What Are Your Core Values?

What Are Your Core Values?

In the bustling journey of life, it's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of responsibilities, expectations, and daily routines. We often find ourselves in a constant state of juggling, attempting to balance our personal, professional, and social lives along with our own personal hobbies and alone time. This year I was introduced to the concept of core values, or one's non-negotiables in life, and I've come to understand that one of the most transformative steps you can take is to identify and prioritize your top 3-5 core values. 

What are core values, you might wonder? They are those non-negotiables, beliefs, or principles that you hold dear, which act as guiding stars, illuminating your path and shaping your choices. They give your life meaning and are what you give back to the world when you are at your best. These core values are the fundamental building blocks upon which you construct the life you want, providing a strong foundation on which to stand, even when life's storms come rolling in. They allow you to live with intention, rather than the alternative.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don't prioritize their core values. They let other little things creep in and take up core value space and time. The best analogy I've heard uses a jar, rocks, and sand. The jar is your space, time, and energy for things in life. The rocks are your core values. The sand is all the other little things, like paying bills, commuting to work, grocery shopping, and texting. If you put sand in your jar first, there won't be room for the rocks. But if you put the rocks in first and prioritize them, you can still fit in the sand. The same is true for the things in life that fulfill you. If you prioritize the things that fulfill you, there will be room for the sandy stuff, promise.

The thing is, if you say "I don't have time for it," then it's not a priority. You will make time for the things that are truly important to you. 

So, what is a priority to you? What are your core values? 

Let's delve into finding and prioritizing your core values. Here are three questions that can help you identify your top 3-5:

  1. When people think of you, whether it's today or 100 years from now, what do you want to be remembered for?
  2. What are the things in life that bring you the most joy and fulfillment, and why? 
  3. What situations trigger or frustrate you the most? These can shine a light on your strongest values that aren't being met. 

Now, what are the common factors that bind all of your answers? 

Common core values can change over time, and often relate to gratitude, determination, courage, respect, honesty, integrity, fairness, healthy, sustainability, kindness, loyalty, and many other noble and positive traits you can think of and in how one shows up everyday. For example, my core values are:

  • Be healthy - with sleep, fitness, food, and mental health
  • Time with loved ones - friends, family, community
  • Celebrate nature - in my career, my art, my play time, and how I live life
  • Stay curious - through lifelong learning, self-improvement, travel and adventure, new projects, and reading
  • Be creative - through art, problem solving, planning, writing, and anything else that comes along

Earlier this year, a mentor walked me through a process of identifying these core values, understanding my “why,” identifying what a successful life looked like for me, how to develop habits to achieve that life while having self-compassion along the way. The experience was enlightening, transformative, and hit me at the time I needed it most. It also gave me a burst of energy seemingly out of nowhere and has guided that energy productively ever since. I've identified my rocks and put them in my jar first, before the sand, and it has made all the difference. 

I know that identifying and prioritizing your core values can do the same for you. 

In life's hustle and bustle, core values serve as guiding principles that help us navigate through daily challenges. Recognizing and prioritizing these values can profoundly shape our choices and actions. Often, we get caught up in the small, everyday tasks, forgetting to prioritize what truly matters. However, identifying our core values allows us to allocate time and attention to what holds significance, what moves the needle, and what fulfills us. Take the time to explore and honor your core values; doing so can transform your life. Find out more about the value of identifying your core values in this blog post.

If you found this post useful, forward it to a friend or family member who you think would enjoy it.

Thinking about your core values can be the 15 minutes you take for yourself today. I promise it will pay dividends.

Have a sage day!

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