Purpose – Activity: Map Your Values
Knowing what your values are is crucial for discovering purpose and creating a personal mission statement of what you do and why. Knowing your values creates clarity and focus, and helps you to always be communicating the value that you add. Values also help you develop character, choose meaningful goals, be mindful about your choices, focus your soul attention, and empower you to live authentically and with integrity. If you are ever uncertain about what to do, your values will guide you like a compass to point you in the right direction. We will look at different meanings of the word “value” and some ways to discover them.
“Value is a word that carries multiple levels of meaning. The ultimate measure of our effectiveness is the value we create. The ultimate measure of our satisfaction is the value we feel. The ultimate measure of our character is the values we embody.” -Tony Schwartz in “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working.”
- the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
- a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.
Map Your Values is part five of the Discover U series, part of a self-assessment to uncover hidden talents, and one of the weekly activities for a Year of Personal Development. Find a printable form for self-assessment at the Brand and Purpose Toolkit to record your top values as you explore the resources below.
How to clarify values
- You can simply choose words that resonate with you from lists of values. Download the printable pdf Map Your Values for lists of value words. More lists of value words can be found at the Character and Values Pinterest board.
- Take a quiz – try one from a list at developgoodhabits.com.
- Do a card sort – rank value words in order from least to most important to you. Sort value words with this Flippity, or use an online value card sort from thegoodproject.org. A printable and pdf version can be found there too.
Core values are the values that are of highest importance to you. They are your guiding principles. Some values have intrinsic worth and are fairly universal among cultures and religion. The Six Pillars of Character from Character Counts: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, & Citizenship, are examples of core values. See Develop Character and passiton.com for more core values as well as some personal values.
Personal values are subjective and can vary. You might place a high value on art or humor, while others may value something else. Different personality types may tend to have different values.
Personal Qualities are positive character traits, sometimes called character strengths or virtues. There are resources to identify personal qualities you possess at viacharacter.org and letitripple.org. There are tools to explore personal qualities at List.ly: try a traits quiz to identify your personal qualities or use a Johari Window to ask others. The personal qualities below are part of the skills identified as necessary for succeeding in work by the Secretaries Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS). Self-management skills are personal qualities often sought after by employers. Learn more at Develop Work Skills.
Work values are the things you value in a work environment. Identify your work values at careeronestop.org or onetonline. There is an online card sort for work values at Capella University, and more at the List.ly links. See a list of work values at What’s the Motivation? and match careers to work values at onetonline.org.
A value statement is a mission statement or a Unique Selling Proposition that pinpoints what you do and why. It is a concise, clear statement of the special benefit that you provide. It is the power tool for Purpose, one of the Four Ps of Positive Shift that organize the 12 practices that have been shown by positive psychology to increase happiness.
Goal values are words that describe the answer to the question “In this life area, what would make my life awesome?” More detail about choosing goal value words follows.
Goal values – add value to your life with your goals.
It can be helpful to think about what would add value to your life in different areas when choosing goals. Another way to put this is: “What would make your life awesome?” The words that come to mind when you ask yourself this question are the qualities that will most improve your life if they are increased – your goal values. A more in-depth look at your energy levels in various areas can pinpoint which areas are priorities to focus on.
Learn how to choose goals that will add value with this short video explaining the Map Your Values exercise from my eBook, “Get Goaling.”
Choosing goals that are your top priority is one of the skills you need to learn to begin setting and achieving your goals.
This simple exercise from my eBook “Get Goaling,” makes it easy.
To get started, you need key values.
The value words I’m talking about are qualities that will most improve your life if increased.
For this exercise, print the Map Your Values pdf from the link above, and there’s also a link to a list of value words if you need ideas.
It’s pretty easy to pick a word to answer the question: “What will fill my life with value?” for each life area.
For example, in the physical area, the word “health” might come to mind.
If your health is good, you may think of words that add more value, like “strength” or “energy.”
Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which shows that once basic needs are met, we move up to higher needs.
Look for a word that is realistic, and doesn’t limit you too much.
Once you have a word for each life area, mark the current level of each value, and you quickly see which areas to focus on.
The good news is many goals are already known to increase some values, so there’s no need to re-invent the wheel.
If you choose the word “health” for the physical area, clearly that value can be increased by following a healthy diet and increasing the amount of exercise you get. Make your goals SMART.
Some goals may be uniquely your own and require more planning.
Learn how to do this and more with the Daily PlanIt eBook, “Get Goaling.”
Looking at all these types of values is the first step on the path to a meaningful journey.
More ways to clarify values
- The Pave Your Life Roadmap at Idea Sandbox is a great tool for clear purpose.
- Core Values Assessment from “the Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy.
- More resources at Clues to Purpose, Discover U Part Five, and Develop Character.
This is one of the weekly activities for a Year of Personal Development.
See more tools at the Brand and Purpose Toolkit