Who Do YOU Want to Be?
I can’t wait to share something exciting with you! But first: Did you happen to make New Year’s resolutions or goals this year?
I know I did. For me, every new year comes with excitement and enthusiasm. It’s a clean slate, a chance to hit the reset button. Full of promise.
I started goal-setting back in my college days with my friend Karin. We made it a tradition. Before New Year’s Eve — or sometimes on that day — we would pour some wine, settle in and have a deep discussion.
We’d reflect about our past year. What goals had we accomplished? What not? And wherever we had fallen short … what had happened? After gaining some clarity, we’d then set our goals for the new year ahead.
This is a tradition I carry on, even to this day. Goals such as …
- Visiting two national parks
- Growing my business by 10%
- Losing 10 pounds (somehow this ends up on my list every year …)
Of course, many people set goals for the year. But setting goals is only part of the tradition.
So, what was so special about our way?
The way we brought our core values into our plans was unique. With our goals set, we would dive right into action planning. We mapped out — in detail — how we would accomplish each goal. Our tradition wasn’t only about WHAT we would do. It was also WHO we wanted to be along the way. Our goals and plans reflected our values. How we wanted to show up consistently in our everyday lives.
There’s more to reaching goals than putting pen to paper!
Yes, I DO get excited about values!
What are core values? Well, think about what’s important to you in your life. The type of person you want to be. The way you want to live. Your core values are your main beliefs, principles and/or traits that help you express all of this — what’s important to you, who you want to be, how you want to live.
“Values describe what you want to do, and how you want to do it – how you want to behave toward your friends, your family, your neighbors, your body, your environment, your work, etc.”— Russ Harris
There are many, many core values. And they aren’t right or wrong; they’re personal. You’ll see examples in Power Challenge 1, below. Examples such as caring for others, lifelong learning, fairness, wealth, courage, etc.
For me, values bring a special richness to life. That was true in college — and it’s still true today. I still set my goals and document my action plans. And I continue to live by my values while working my plans.
My goals reflect what I think is most important to me in my life. Who I want to be. How I want to behave. So, my goals and plans must align with my values, day in and day out.
Think about it this way.
If my goals don’t sync with my values, I probably won’t be very motivated to achieve them — right?
Or, if I create an action plan that clashes with my values, am I going to stick to the plan? Probably not for long.
For example, let’s say I want to grow my business by 10%. There are many ways to reach that goal. But it’s important to me to do it by walking my talk. In my case, that means doing the right thing. And treating others with respect. So, if I tried to achieve my growth goal by stepping on others or mistreating employees or customers, I would be going against my own values.
Maybe that’s a bit of an extreme example. But you’d be surprised at how often people override their personal values to reach some goal they’ve set.
Know Yourself Better — Through “A Year of Values”
So, how do you align your goals and values? Well, first you must know your own values — inside and out!
And that’s what I’m so excited to tell you. This year, I’ll be sharing my own personal “top ten core values.” You might like some of them for yourself. And it’s okay if you prefer other values. Either way, you’ll get a better sense of what’s important to you. How you want to live. How you want others to experience you, day to day.
Today, my intent is to share an overview. Provide you enough examples to get your creative juices flowing.
Related: Do Your Values Align With Your Do Your Values Align with Your Work?
And I really hope you’ll catch some of my enthusiasm for values! Whatever you may want to do in life, I am 110% certain that knowing and expressing your core values will help get you there.
Three “Buckets” of Values
Before we dive into Power Challenges, here’s a big-picture way to think about the landscape of values. I like to think of values in three “buckets” or categories.
My first bucket includes values about your relationship with yourself. They are between you and you — like believing in and taking care of yourself. Fighting through your fears. Living with passion. Being honest. Being consistent. These values can also include things like knowing when to put on your “big-girl panties” or “big-boy boxers.”
The next bucket is a set of values between you and others. Doing the right thing. Celebrating others and their successes. Being a good friend. A good client. Valuing clear, frequent communication.
The values in the final bucket are those between you and your Higher Power. My Higher Power is Christ. For you, it may be someone or something else. Examples of these values could include forgiving and letting go. Living with gratitude. Appreciating nature. Practicing acceptance of what’s in your control and what’s not. Expressing faith. All of these reflect values between you and something bigger than you.
So, let’s take a closer look now at your values. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about your values, the more you can guide yourself into being the person you want to be. The person who achieves the things they want to do!
Power Challenge 1 – What are Your Top Three Values?
Let’s start with a simple exploration. Look at the list of sample values below. Jot down the ones that feel right to you — as many as you want. Add your own if you like! (You can also print this page to use.)
Now, look at the list you jotted down. Circle the three values that are most important to you. It might be hard to choose! That’s okay. This is a work in progress. You can always revise this later.
Hold on to those three top values for our next two Power Challenges.
Think about the New Year’s resolutions or goals you set for yourself this year. Then consider how well they lined up with your top three values.
Power Challenge 2 – (Gently) Check Your Consistency
Look at the three values you wrote down in Power Challenge 1. Let’s see how much you are expressing those, day to day.
Remember, this is a no-judgment zone!
Pick just one of those three values to start. Think about some recent examples when your words or behavior were aligned with this value. Consider work, home, friends, community, etc.
And then: Are there times when your words or behavior were not aligned?
And if so, how might you have spoken or acted differently, if you had been aligned with your values?
Whatever you’re discovering is okay!
Awareness is the first step in figuring out what needs your attention.
Did you find you’re not expressing or living up to one or more of your values? Or, maybe not as often as you would like? Well, you’ve now identified an area of focus for working towards becoming your best you!
Or perhaps you’re already expressing your values fairly consistently. Congratulate yourself! Take a moment to appreciate your values as personal strengths.
Power Challenge 3 – Make Values a Habit
If you’d like to be more intentional with any one of your values, then this Power Challenge is for you. I’ve found that expressing a core value on a day-to-day basis is a lot like any other positive habit.
Related: Break Those Bad Habits!
If you’re not doing it much, you’ll have to think about it quite a bit at first. You’ll have to remind yourself of your intention. Plan your actions. And practice! Eventually, your new behaviors will become automatic. A positive new habit for the new year!
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Based on your reflections in Power Challenges 1 and 2, which one of your three values would you like to express more consistently in your life? Be sure to focus on just one at a time. Don’t try to be an overachiever here!
Once you’ve selected one of your values, ask yourself:
- Is this value really mine? Or is it what other people want FOR me? (If it isn’t really yours, go back to Power Challenge 1!)
- Why is this value important to me?
- If I express this value more often, what positive impacts would that have on my life, and on others’ lives?
Now, brainstorm four or five ways you could express this value in everyday situations. That could mean the workplace, home, community, on social media, etc. Anywhere!
Next, make a personal commitment to actually doing one of your brainstormed actions. Try to do it two or three times a week. Or more often, if appropriate! If you like “themes,” make that value your theme for the month. And if you need more time, continue focusing on it in the following month, too.
Values anchor us to our best selves
For me, my core values are like my own personal “how to do life” guidebook. They help me make good decisions. Support others. Contribute in meaningful ways. You could say my values guide my behavior.
I hope I’ve piqued your interest, too. Your values reflect what you stand for and how you want to relate to the world. If you’re not clear about your values, or you don’t express them consistently, you might feel a bit lost.
But when your actions and values are aligned, that’s when you’re living as your most authentic and best self. You’re more likely to feel great. To be proud of your efforts. And to achieve the goals you set for yourself.
My Top Ten: Come along with me!
If you’re finding yourself in new territory with personal values — or you’re simply intrigued — I hope you’ll follow my monthly blogs this year. Each month, I’ll reveal one of my top ten values.
The values that provide me a personal and professional foundation.
I’ll also offer Power Challenges and a free downloadable worksheet each month. When you “collect” all ten, you’ll have a great start to your own personal guidebook — whether you resonate with my values or choose different ones of your own.
For each value, we’ll dig into what it is. How it can look in everyday life. What positive impacts it can have. And how you can try it out in your life. Because when it comes to values, no one can tell you what’s right for you. You’ll discover that for yourself! We’ll make the journey fun, engaging and fulfilling.
Coming Up Next Month
The first value we’ll explore is Believe in Yourself. I can’t think of a better place to start. See you here next month!
Looking for a motivational speaker for your next event? Carla energizes and inspires attendees to be the best version of themselves that they can be. Contact her today.