“People Just Like You” Series – Dolly Parton “You will never do a whole lot
“Personal Value is the magnet that attracts all good things into our lives. The greater our value, the greater our reward” Jim Rohn
Self-Mastery Series III – What do you stand for?
If you have followed the self-mastery series up to this point then you will notice that the discussions thus far has been about discovering one’s self and the emphasis is on YOU.
To conclude the self-awareness bit, it is important to identify with a set of personal value as they ultimately drive and guide your behaviour. If you are unaware of, or become disconnected with your values, you may end up making choices out of impulse or instant gratification rather than on solid reasoning and responsible decision-making.
Your personal value system gives you structure and purpose by helping you determine what is meaningful and important to you. It helps you express who you are and what you stand for. It defines your character.
Values matter because you’re likely to feel better if you’re living according to your values and to feel worse if you don’t. Defining your personal values and then living by them can help you to feel more fulfilled and to make choices that makes you happy, even if they don’t make sense to other people.
You’ll see how to go about doing that in the following sections;
What then is a personal value system?
If you don’t stand for something, then you will fall for anything. If you don’t have a plan, you fall into other people’s plan. If you don’t have a value system your actions and choices you make in life will be guided by your immediate need for gratification and you may never find true fulfilment in life.
So what do you stand for?
Personal values are the things that are important to us, the characteristics and behaviour that motivate us and guides our decisions. Your values are the standards of behavior on ways of doing things that you think are correct in the ways you live and work.
When your actions and decisions align with your values, then you show others that you have integrity and you become a good role model and leader and you experience peace of mind because you are confidently doing the right thing. But when you act in ways that go against your values you can feel unhappy and bad about yourself, you can make mistakes and you may find yourself behaving unethically.
Only your actions are a direct mirror of your values. Nothing else. If punctuality is important to you, you would never be late. If honesty is an important value for you, you would rather deal with the negative consequences of not lying. If you viewed frugality as desirable, you would never randomly throw money around.
Generally speaking, you can say that you can determine exactly what is important to you and what you´d rather avoid by looking at your values.
As the old wisecrack says, “I can´t hear your words, your actions speak too loudly!
Now I bet you are wondering what sort of values you hold dear. You should be, if that thought hasn’t crossed your mind already!
Working on your own values sounds pretty simple and easy in theory. You simply write down a few desirable terms that sound good to you and that you would like to have in your life. The problem is it doesn´t matter at all what we write down on a piece of paper, the only thing that counts is always which values we act out of—and those aren´t always identical with the ones we´d like to have.
This is because we rate our own behavior, our ideas and values based on our intentions, but those of the people around us exclusively based on their results. If we used the same yardstick for ourselves, many of us would watch their entire view of the world collapse like a house of cards.
But write you must! It’s the first step to coming to terms with your values. Different people have different values. You do this by identifying your values;
1 – Start by thinking of times when you were happiest. What were you doing? Why were you so happy?
2 – Remember times when you were really proud of yourself. Why did you feel you proud?
3 – Think about times you felt really fulfilled and satisfied with what you were doing. What need or desire did you meet in this situation?
4 – What makes you feel good?
5 – What’s important to you in life?
6 – If you could have any career, without worrying about money or other practical constraints, what would you do?
7 – When you’re reading news stories, what sort of story or behaviour tends to inspire you?
8- What type of story or behaviour makes you angry?
9 – What do you want to change about the world or about yourself?
Think about this – Someone who values honesty will feel good when they tell the truth. Conversely, that same person will feel bad about themselves when they don’t tell the truth. So negative emotions can also be a good guide to your values. When have you felt disappointed in yourself or like you were a fraud? What behaviour led up to that?
Once you have thought about why the situation was so memorable, make a list of values that led to this outcome, this could be anything like honesty, openness, creativity, self-reliance, belongingness, challenge, compassion or any of the hundreds of worthwhile values. You should focus on the values that most defines you.
Once you’ve come up with a list, it’s important to prioritize your values.
Why? Because prioritizing can help you get even closer to defining what’s important to you.
Your overall list of values may include quite disparate values. If you value honesty, health, kindness, adventure and half a dozen other things, it doesn’t give you a clear direction. But if you put “health” right at the top of your list, you’ll know that establishing a daily exercise routine and cutting out the junk food should be priorities for you. If “adventure” is at the top, on the other hand, maybe planning that trip for vacation will come first.
If you wrote “a loving relationship” in response to the question about what’s important to you, then “love” is an important personal value for you. If you wrote “being happy,” then you value happiness.
Others may require a bit more work, though. For example, if you’re inspired by stories of successful entrepreneurs, maybe you value determination or achievement, or maybe it’s wealth and success. If you’re inspired by activists trying to change the world, maybe you value courage or integrity, or maybe it’s justice or peace. Try to examine what exactly it is about those stories or experiences that you relate to.
Ideally, of course, you’ll live according to all the values on your list. But your time and energy are limited. Prioritising helps you to ensure that you’re spending them on the most important things that’ll have the biggest payoff in your life.
So take some time to reorder the items in your list or you could compare each item in turn and ask yourself which you would work on if you could do only one. Take your time, and keep going until you end up with a final order you’re happy with.
In brief summary
-Pick the ten most important values from your list.
– Arrange these values in hierarchical order, where your most important value is on top, your second most important value right below it, and so on.
– Repeat the whole thing with your negative values that you want to avoid at all costs.
– Check if any values on the lists are in conflict with each other (for example: freedom and security or recognition and rejection). Should you come across a conflict of values, replace the lesser important value with a motivating alternative.
– Check if your daily behavior is in harmony with your most important values. Should you come across a conflict, you have two options. First: You replace a value with a new one that fits your behavior. Second: You consciously adjust your behavior based on the value.
– Adapt your list until you have twenty values in total that reflect your biggest dreams, views and attributes and fit with your future (dream) life.
– Integrate your (new) values into your daily life and consciously pay attention to acting according to your most important values when making decisions.
– Do this until your consciously chosen value system has become an automated and habitual basis for your decisions and your behavior.
This takes time and dedication, but you must act NOW.
The more you deal with your very own individual values the more you will realize how important this bit of self-mastery is in expressing your extraordinary personality. The more you are able to fall back on strong and deeply rooted values the more you will be perceived as a leader.
There are tons of value systems to sieve through, these are but a few to help you through this process;
I trust this post was very helpful.
Look out for the next article in the self-mastery series.
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