Quick! Name five values that are most important to you.
Did you easily come up with five or are you stuck at two or three? Do you have more than five? Are you clear on what a value truly is?
Your values are the things that you believe are most important in life. They are the principles that guide the way you live and how you work. Values can include many different things, such as family, freedom, responsibility, bravery, gratitude, health, strength, learning, teamwork, winning, dedication, fun, and many, many more.
As a life coach, part of my work centres around helping clients turn life changes into positive opportunities. To do this, an important first step is to figure out who we are, what we want, and where we hope to go. Part of the first step is to identify our strengths and values.
When we are clear on what our values are, we can make better choices that fit with our personal code of conduct. Our values represent our unique, individual essence. They help us determine our priorities and choices. When our behaviour matches our values, life is usually good; when it doesn’t, unhappiness often sets in.
I clearly remember the day, during my cancer journey, when I was presented with my different treatment options. For me, I knew that “prevention” was important. I chose some of the most aggressive treatments offered, because I knew that I would be able to deal with whatever the future would bring, knowing that I had completed all of the treatments available to prevent a reoccurrence of cancer. In this case, “prevention” was an important value to me.
Someone else, in the same situation as me, may have made completely different choices based on their own values. There is no right or wrong answer, just what is right (or wrong) for you personally. Each person’s values are unique to that person. Even if two people happen to pick the same word to describe their value, their interpretation of the meaning and what they do with it will be different. But being clear in our own minds of what our values mean will guide us when we are faced with life decisions.
So what values are on your list? I know it was unfair to ask you to identify yours so quickly at the start of this post. But now that you’ve had a little more time to think about them, has your list changed? Values are not always easy to identify. If you are having difficultly naming yours, contact me and I will be happy to send some exercises that can guide you.
This is why taking the time to reflect on our values is important. Even in our most challenging and unstable times, honouring our values, in our daily lives and in our choices, will provide us with an overall sense of harmony and peace.