If having a Dream is your North Star, then your Core Values are the rudder in your ship to steer your course.
A ship without a rudder will drift aimlessly in the sea even if you can aim your sight toward your north star.
Similarly, if we don’t know why we are here and what is most important to us, we spend a lot of time in our lives wandering and wondering what we should be doing. The process of identifying core values puts the rudder in the water and helps us move in the direction that is best for each of us – personally, professionally and spiritually – to extend and expand our abilities and to live a life of purpose.
But why are your core values so important?
Whether you are actively working as a coach or are simply working at optimizing your life, your core values are at the center of your foundation because they represent what you stand for and reflect how you operate. They shape your assumptions, beliefs and actions – body, mind and spirit. Since your values are at the very core of your being, they are the values you hold closest to your heart. They are the values that resonate most completely with your soul. As such, they are the underlying building block competencies that make your life run a lot more smoothly, contributing to genuine self-satisfaction and happiness!
What people value is highly personal, ranges widely, and can change over time. We reside in a sea of values and our chosen lives, dreams and businesses reflect them. We naturally gravitate towards our core values prompted from within by our needs or wants. They are the basis for every decision that you make and express your unique self-management choices to be the person you want to be. They are an integral part of your personality and are embedded in the belief systems that give meaning and coherence to your life and which sustain your sense of identity. They exist in every individual, family, community and in every workplace.
Your core values are your philosophical orientation and support your vision of possibility for your life. They are not goals, but instead can be thought of as something that reflects your view on life or a judgment about what you find important. They shape your mindset toward life, your thinking style, with whom you associate with (from your personal friends to your business Dream Team), and your overall identity.
Values can also be ranked in importance from morally crucial, such as the standards of being honest, truthful and trustworthy to the preferences for the food you eat (and where they are resourced down to the soil), your fitness protocols, how much rest you get and what kind of minor non-moral preferences you like such as the kind of favored music or style of dress. Your core values attract like-minded people and affirm your ability and responsibility to lead a meaningful, ethical life capable of adding to the greater good.
You are responsible for ensuring you live your values – no one else. Values channel energy toward desirable life goals and become your guiding principles (e.g. autonomy, competence and relatedness) that become the motivating force toward working toward your ideals. When paired with your feeling desire they become the impetus toward expressing those values in every area of life.
[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”normal” animation=”none” background=”plain”]Your “Yes” has no value until you learn to say “No!”[/dt_quote]
Bottom line, you don’t need permission to live from your values, especially when that means saying “No” to others so that you can practice self-care or when you’ve made a commitment to living your dream. If you own your own business, your core values are the essence of your company’s identity – the principles, beliefs or philosophy of what you exchange and deliver.
Establishing core personal and business values provides both internal and external advantages to authentically living your dream and effectiveness:
- Core values help in the decision-making processes and influence your ability to learn and grow.
- Core values are primary attraction, recruiting and retention tools not only for your customers, but also your friends and whom you partner with.
- Core values contribute to your business policies and procedures.
- Core values educate potential customers and clients about your company and clarify the identity of the company. Having a set of specific core values that speak to your identified market is definitely a competitive advantage.
Hardly surprising, life is a co-creative process; all of us respond positively to what is life-supportive. The identifiable patterns that emerge help us to see how well our values have been integrated into our unique lives. There is tremendous power in knowing which values you designate as core otherwise you run the risk of living someone else’s values.
Finding out what is most important to you may seem like an overwhelming task at first. There are many things to consider but I found it helpful since I’m the captain of my own ship to answer one simple question: What is most important to me in my life?
Paul Chek brilliantly guides this process by identifying four major areas that shape one’s lifestyle through his holistic orientation: Happiness, Quite, Diet and Movement. Not only do these themes provide a rich context for our lives, they are life-affirmative. In his PPS Success Mastery Lesson 1, Paul shows that it is impossible to live your life’s dream unless you are living in harmony with your embodied values in daily actions. By creating your personal core “values tree”, you will determine the strong foundation from which to establish, grow and share the fruits of your own making.
Those of us who share core values grounded upon holism and the 4 Doctors – Dr. Happiness, Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet and Dr. Movement – have discovered one of the secrets of genuine happiness. When we take time each day to nourish ourselves within this framework we show the world what living from this orientation looks like.
What I love about embracing these values is that I know who I am and what I stand for; I’m authentically aligned and in harmony with my lifestyle, which is also integrated into my business life. Does this mean that I never experience stress or challenges? Hardly! But my experiences don’t take me away from living my dream or prevent me from staying my course. Rather because of my core values I am motivated toward taking great care with my 4 Doctors. You can have a wildly successful business and without sacrificing your health and balance.
It isn’t always an easy process, which is probably why so few people take the time to do it. It is easier for some to just go with the flow, to mimic others, and watch to see where the current might take them. But if you go through the process, you’ll find tremendous worth in identifying your core values. You’ll be able to celebrate your own joy and satisfaction of a fulfilling life of your own making. You will become the type of person you most want to be, the one in who is the captain of your ship with a firm hand on your rudder steering your course.