Companies pride themselves on having values. Back when we went into offices, our company values would be on display for all to see. These values would be as simple as a photograph and a word or incredibly ornate murals that give life to what that company believes.
Really good companies use these values as their north star for making decisions.
But what about individuals?
Why don’t we display our values in such a way? Is it because it seems silly? Or is it because we don’t really know what they are?
Companies spend days, weeks, and hire consultants to determine their values. This discovery seems to be less intentional for individuals. But why?
We should be more intentional regarding our personal values. Our values should guide our decision-making. According to some sources, we make an average of 35,000 decisions per day. Not all of them conscious. And, each and every decision compounds upon the previous.
We’re living a “chose your own adventure book” every minute of every day.
When we make good or better decisions, we naturally advance ourselves toward happiness and our goals.
So what is our framework for making better decisions? Sure, we could be more mindful when we reach a decision point — that’s a good start. But now that you’re mindful of a decision to be made, what do you judge that decision against? Do you look back at previous experiences? Do you assess your emotional state? Do you ask others to provide input?
Those are all good steps to take for making good decisions.
No matter how you engage those evaluative queries, the most important step in the process is to run your decisions through your values.
How do you identify your values?
You can start by building a list of value words, understanding their definition, and ranking them based on your beliefs and priorities.
The next step requires a little more work. For that, we like Brené Brown’s “Living Into Our Values” exercise (p. 30). This flows from Brown’s “Daring to Lead” book but you don’t need the book to use this worksheet.
Give the exercise a try. Take your time and don’t rush the exercise. Even if you have your values identified, this is a great exercise to run your values through to test their validity and priority as your life is today.
Less is more when it comes to having core personal values. This will allow for more efficient and effective decision-making.
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