June 17, 2020

Value Your Values

In times of great uncertainty, there’s one thing that can be counted on to help guide you through a season of change: values. Knowing them, reviewing them, and living them should always be your North Star. When we truly know and embody our values, they become guiding principles that help us navigate our daily life and become something more than just a set of mantras to memorize.

Values create a better life.

Knowing your values helps you visualize the type of person you want to be, the types of experiences you want to have, and the types of relationships you want to build. With a clear understanding of your most deeply held  values, they become like sails helping you interpret and capture the winds of change to better discern what your path is. The clearer your values, the faster you can find your course and stay true to it. 

Values make you healthier.

In addition to helping us make daily decisions, values can help lead to a greater alignment to your purpose and, by extension, greater overall health and well-being. In one study of older adults, people who had a greater sense of purpose later in life have actually been shown to live longer.

Value are your responsibility.

Prakash Mathew, former dean of students at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota, stated at a recent High Impact Institute event that values are convictions.

“Your personal convictions will determine how you live your life,” Mathew said, adding that we are personally responsible to ensure that we are living within our values no less than 80% of the time. He argued that this makes it our responsibility to know what our values are and to grade ourselves on this standard to move toward living the best version of ourselves.

Pick one.

As in all things, the simpler a value is, the more likely it is that it will be implemented. We recommend selecting a single value as your “principal value,” and if you can’t make it the only one, try to keep your overall values list to a maximum of three. This doesn’t mean you need to exclude other values that you find important, but the clearer your personal mantra, the more likely it is to greatly impact your decisions moving forward.

Activity: To help you determine your values and identify your principal value, download and complete our Values Finder worksheet here.