You identify and clarify your personal values by taking time to
reflect on what is truly most important to you, and writing
those things down.
A list is provided to give you a start. It\u2019s important to
understand, this is a list of words that describe common values.
None of these may be your values. They\u2019re just there to kick
start the process.
Comprehensive instructions are provided to guide you but it\u2019s
much more about you getting in touch with yourself and
trusting in the right answers coming.
Having identified a list of personal values, it helps to write a
personal values statement, or credo; something that describes
you as you feel you want, and intend to be.
It\u2019s something that you can share with others so that they can better understand you, or something that you can keep private to use as a guide for your actions, it\u2019s your choice. Periodically checking the list is a good way to re-clarify your values.
If you\u2019re going to get straight into working up your values
hierarchy, you\u2019ll need to set aside some time; around an hour
or so to start with.
You\u2019ll need some notepaper and a pen, or you can use the
worksheets provided. Find somewhere you can work
undisturbed, and can let your mind wander a little, you\u2019ll want
to use your imagination quite a bit.
Some you\u2019ll just \u2018know\u2019 are right, others need you to be honest
with yourself. Be willing to "try on" words you might normally
skip over. They might values you simply didn\u2019t know you had.
It\u2019s too easy to create a hierarchy that yout hin k you should
have, but it won\u2019t work. You\u2019ll not stick with it and it\u2019ll cause
you more upset in the long run.
1. Using the worksheets provided, ask yourself what\u2019s important to you in life. Using the list of values provided, or choices of your own, make a list of ten or fifteen things that you come up with; just take what comes to you.
b. One at a time, think of a few occasions when you were really motivated. Sense
the feeling you had right before you became motivated, it often indicates a
strong value. If there aren\u2019t any, it doesn\u2019t matter, if there are; add them to your
2. Now to prioritise. Rank them in order of importance from 1 to however many you have. You
may need to shuffle this list more than once, but don\u2019t be too concerned at getting it absolutely
right yet, you\u2019ll have plenty of opportunity to refine and clarify it.
a. Take your number one value and compare it to each of the others, asking the question "if I could have value 1, but not value 2, would that work for me? If I could have one but not the other, which is most important to me?
c. You may compare it to a few and it\u2019s top, but then something on the list turns
out to be more important than the one you thought was number 1. This happens
quite often, because you often start with what you think should be your top
value, but actually isn't.
d. You have to be honest with yourself about this. It can be a little tedious, but it\u2019s worth the effort! It\u2019s no good ending up with a list of what you think should be your values, in the order in which you think they ought to go.
to find 3, 4, 5, and so on.
4. Once you have your hierarchy, ask yourself "Is this an accurate portrayal of me?"
5. Make changes as necessary so that you have a strong feeling that this is you.
6. Next, look to see if there are any values that appear to be are in conflict with others. For
example thrift and generosity may be in conflict, or trust and caution, which is not to say they
are incompatible. It depends on your understanding of that value.
b. For example, if you\u2019re having health problems, but health isn\u2019t on your list, or it's
a long way down the list, it's a big clue as to why you\u2019re health isn\u2019t what you
want it to be! Health isn't on the list? You might want to put it on, or moving it
up the hierarchy if it's not high enough.
a. All behaviour is of fundamentally two types. Moving away from pain (something
undesirable like debt or loneliness or insecurity, or actual physical or mental pain),
or towards pleasure (happiness, fulfilment, peace of mind, contentment). Values
are unconsciously immersed in either of these two motivations. You determine
which by asking, "Why is that important to me" and listening carefully to the
b. Check to see if they're about what to avoid, or about what to go for. If one of your top values is about avoiding some kind of pain, for instance, you\u2019ll spend a lot of time thinking about what you want to avoid, which isn\u2019t going to help you get what you do want.*
c. If you want financial independence don\u2019t focus on being debt free. That focuses
your attention away from what you want and towards avoiding of things you don\u2019t
want. They aren\u2019t the same thing!
9. Now check and decide if a value needs to increase in importance, and moved up in the list
(such as health), or a conflict needs to be resolved, or an away from value needs to be
reframed in some way so that it is expressed as a moving towards value.
Your values hierarchy, conscious or unconscious, is the rulebook by which you live your life,
and determines behaviour, priorities, and interactions with others. It\u2019s the compass you use to
strategy you can adopt to overcome this, which involves a different approach, too complicated to go into in depth here.
If this is something that you want to clear, email me ats t ep h en @t hec ar e er s ed g e .com and I\u2019ll send you the information
you need. Alternatively, log intoww w .t hec ar e er s ed g e .com to pick up this and other free resources).
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