Knowing your values is the best kept secret for changing your life. Alexander Hamilton once said, “If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.” Knowing your values keeps you from falling for anything, and it allows you to fall only for the things that align with your deepest held truths.
My clients often tell me that the most impactful thing we do together is find their top five values, and I agree. Author Rachel Naomi Remen said “It has been surprising to see how often people do not realize that their deepest values are as personal as their fingerprints.” Our values often drive our behavior, even when we don’t realize it. Not knowing them makes it harder to make the tough decisions because we aren’t clear on what is most important to us.
I personally like the way that journalist Tony Schwartz put it. He said, “deeply held values help us to avoid being whipsawed by whatever winds happen to be blowing around us.” When there is alignment between your actions and what you value most, then the picture is clear. You know what to do, and you act confidently and live fully. When there is not alignment the opposite is true. Robin Sharma, a top 10 global leadership guru, put it best when he said, “the greater the chasm between your daily commitments and your deepest values, the less your life will work.”
What makes the importance of values such a big secret though? Why don’t more people know about it? The answer is I don’t know!
I have met with and worked with thousands of people in the last decade, but only about 15 of them can recite their top five values. It is one of the biggest areas where people can grow their lives and live more fully, and so few people realize it.
So many of us go around making life choices that are not congruent with our top values because we don’t know what is most important to us. As a result, we feel inner turmoil. We feel conflicted. We may feel compromised and not know why.
Your top values are at the core of who you are. Knowing your values helps you live by them fully and make the hard decisions. You will be more capable than ever to make choices consistent with what you care about most, and that creates a deeper peace about the direction of your life. In other words, your life will work more for you!
The good thing about finding your values is that they are YOUR values. It’s not about picking the top five values your mother wants you to have or the values your religion wants you to have, or even what you think they should be. It is about finding what they are, literally.
Finding your values is about discovering the things that are important to you at the core and providing meaningful grounding stakes for your life choices. They may take some time to discover, but I can guarantee you that it is worth the effort.
Dr. Tomi Bryan, a sought-after System Dynamics Expert, helps high achievers find their next gear. Discover the champion within! Learn more at Championship Dynamics, connect with us on Facebook or schedule an appointment with Dr. Bryan.