How to Define Your Values
Our values control nearly everything we do and the decisions we make every day – both personally and professionally. My values like family, integrity, responsibility, diversity, independence, happiness and even play can have a profound affect on how I live every day.
My values, like your values, are guidelines to be used to make decisions no matter if we are experiencing great times or are on a bumpy stretch of road. Unfortunately, there are those, like Bernie Madoff, that compromise these guidelines, to achieve something else at the shameful expense of others.
In making any type of decision, try to step back and ask three questions based on your values:
- What am I thinking?
- How am I feeling?
- What am I doing?
These three questions can serve as catalysts to understanding how your values come into play and can help you further define what they mean to you.
Defining values is such an important piece of discovering your beliefs. Someone could value money or power, for example, but it might mean something entirely different to one person and then to another.
For me, I value independence, which I define as not letting anything get in the way of being able to dust myself off and get back in the game despite life or work challenges. I also value integrity, which I define as having inner-respect for myself in navigating uncertainty. These two values are very important to me as I overcome and persevere, but could be easily defined by others as something different.
These two values of independence, integrity along with diversity have particularly helped me make some very challenging decisions when it comes to my health.
I have Cerebral Palsy, which is a lifelong physical disability that severely affects the way I walk and my motor functions on the right side of my body.
When I was very young, my wonderful parents taught me that the values of independence and integrity. These are still at the center of how I stay happy and succeed in our world. These values led me to have the desire, determination and patience the countless times I have figuratively and literally fallen because my disability presented a new set of challenges through the years.
Sometimes I don’t do as well as I should, but my life is not about another value of achieving perfection. No one can argue that all of us make mistakes or fall…sometimes every day. Applying my values usually allows me to overcome, find solutions and move forward.
Such thought processes have led me to having integrity for others and myself even though I was treated differently and even bullied - especially in my school years. Through these tough years I was able to step back and use my values system to make the best decisions for me.
This same values system has allowed me in my mid-50s to continue to stay mostly in control, happy, and be the best husband, father, friend and co-worker I can be. By applying my values consistently, I have achieved more than I ever thought was possible in my world.
To discover your values, or define the one’s you already have, click here to begin your journey of making values based decisions in all aspects of your life and work.
I hope you are enjoying life today!