Recently I was speaking with a business partner, we were commenting about another person, and I said: Yes I agree; I trust him totally. And afterwards as I further reflected on my statement I began to think about values. What values do I, and others in my personal and professional life hold. How are those values displayed? And for me how effectively do I live out my values?
We all hold deep seated values that are mostly unconscious and mostly unspoken. Our values are like a compass pointing to what we imagine is 'True North' - they guide our choices, our actions and our reactions to the events in our life. So how can we be sure our values are indeed guiding us in the right direction? And what exactly are values? How do we form them?
What your values are is determined by your beliefs. You won't find them out there somewhere; you'll find them in your soul. The people who are the most admired in life are those with a solid sense of their own values, people with high standards, who live by them. We all know and respect people who stand up for what they believe, even if we don't always agree with their ideas. Those people, who congruently lead lives where their philosophies and actions are one, are powerful people.
Every aspect of our lives is controlled by the magnetic pull of our values.Values are essentially a deep, unconscious belief system about what's important. They guide our every decision and, therefore, our destiny. Those who know their values and live by them become achievers in society. If we want the deepest level of fulfillment, we can have it only one way, and that is by deciding what we value most in life, what our highest values are, and then committing to live by those values every single day.
The more we reinforce any pattern of behavior, the stronger that behavior becomes. There is one single reason why people aren't effective when they make a decision to change some aspect of their life. They keep trying to change their behavior, which is the effect, instead of dealing with the belief or value that lies behind it. So the question for me is: What values must I hold to become the best person I can possibly be, to create my ultimate destiny, and impact my world?
And to add clarity to your internal conversation please answer this critical thinking question: 'What single value is so important to you that you would teach it to others as the foundation for a successful and fulfilled life? If nothing immediately comes to mind perhaps discover it this way: Brain-storm on a keyboard or on paper and identify all the personal values you hold. Now number those values to reflect the most important through to the least important. Retain the top ten and discard the rest. Re-examine and re-rank them until you are sure the top ranked value is indeed the most important one.
Then expand on that by writing a response to these sentence stems: 'The most important value in my life is......' 'Others know this is my most important value because......' 'I will share this important value with others by......' 'I know this value is leading me in the right direction because......'