familiar:
- You feel stressed and have a sense of being out of control
- You feel conflict or are torn between the different areas of your life
- You’re excessively busy with every minute crammed with stuff
- You don’t feel like you’re making progress in life
- You feel drained from constantly rushing to tick off your todo list that seems to be endless
- You feel regretful about what you’ve done in the past
- You have a growing restlessness around the need to change but you’re not sure what
- You find yourself living according to someone else’s values
- You feel like your life has lost it’s direction, meaning and purpose
Why are values so important?
The single greatest benefit of knowing your values is that you will gain tremendous clarity and focus in life. Values are priorities that tell you how to spend your time, right here, right now. Clearly knowing your core values can improve the quality of your life. They are your GPS – when you wonder off they can bring you back. Improve the results you get in those areas that are truly important to you
- Values energize any act they are applied to
- Values multiply the power of action and it’s results
- Values release tremendous potential for success and happiness
- Values make sure you’re doing the right actions and the results tend to be amplified
- Values are an inexhaustible source of inner power that energizes them to no end
- You attract to you people of like mind who share the same desire
What should i do?
Where should I go?
What is the next step to take?
4. The difference between virtues and values?
Values are what you give value to in life. Values can be found at many levels: individual, family, company, church, nation, etc. Most people are taught and adopt their values growing up.
Virtues are qualities of character deemed to be moral, good and right. Virtues are always good and never bad. By some underlying common ground, virtues are meaningful to all of humanity.
Virtue arises from living in alignment with your core values. Examples of people living their core values (particularly heroes). All heroes are committed to one or two core values, and that is their virtue.
5. What are core values?
Core values are the emotional states or qualities that we value above all. They can do more to determine the quality of your life than any other single thing. Core values define what you care about and give you clarity and confidence. A core value is something you believe in so deeply that it’s truly hard for you to change your mind. They influence everything you do and don’t do.
Knowing your core values can help you find increased meaning and direction for all areas of your life. You’ll be able to pause before any decision and ask yourself if your choice is in line with what’s most important to you in life
Core values are not taught or assigned to you. It’s probably more accurate to say that your core values are you. You are born with and will die with your core values. When you see the core values of an individual, you are almost getting a window to his or her soul. Core values are the things that people will, and sometimes do, die for. They are deeply etched into your emotional mental make-up and not easily changed.
- You’ll be able to look to your core values for inspiration
- Clarify your understanding of who you are
- Require no justification to others
- Guide you in making decisions and choices
- Run all your relationships
6. What Next?
Most heroes have asked, “who am i?” and “why am i here?” These questions haunt the path of personal and spiritual growth. Knowing your core values is the key to defining your life purpose. Values determine all of our decisions and therefore our past, present and future.
It’s a leap forward in self-awareness to identify your own core values. Until you know your core values, you do not know who you are. A virtuous world would be a world in which everyone knew and lived by their core values. It would be a world full of heroes.