Personal core values (2 of 3) – How to discover yours with this powerful guide.

core values - guide and template
Photo by Bud Helisson on Unsplash

In this part of the series, I will walk you through an ultimate template you can use to discover your personal core values (you can follow steps with pen/paper as well) and share several tips to help you in the process.

Recommend Reading: Personal core values (1 of 3) – What are they? And why should you have them? For in-depth learning about core values and their importance in your life.

In my experience, I have noticed that individuals who live their lives (not necessarily 100%) in alignment with values enjoy greater peace and contentment.

Reasons to Know Your Personal Core Values

We mostly do what our family, friends, peers, and society expects. We really don’t pay much attention to what we want, what is important to us. Why? We are afraid of what people will think about us. For example, if we start any business (be it blogging), its success is evaluated by how much money we make. And, if we aren’t making that much money, we are afraid of being judged or mocked for wasting time, which shakes our confidence!

I have experienced the power of values and their impact on sorting my life and helping me make the best decisions. There are many reasons to identify and articulate your core values; mine was to bring clarity to my actions and thoughts!

For me, ‘Innovation‘ is one of my core values. Living by this value brought significant changes in my life. I wasn’t happily working with fixed mindsets and limited or defined roles. It helped me push myself more towards following this value at work, this blog, and all these tools. 😎

Knowing your values can help you build a framework to redesign your life. 

– Surbhi Mahnot

I did the same, and it was very fulfilling. You should try it out as well.

Personal Core Values Template – Discover Your Purpose

The Personal Core Values Template ©theblogrelay.com

I have been doing this exercise of finding core values for a long time. Believe me, it takes multiple iterations to uncover true values. Much confusion also gets between things you value and your core values. 

Using all my practices, I have created this ultimate template which is simple yet powerful enough to push you to think deeply. It is a step-by-step and easy-to-follow template with all the detailed instructions.

Even if you don’t want to use this tool, you can follow the instructions on pen-paper. However, I would recommend using the template.

Step-1 Start with a fresh mindset.

You probably think you already know a lot about your values right before the beginning, but you don’t actually. A creative process (personal discovery is creative, trust me) makes true sense only when you get fully involved without bias or preconceived notions.

Take a deep breath and start the exercise one step at a time.

Step-2 Create a list of your personal values.

If you can just sit and start thinking and figure out your values – you are Yoda. But for most of us, it doesn’t work this way. We need to think deeper.  

You can find various core values online and select from those lists, but I would advise you not to follow the selection process but instead focus on how to discover following a template.

Tip: We do not share values. No one can. What works for me might not be what you want. The whole point of values is that you adapt to them; you uncover them.

If you are not using my tool:

Below are some prompts to help you seek your values by digging deeper:

  • Write what is important to you and why.
  • Think of good times – what made you happy and why?
  • Consider the people whom you admire or follow and why.
  • Where do you see yourself personally and professionally in the next five years (if you are looking for values that can help you in work), and why?
  • Write about any memorable experience that changed your way of thinking and why.
  • What things make you upset or angry, and why?
  • What is your definition of success, and why?

As you noticed, the most crucial aspect of discovering your values is asking “why.” The more you question your actions/thoughts/decisions, the more you can understand its rationale.

Circle the words which you think are your values from your answers. For reference use, this sheet of more than 200 values.

If you are using my tool:

The “Discovery” sheet contains carefully drafted questions about your passion, principles, past, and future. Start answering. At the end of each section is a column titled “What values are reflected here?” Mention all the values here. There is also a reference sheet in the tool containing a list of defined core values and their meaning to help you get started.

The Personal Core Values Template ©theblogrelay.com

Tip: To understand your personal core values, you need to think and think hard. It requires you to be honest (to your best knowledge).

Step-3 Sort your values.

With step 2, you should now have a list of values, maybe ten or more! The next step is to sort them so that you can identify your top five core values. A simple Yes/No check is what you need to do. But wait. How can you do this?

3.1. Group the related values

Identify which values are similar in nature. For example, 

Values like purpose, aspiration, and ambition are alike.

Awareness, alertness, mindfulness, and vigilance can be grouped into one.

3.2 Give a group name

Assign a group name to all the above-identified groups; use it instead to name your core values.

3.3 Dig deeper and question yourself

  • Is this value aligning with your current life? Or do you see it aligning in the future?
  • Is this value a foundational principle for you?
  • What benefits are you having or might have following this value?
  • Does it help with your relationships or social behavior?

Keep repeating the steps until you have identified your top five personal core values.

Remember: You can always revisit and change. As I mentioned, it will take multiple iterations to uncover true values. Don’t worry if you don’t like what you discover. Don’t try to reason yourself to change them (only because you do not want it). The main goal is to own your values first. Be it good or bad, own it. Accept it. Once you accept it, you can undoubtedly find plans on what to do next. The more honesty you maintain, the more realistic results you’ll see for yourself.

Why only five core values?

Limiting core values help us to set focus properly. It allows us space to adopt those values fully. I find living by five values at a time good enough for the count.

Values must be actionable.

If you are not using my tool:

Follow all these steps with pen and paper. Once all five values are shortlisted, put them on a separate paper to highlight.

If you are using my tool:        

Follow all these steps to think and check Yes/No for all the identified values. A small counter will show you how many you have selected and rejected. A separate board highlights your chosen five core values!

Tip: You may or may not agree to all of them but give it some time, let the thoughts settle in, and then think again if you need to. It’s okay to revise and change.

Step-4 Define your value statement.

Firstly, congratulations on finding your core values. I hope you discovered them with utmost sincerity, and they must align with your deep desires, wishes, and things you have always wanted to do/are doing.

Words are nothing without a proper meaning.

– Surbhi Mahnot

What is a value statement?

A value statement defines how you intend to live by your personal core values. What do these values mean to you? 

Why define a value statement?

By defining a statement, we articulate our understanding. It makes it easier for us to connect better with the values and adapt them to our lifestyles. Additionally, keep it very short and precise to make it more relatable.

For example: if passion is your core value, then your value statement could be – “Passion – to be able to chase dreams.”

If you are not using my tool:

Create a table with two columns – values and value statements, respectively. Copy your top five core values and define your statement.

If you are using my tool:

The “Definition” sheet allows you to define a value statement. It also allows you to categorize your identified values around life’s fundamentals. Based on what you feel about aligning with your values in your present life, the tool suggests the next steps you can take to improve from here. The best part is a chart showing you your probable life’s priority. It’s interesting to know!

Step-5 Evaluating identified values.

Though this step is technically not a part of identifying core values, I find it essential to include it along with these steps. How do you live by these values, and what difficulties are you facing? Are these values making any difference to you? Is it going well or bad? 

All these questions are essential to keep working towards our core values. That’s why I included this as a step here.

In this series’s third and last article, I will discuss this step in detail – how to live by your values. 

Try to discover your personal core values using the template. It’s simple, effective, and available in MS Excel and Google Sheets, so you get started immediately with your comfort spreadsheet.

Why should you consider using this approach?

When values, thoughts, feelings, and actions are in alignment, a person becomes focused and character is strengthened.”

– John C. Maxwell

You go by pen-paper or by my tool. Either way, learning about what you truly believe in is essential. These steps are straightforward to follow and make the whole process engaging and intriguing.

It is easier said than done. I understand it. Don’t worry if you cannot get it in one attempt or if your values are not aligning with your thoughts, or if you are unable to sort them. It happens. Take it slowly, and you’ll reach your goal eventually. 

Feel free to contact me in case of any difficulties using the tool. I intend to arrange a workshop around this template to guide you on how to discover your core values by working together. Let me know if you would be interested in this workshop.

Surbhi Mahnot

Surbhi Mahnot

Surbhi Mahnot is the owner of this blog. She has work experience of almost 10 years in the IT industry in varied roles. At present, she is working full-time on this blog. She is passionate about the importance of personal growth in individual and work life, which reflects in her writing too. Travelling, reading, and shopping are her core interest besides work.
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