How well do you know yourself? What are your values? Your passions? Do you have a clear and defined purpose? What are the things you would like to change in the world? What are you good at? What are your best attributes? These are questions we should have answers to, in the least they should be the things we ask ourselves every single day.
Identifying and understanding your values is a challenging and important exercise. Your personal values are a central part of who you are – and who you want to be. By becoming more aware of these important factors in your life, you can use them as a guide to make the best choice in any situation. Some of life's decisions are really about determining what you value most. When many options seem reasonable, it's helpful and comforting to rely on your values – and use them as a strong guiding force to point you in the right direction.
Start By Defining Your Values
When you define your personal values you discover what's truly important to you. A good way of starting to do this is to look back on your life and identify when you felt really good and really confident that you were making good choices.
Step 1: Identify the times when you were happiest: Ask yourself what you were you doing and find examples from both your career and personal life. Were you with other people and who and think about what other factors contributed to your happiness.
Step 2: Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied: Use examples from both work and personal life and think about what need or desire was fulfilled and how and why the experience gave your life meaning.
Step 3: Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness and fulfilment
Use the following list of common personal values to help you get started and choose the 10 values you cherish the most.
Which of these 10 values are most important to you? Pick your top 3. Some may naturally combine. For example, if you value philanthropy, community, and generosity, you might say that service to others is one of your top values.
Step 4: Reaffirm your values: Check your top 3 values and make sure they fit with your life and your vision for yourself. Ask yourself do these values make you feel good about yourself, are you proud of your top three values, would you be comfortable and proud to tell your values to people you respect and admire and do these values represent the things you support.
Most of us have no clue what to do with our lives. We exist on this earth for some undetermined period of time. During that time we do things. Some of these things are important. Some of them are unimportant. Those important things give our lives meaning and happiness. The unimportant ones kill time and zap our zest for life.
When you consider your values in finding your purpose, you can be sure to keep your sense of integrity and approach decisions with confidence and clarity. You'll also know that what you're doing is best for your current and future happiness and fulfilment.
Happiness is a skill - why don't we train for it?
"Happier people are markedly more satisfied with their jobs than less happy people. Research suggests that more happiness actually causes more productivity and higher income. Developing more positive emotion in our lives will build friendship, love, better physical health, and greater achievement" Martin Seligman.
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You can also connect further to your values with one of our 7 Minute Meditations...