The Value of Knowing Your Values

“Who. Are. You?” -Disney in Alice in Wonderland

If you can’t answer that question you’re not alone. When I had my first coaching session with my mentor she gave me a sheet of values and asked me to choose my top ones. The difficulty was that I didn’t know what values were mine, my parents, my friends, my employers; they were all mixed up in a big ball of knots.

A picture of a picture that reads "What you use represents your values.                 Photo by e on Unsplash
A picture of a picture that reads “What you use represents your values. Photo by e on Unsplash

Finding Values

There are many ways to find your values. Carlton provides an informative free list of values with guidance on how to find them. When I first began to find mine, I noticed they were often behind my anger. As an example, If I was waiting in line and someone allowed a friend to cut in the front it made me feel angry. My value of fairness was being violated and the anger I felt was the result.

Another way to tell is by watching the people around you. If there is something they do that makes you feel bad, chances are it is going against your values. If they do something that makes you feel joy and happiness it is a sign it is a value of yours. Perhaps you are standing in line and someone pays for a homeless person’s meal and you feel there is love in the world after all; you may have a value of social justice or food security for all.

Business Values

The next step in my discovery was to realize that I wasn’t working for a business that encompassed my values. At times, my manager expected me to break ethical violations to sell products and to turn a blind eye to government regulations, such as email rules and regulations. Each time I did what was asked of me, I felt terrible. I ended up quitting my job and returning to school. It was not an easy decision but one that helped me to feel good about myself and sleep better at night.


Holding hands
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Communities have values and each member comes with their their own. Sometimes life can be messy when many people come together with varying values. If you volunteer, you may choose a cause that has like values, such as the food bank if food security is important to you or an art class if providing children with art is a value.

Working with a Life Coach

Corporations benefit from having employees that know and honor their values. When people are working in line with who they, in a business that values them, they are more fulfilled. A quote from Prof. Dr. Petra Speier-Werner of the Civil Society Academy sums it up:

People work smarter and are more satisfied when they invest their time and energy in an organisation and the respective tasks, if they believe in the vision and mission of this organisation and if they share similar values. The more people can align their tasks with their personal vision and values, the more likely they see their work as a calling and not as a burden to earn money.

The Applied Positive Psychology Learning Institute says: “Understanding our values can help us live a life that is more meaningful and in alignment with what we desire and believe is right.”

Where ever you are on your journey in life getting to know your values better is likely to be a good investment of your time. Feel free to start slowly, taking in the world around you or if you prefer, dive right in and discover more about your own values.