Food for thought

4 Tips for Establishing Your Core Values

By April 30, 2020 No Comments

You’ve probably heard it before and will hear it again, but for the last 7 weeks, many of us feel like we are living in the “upside down” from “Stranger Things”. 

And while the impact of COVID-19 will be massive and affect us for years to come, we now find ourselves planning our re-emergence. Just like we had to learn to “stay at home” and adjust, we will have to do the same once we start getting back into the world.

We didn’t get to really choose how we went into quarantine, it felt like we blinked and we were there. But now that we know we will be starting to come out of this soon, we are presented with a unique opportunity. We get to start planning how we come out of this. We have an opportunity to come out as better, stronger, more thoughtful humans. 

We so often live our lives on auto-pilot and auto-pilot was taken away. With some things gone and new habits developed over the last 7 or so weeks you get to decide what stays and what goes. And when deciding how you want to act and who you want to be moving forward, you need to know your own set of core values.

 

Core values are your set of personal rules and guidelines for how you navigate the events, situations and people you encounter in life.

Why are your core values important? Because life isn’t black and white. We can be thrown into tough situations from time to time, COVID-19 is a perfect example. Situations where the right thing to do isn’t obvious. Knowing which values are most important to you before these situations arise will help you make better decisions about what is next in our lives as we rebuild.

If you have never sat down to write out your core values, it can seem like a daunting task. That’s why we have come up with some tips and questions to ask yourself so that you can identify the things most important to you.

Find your zen.

When you are sitting down to think about these, get comfortable. It shouldn’t be done too quickly and should be well thought out. 

So plan to take some time and be able to sit with your thoughts. Maybe that means going for a run beforehand or meditating. Maybe it means sitting down on your porch with a glass of wine. But allow yourself the time and space to relax and focus on this.

Examine your background.

Like many things passed from generation to generation, our core values are often similar or reflective of those who raised us.

Think about all of the things passed down from your grandparents to your parents. I bet that a lot of the things passed down to you are similar, if not the same.

And this can also lead to thinking about what values you would want to pass onto the next generation. Whether you have children or not, your influence and values will influence generations to come.

Ask yourself the tough questions.

Who do you look up to? What values guide their actions?

How do I respond to obstacles and hardships?

How do I treat those around me? During good times and bad.

Brainstorm.

From here, you’ve probably started to paint a very clear picture of not only the person you are, but the person you want to be.  

Take that pen and paper (Yes, I think actually writing these is important) and begin listing values that come to you. All the while, keep in mind that you are using your background, past choices, and influences to form this list.

If you end up with an extensive lineup, that’s ok! It may be necessary to weed through your list and concentrate on the 5 or 10 values that are most important to you. Don’t be afraid to put your list down, reflect, and come back to it another time. This is often the best way to make important, potentially life changing decisions.

How will you emerge from this time? You have all the tools to become the best version of yourself. You just have to use them.

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