6 Minute read
by Damian Reid
What represents your core values?
Before answering this question, we want to define what core values mean.
Core values constitute the fundamental beliefs you have about your life and Key Life Areas. They guide your behaviours, decisions, and actions. They impart a sense of purpose and self-worth. They remind you what’s important to you and what you desire more of as you create your Freedom Lifestyle.
When you recognize what’s important to you, you can live in alignment with those values. This leads to greater fulfillment, clarity and self-awareness. This self-awareness gives you access to discovering your life purpose or mission. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Your life purpose is something we cover in Step 1 of the 7 Steps to The Freedom Lifestyle™ system. Discover more about your purpose or mission by downloading our free Mission Exercise template
Let’s get back to your core values. Identifying and living from these brings you back to your centre. They remind you who you are and who you represent in the world. They’re gentle guide rails to hold us on our path and aid us in choosing actions that align with what we need in life. When you love what you do there is usually a corresponding alignment with your values.
Examples of common personal core values include honesty, integrity, kindness, respect, and self-improvement. Honesty and integrity refer to embodying truth and doing the correct thing. Kindness involves being caring and compassionate towards others. Respect entails treating others with dignity and consideration. Self-improvement involves a focus on continuous learning and growth.
Each individual’s core values will be unique. Yours should align with your goals and aspirations. It is also important that they are not only words but that you practice and exhibit them in your daily life.
Superpower 1 is that core values can serve to reduce stress. Herbert Benson is an early researcher on stress and relaxation. He discovered how “inner value” language can reduce physical and emotional stress. Researchers at UCLA discovered that reflecting on personal values lowers your stress response.
Superpower 2 – connecting with your core values boosts decision-making and problem-solving skills. David Creswell and his associates studied college students experiencing high stress. When they focused on their significant values, they solved as many problems as students in a low-stress group. Acknowledging and writing about values is a protective factor against the harmful effects of excessive stress.
Superpower 3 is that your core values can inspire better health habits. A large-scale survey of over 15,000 people was conducted in 11 countries. People achieved positive changes in these habits when becoming a parent or when renewing an emotional link. These turnarounds may have reflected the values of “family,” “self-care,” “community,” and/or “love.”
I could go on and on quoting research. But, I don’t need you, non-math geeks, to have your eyes glazing over. I will tell you the rest of the 6 superpowers associated with living your core values.
Superpower 4 is that your core values can rev up your self-will so you can persist in difficult tasks.
Superpower 5 is that core values can assist you to act more assertively.
With Superpower 6, your core values can help facilitate you communicating with more compassion. Do you need to act in a more caring way toward others? Remind yourself of core values like “compassion” and “respect” to prevent you from aggressive behaviour. Reflecting on your values can produce an inner state of intense consciousness and calm. This state can aid you in listening more to others and choosing your words with tender loving care.
Superpower 7 – remembering your core values helps you make wiser career and work choices.
Superpower 8 is that recognizing and acting on your core values bolsters your self-confidence.
Finally, Superpower 9 is that acknowledging and sharing your values enhances relationship intimacy.
These superpowers supply us with plenty of reasons to discover and live our lives from our core values. Can you see the importance this has in the creation of your Freedom Lifestyle? It is difficult to imagine anyone living their ideal life if they are not acting consistently with their values.
As you travel through life, your values shift. For example, early in your career, you could prize learning, accomplishment, or flexibility. As you advance, you begin to value teaching, collaboration, or stability. What’s important to you will alter over time, as will your values.
Identifying your core values will remind you of what’s important to you. Or, what you desire more of – such as work-life balance, abundance or wisdom.
Your core values aid you make good decisions when things aren’t proceeding easily in your life. When times are tough or money is tight, it can be “easy” to settle on laying off several employees. Or to choose to purchase cheaper equipment or supplies. Those don’t represent “bad” choices unless your values embody people or quality. Then those decisions fall out of alignment with what’s important to you as a leader.
You will recognize choices out of alignment with your values – you feel it in your gut. You may feel a sense of defeat or feel you’re stuck. Or you may even feel you are a phoney. I experienced this at least once in my life. It happened when I took a leadership role where my core values were the opposite of the company’s.
Recognizing you’ve decided in alignment with your core values is less obvious. You’ll feel more in flow or not notice anything at all! You could state that when you live according to your values, you experience freedom.
In this world of comparison, it’s easy to see other people’s lives and need to follow them. If you’re in an organization where you feel out of place, it can be equally tantalizing to attempt to copy other leaders to fit in.
You are not meant to live as anyone or everyone else. There is only one YOU. There will only ever be this one YOU. No one will ever come close to your unique experiences, strengths, values, skills, and gifts.
Why pass all that up to exist as someone you’re not?
Your core values serve you to remain true to who you represent and how you show up in the world. Acting as someone you’re not is robbing the world of your genius and compassion.
Keeping in touch with your values is a lifelong dedication. It is important to continue revisiting them. This is true particularly if you get unbalanced and you cannot put your finger on why.
Follow these 5 ways to effectively implement and uphold your core values:
1. Reflect On and Clarify Your Core Values. To set in place and uphold personal core values, it is important to first identify them. You can practice this through self-reflection and exploring what is significant to you. You can also download and complete our Values Exercise. Once you have identified these, it is helpful to write them down. Maintain them somewhere visible as a reminder. I review mine every morning before leaving bed as a part of my Morning Ritual (part of the structure I teach in our Ultimate Performance and Freedom workshop
2. Practice Mindfulness and Self-Reflection. To live in alignment with your core values, it is important to check in with yourself. Ensure that your actions and decisions embody what you believe in. Perform this through mindfulness practices such as meditation or journaling. These can aid you in better realizing and connecting with them.
3. Seek Out Opportunities to Live in Alignment with Your Core Values. Search for ways to adjust your daily actions and decisions with your core values. If one of these is kindness, see opportunities to embody being kind and compassionate in your daily life.
4. Surround Yourself with People Who Share Similar Core Values. Surrounding yourself with these people makes it easier to uphold your own. Search for friends, colleagues, and mentors who share your core values. Find people who can support and encourage you in living in conjunction with them.
5. Communicate Your Core Values to Others. Sharing your core values with others can serve to reinforce them. It also ensures that you are living in alignment with them. It can produce a sense of accountability. When others know your beliefs, they can hold you to them.
Your core values represent fundamental beliefs. These guide your actions and decisions. They shape your character and function as a compass for how you live your life. You need to own a clear set of these aligned with your goals and aspirations. More crucial is that you actively practice them. Having a strong set of these provides undeniable benefits. Don’t miss out on the chance for fulfillment. Don’t miss the opportunity for improved relationships and greater trust and credibility with others.
Damian Reid is the CEO of Damian M. Reid International (www.damianmreid.com). He is a Performance and Freedom Lifestyle Mentor, Coach, and International Speaker. Damian has a reputation for rapidly assessing what is missing across the 12 Key Life Areas™. He defined these in his Amazon #1 international (US, Canada and Australia) bestselling book. He is the creator of The 7 Steps to The Freedom Lifestyle™ system. His effective, unconventional solutions produce significant breakthroughs in clients’ businesses and personal lives. Damian is one of 225+ Full Focus Planner Certified PROs in the world (fullfocusmentor.com).