Smart companies filter actions through a clearly-defined set of values. They do this because they know that there is a price to pay when they don't base business decisions on what's most important. Business moves quickly and it is so easy to get derailed or let external forces determine your business decisions. The sad result of this is that you end up feeling that your business has lost direction, meaning or purpose. Not to mention clients and customers.
If you feel out of control, overwhelmed or just plain ticked off that you've committed to other people's priorities that aren't also your own, chances are you are not honoring your values. And your business - certainly your life - feels out of whack.
So it's vital that you know what values are most important to you, because your values provide you with a way to filter business decisions. As a simple example, let's say you own a running and walking shoe retail store and you have running and walking clubs that meet weekly. And let's say that one of your top three values is healthy living. You probably wouldn't ask a candy or cookie company to sponsor your weekly running clubs. It's not in alignment with your values and it would likely tarnish if not derail your reputation.
If you are struggling with to uncover your core values, use these helpful hints:
- Think of an experience where you felt that you had the best time of your life. Chances are you feel that way because your values were being honored.
- Think of an experience that you felt was awful. Chances are your values were being violated.
- You may feel that some things that are traditionally considered values are actually the results of living your values. For example, perhaps "family" isn't one of your core values, but rather a result of living your values.
- Selecting your top values is not about how perfectly you are currently living them. Your core values don't change much throughout your life. Perhaps you just haven't been honoring them lately. Don't judge yourself.
You will know when you're getting close to uncovering your top core value when you feel you just simply couldn't live without it.