Most of us have a general idea about what we value and how our actions in our daily lives are a reflection of those values. However, when was the last time, if ever, did you stop and spend time thinking and prioritizing your values? If the decisions we make are a reflection of what we value, shouldn't we spend time thinking through our values?
What Are Values?
Values are things that you believe are important in the way you live, lead, work, rest, play, etc. Your values also serve as the most important component in your sense of purpose, passion, and play. In other words, when the things you do and how you lead match with what you value, you are generally a happy fulfilled person. When the things you value do not match with the things you do, you generally are stressed, unhappy, and unfulfilled.
Here are some situations when a clear prioritized list of values can help you:
- Should I take that job?
- Should I take that promotion?
- Should I follow tradition or blaze my own trail?
- How do I define success?
- How many hours a week should I work?
- How do I rest?
- Who do or should I spend my time with?
You might be thinking that I haven't said anything you don't already know. So what's the big deal?
It is vital to your leadership to schedule out some time to Define your Values, Prioritize them, then Put them in Action. Let me help you.
Step 1: Define Your Values:
Looking back on your life you will find experiences that brought you confidence, happiness, and gave your life meaning. In these moments, your values and actions were as one. Look at the list below (or come up with some on your own). Choose 10 that you believe would be in your top 10 values. Note: these should not be in any order. Just list them.
Step 2: Prioritize Them:
Take your list of ten values and begin to put them in order of importance. For instance, take half of them (5) and rate each value based on what priority they mean to you. Then take the next 5 and do the same thing. Then take the values that you made number 1 (highest priority) in both lists and decide which item is number 1 and which is number 2 in your list. Repeat the process until your ten values are listed from highest priority to lowest priority.
Step 3: Put Them Into Action
Look at your list. While looking at your values do you feel proud of yourself? Do you feel fulfilled when you apply these values? Do they represent who you are and hope to become? It may serve you well to get into a conversation with someone you respect and admire. Ask them what they think. Ask them if they would agree that you are living with these values in mind.
The values we hold are the person we are and the person we hope to be.
These values are the best version of ourselves.
Your values will change over time and the decisions you make in life may not always be the most popular ones. Especially if you are a leader. Except that not everyone will agree or even like you. However, with a clear set of values, decisions you make will bring you peace and confidence that you made the right choice.
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