Valuing your values

Valuing your values

Once a month, since February, we’ve taken a look at various aspects of creating a strong personal foundation. Building a strong foundation gives you a good solid base to build a life you’re happy to be living. It doesn’t mean that your life will be hassle free and full of fluffy kittens and unicorns with not a worry in the world. I’d need a magic wand to arrange that!

If you’ve read any of my previous columns you’ll most likely have picked up on a bit of a favourite theme of mine – knowing your values and then orienting your life around them. I believe this aspect of building a strong personal foundation is the most important. If you don’t know your values then you don’t know yourself. If you don’t know yourself how can you build a life best suited to you?

To recap, your values are the ideals that are deeply and personally important to you. Your values express who you naturally are. They influence almost everything you think, do and feel. They are what you ‘value’, and what gives you purpose. Most people have approximately 5-7 core values that identify who they really are. Each person’s values are unique to that person; even if two people happen to pick the same word, such as integrity, each person will have their unique understanding of it and they will demonstrate it differently in their daily actions. Even Elvis Presley supposedly said “values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ‘em over everything you do”

Often, we don’t even notice them; they are just a part of us that helps us sense that perhaps it’s better to do one thing instead of another, or help us notice that a particular situation or being around a particular person feels better than another. To help clarify your values go to, click on the blog tab and search for values, you’ll find two articles there to help you.

Knowing them is one thing but to really get the most from your values consider building your life around them. You have many options for things to base your life around. You could base your life around what you want, around what you need, around what you think others will be impressed by. None of these will bring you a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction that living by your core values does.


Exploring your Values


What roles do you have in life?

Partner, parent, colleague, team member, leader ……….?

What are your pastimes or hobbies?

Are your values reflected in what you say and do –

In your different roles?                                   Yes/No/Maybe

In your and pastimes  and hobbies?               Yes/No/Maybe

In your current goals and aspirations?           Yes/No/Maybe

In your relationships – personal and professional? Yes/No/Maybe

If your responses are more ‘no’ and ‘maybe’ than ‘yes’, think about how can you express your values more clearly.

What do you need to change in order to express them more clearly?

Do you need any support for this?

Who could help you?


Top tip for becoming more true to yourself.

1.  Values are the interests or qualities that attract you. A value is something you naturally feel is important to you. List your five core values. Be clear on what each one really means to you and how it’s expressed in your life.


2.  Understand the difference between needs, wants, and values. Values are preferences, or behaviours that you are naturally drawn to. Needs are things you must have in order to be your best e.g. to be loved, respected, and safe. Wants are usually things that you can live without, they’d be nice, but they’re not vital for being the best you can be.

3.  Get your needs met. One of the greatest side benefits of getting needs met is that the number and intensity of your wants will decrease, which puts fewer obstructions between you and your values. Determine your needs, and what it takes to meet them.


4.  Values help you better set goals. Whenever you’re considering a certain goal, run it by your list of values first. Does it fit in or express any of them? If so, it’s likely to be worthwhile for you.


5.  When honoured, values lead to opportunities. Some people are afraid that being clear about their values will hurt them or hold them back. However, clarity of values will guide you toward what is right for you in your career and in your personal life. They help you to remain consistent in what you do and say.


6.  Values help you screen and filter. In addition to goal setting, value setting will allow you to better screen and filter events, opportunities and people that come your way. If you’re not sure how to respond to a person, problem, or opportunity, run it by your core values. If it lines with the situation/person then it’s most likely a good fit.


7.  Values give you something to honour. When you know your values you can them as a guide to measuring things against. This is especially useful during times of change or turmoil and can help reorient you during times of transition.  It’s like keeping your eye on the horizon in a storm.


As Polonius advised his son “To thine own self be true”. (Hamlet, Shakespeare)


Jan Aitken Life Coach

Jan Aitken is a qualified Life Coach based in Dunedin. With over 8 years of experience Jan is the coach to help propel you forward and live the life you imagine.

Jan Aitken is a qualified Life Coach based in Dunedin. With over 8 years of experience Jan is the coach to help propel you forward and live the life you imagine.


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