Values are what we find meaningful in life. They are what we care about and consider to be important. Values are different for everyone, and they change over time.
Values are different from goals. Put crudely, goals can be “achieved,” whereas values are more like compass directions that we want to head in. Your values will dictate who you are, what you stand for, how you behave, what work you do, and how you work alongside others.
For example, we might have a goal of getting the children to school on time, which sits within the value of “being a good parent,” or the goal of going for a jog while placing value upon exercise and physical health.
When you can align your principles and your values with your life—what you do and how you do it—you will be consistent and authentic, and that can bring enormous satisfaction. When you believe in what you are doing and why you are doing it, you will feel inspired to take action. Inspiration leads to action. Your values will govern your actions and determine your success.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that wealth, power, and status will bring you happiness, security, fulfillment, attention, popularity, and the partner of your dreams. People achieve these things and discover they are no happier, no more secure, no more confident, no more fulfilled and, in keeping with their miserable state, they have failed to attract their dream partner. It is a very lonely and isolating place, sat at the top of a big tree. They achieved their practical goal but still failed to meet their emotional needs and value set.
So, what is important to you and what would make for a meaningful life?
- What kind of work is valuable to you?
- What qualities do you bring as a part of the team?
- What kind of relationships do you want to have with family and friends?
- What values do you have regarding your physical well-being?
- What kind of parent or partner do you want to be?
- What kind of skills would you like to develop?
- What relaxes you, and what do you enjoy doing in your time off?
- What kind of environment do you want to be part of?
The sooner you begin to explore and identify what you stand for—understand what really motivates you—then you’ll begin moving toward greater consciousness, self-awareness, achievements, and outcomes.