Personal core values (1 of 3) – What are they? And why you should have them?

We often hear about core values in professional terms. We all know that every company has its values, and on a timely basis, we get emails showing how the company is shaping to live by the defined values. But do you know that values also hold equal importance in personal settings?

Your beliefs, behavior, and choices are all driven by your values. Confused?

  • Sometimes we feel content with small successes, while other times, even significant achievements don’t make us happy.
  • At times even a tiny mistake bothers us, and sometimes even a big mistake doesn’t matter.
  • Sometimes we find time despite our hectic schedule, and sometimes we cannot find any time to do something meaningful. Wonder why?

That is all because of our personal values. The better we understand our values, the more precise our sense of direction in life. We know what purpose we’re trying to fulfill.

Personal core values are the core principles that dictate our behavior and actions. 

This article explores the meaning of personal core values and why you need to know yours! Since this topic is very elaborate, I thought of dividing it into a three-part series, and this is the very first part of it.

What are personal core values?

Values reflect who we are and what we want to become. They are our deepest beliefs and the guiding principles that support us to be on our chosen path. Our behavior, actions, decisions, and everything are driven by what we call our personal core values. Our parents, teachers, friends, family, and experiences are available sources of gaining them. As everything in life is not constant, so are our values; they also change according to our priorities.

We exhibit our values in almost every decision, whether it is big or small. How?

  • We believe in work-life balance, so we find a job in a company that can provide us with that.
  • When money is the priority, we find a job that pays well irrespective of working hours or culture.
  • We value family time; we ensure to meet once a week despite our busy schedules.

All of these are our personal core values.

Examples

You can find a list of core values online; a few of them are:

  • Adaptability
  • Balance
  • Caring
  • Diversity
  • Loyalty
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Health
  • Happiness
  • Money
  • Adventure
  • Religious
  • Teamwork
  • Service
  • Courage

You should have a maximum of five core values to live by. I assume you will only get confused if you have values beyond that.

If, by now, you got interested in identifying your personal values, why not discover your own values with this engaging and powerful tool!

Why is it important to know your values?

Ever happened to you that your close ones keep complaining about your inconsistent behavior, or you are not living up to your promises?

That’s because we think and say we value these things, but our actions never back what we say. For example, If I say I believe social media harms our mental health and I keep refreshing my feed, there is a disconnect. Why? Because I have no clarity if what I think is right or what I do is correct.

Actions never lie.

What we speak can be a lie, but what we do cannot be a lie. The disconnect happens because we try to force ourselves to behave like someone we wish to be.

It can happen because of either of the two reasons:

  1. We don’t like who we are, and to cover that up; we wish to have other values
  2. We don’t know our personal values and keep trying to copy others or what we think how we should be

For example, when we have “relationships” as our core value, our activities and lifestyle automatically tend to fulfill this value. We regularly invite people for gatherings and try to connect with them. We spend money to buy cutlery for the next party, prepare all the fancy recipes by ourselves, and don’t sweat a bit. Why? Because we value relationships. If not, I bet you cannot do this behavior regularly.

When we align our life with our values, we find life becoming more peaceful, positive, and, most important – satisfactory.

Surbhi Mahnot

Benefits of knowing personal core values

Recognizing our values can help us align our life and make them more meaningful. Here are some additional benefits to knowing our core values:

  • A sense of purpose – We know what is more important to us and how we can be true to ourselves. It keeps us motivated.
  • More reliable – As we follow our values, we keep doing specific actions which increase the reliability and trust of others in us for those things
  • Better decision-making – Understanding our priorities and thought processes gives us more insights to make decisions. For example, with clear values, we can decide which company we see ourselves working in instead of following what our peers generally do.
  • Sailing in tough times – Our values don’t let us make un-worthy decisions for ourselves in tough times. They help us stand firm and not let others take advantage of our situation.
  • Getting back on track – When we feel lost or unhappy with our current lifestyle, work, or anything, our values help us get back on track. Re-deciding priorities push us towards achieving our goals and dreams.

Why are some values better than others?

Everyone is different, and so are our core values. There are multiple values, and they cannot be right or wrong. But there are positive and negative sides to adapting to certain values.

We should not claim “violence or manipulation or greed” as our values as they are destructive for both ourselves and others.

Taking reference from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” here are words of caution in identifying values:

  • Do not engage in values that harm others and disrupt harmony.
  • It would be best if you did not decide on your values purely based on emotions.
  • You should be in control of your values, not vice-versa.

Our values should help us grow and not hurt others. 

What’s next?

Now that you know the what and why aspects of personal core values, the next step is to discover your own.

Meanwhile, here is an interesting video to learn more about why personal core values are so important:

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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