Your purpose in life is a product of your values.
Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to figure out our purpose, and immediately hit a dead end. We may even start chasing a purpose that we think we are “supposed” to follow.
If we were human paper cut outs, that may just work — to stamp out our purpose.
The problem is that we easily get side-tracked. Living with intention becomes a distant, fuzzy dream with all the noise and distractions of the world.
It’s a scary place to be:
When you let the world rule you rather than letting your purpose be your measure.
To truly know our purpose is a process. Through time, our purpose might become clearer…
But purpose can change or remain a constant based on our values.
Wait… What Are My Values?!
As I sat at a coffee shop with a business coach to draft out a budget, one question had floored me:
Where and how would you invest the money you earn, based on your values?
I remember what I said clearly:
“I know I should be thinking about my business, and investing in that first, but I know that where I’m at, I would use the money for bills and to help family first,” I replied back to him.
I’m going to stop you there, and reschedule this budget meeting. I want you to find out your values and prioritize them. The budget you create is based on how you prioritize your values, not based on what you “should” or are “supposed” to invest in. When you have figured that out, we will meet again.
I felt like a bub for about 5 seconds, but immediately got over it.
He was right.
I had no idea what my values were — maybe some vague idea, but not truly a clear picture.
I needed clarity of my values.
So for homework, I decided to take the time to figure out where my values lie.
I searched up Google, and went through the 7 Steps to Discovering Your Personal Core Values as a means to narrow in on my core values.
How to Gain Clarity of Your Core Values:
For a basic overview of how to figure out your values in Scott Jeffrey’s 7 Steps to Discovering Your Personal Core Values, this is how you do it:
1. Put Yourself in the Position for Clarity
You need to create or find an environment where you are away from people and left with just yourself and you alone. Meditate, find a creek, hike up a mountain and find a peaceful spot — whatever will allow you to spend some quality time with yourself is the positional environment to analyze your values.
2. Create Your List
The easiest way to go about this is to go through a list of traits and values. Print it out or simply scan through them.
Which words pop at you? More than likely, these words align or have something to do with your values (that you’re trying to discover).
At this point, write down all the words that pop at you. Don’t think about narrowing your values down yet.
If you’re still having trouble, think about the values you experienced during peak experiences, times of trouble and “failure”.
From the list of core values, what can you not live without? What is non-negotiable?
3. Chunk it Out
Now is the time to narrow in on your values that you wrote down. Circle, star, highlight the values that can fit under the same category.
You will start to notice a pattern at this point.
4. Figure Out the Theme
By the time you’ve chunked out your values and found the pattern, you have discovered the theme.
Example words and thematic words you could use:
Independence, solitude, and autonomy → Freedom category
Honesty, truth, fairness → Integrity category
5. Narrow it Down
Continue step 4 until you have between 5 and 10 top core values.
These are the values that will prove to be the vehicle for purpose.
Rank these values in order of importance to you.
6. Bring Your Values to Life
Create action statements and turn them into value statements.
How would you live your life, if every day you lived by your values?
If you acted on your values 100% and stayed true to them?
If you’re someone who already lives by your values, I imagine you would say hands-down, you are living in an intentional, meaningful way.
And if you’ve just discovered — truly — what your core values are, how fulfilling life is going to be, to jumpstart the process of listening to your values to guide your life.
7. Test Your Values
Now that you’ve created the list, revisit them day-to-day. Get some restful sleep, stare down the list, to see if these values are true to you.
Values can change.
But core values shouldn’t.
When you forget your core values and brush them to the side, that is when you are most vulnerable to being side-tracked by the world.
But It’s Okay
Sometimes we may still be unclear of our values.
It’s easy to let the world get in the way of figuring out our purpose and living it out.
But living out our values — what we aspire to be — and turning them into action statements will help us become less distracted.
The more we live life, the more clear than ever before will our core values be.
Live Life and Find Out. 🙂
Hi there! 🙂
My name is Laura Gulbranson, but my kids call me Miss G.
I write stories about travel, teaching, and love as The Ordinary Love Story: my undercover superhero alias when I’m not teaching. Don’t tell my students. 😉
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With love. ❤