Do you know what you values drive you, make you happy, push you to excellence?
I recently undertook a short exercise to determine my own values and what my core drivers might be, so as to better understand the work I should be doing. Over the past couple of years I’ve discovered certain tasks drain me, whilst others energise me and propel me forward with passion.
It was simple enough. I downloaded a list of options – words like; Integrity, Accountability, Commitment, Dependability, Dignity, Honesty, Honour, Responsibility… Then I printed them out, cut them into individual slips and set about sorting through them. It was as easy as asking myself: “Is this important to me?” – one pile for ‘yes’, and another for ‘no’.
Once I had been through them all, I had a strong selection of core values that I believed were significant for me. Then I just re-arranged these: ‘Most Important’; ‘Important’; and ‘Less Important’. After this I had a list of twenty that I considered particularly relevant and I was beginning to see what matters most to me. Words like Leadership, Compassion, Ambition and Excellence all made an appearance on my ‘Very Important’ list.
Out of those twenty I decided I had to narrow it down to a maximum of five. So I did the exercise one final time, using the same headings but only with the twenty I had previously categorised as ‘Very Important’. When it came down to it I found it easier than I had thought to separate them out, leaving me with a clear set of four core values that I think honestly describe my attitude and approach to working and living. Whatever I do has to have these at the heart of it, otherwise it feels disingenuous and might not encourage me to work to excellence. Bold was the one that surprised me the most, but given that I’m currently trying to push myself to big ambitions I suppose its appearance is apt.
I’d recommend any one give this a go; it’s an interesting exercise and it’s really opened up my understanding of myself. If you do try it please come back and share your values. I’d love to hear what they are and if any of them surprised you!