What do you value?

Sounds like a loaded question, doesn’t it? What is it that you truly value in life?

• Family?
• Job?
• Security?
• Freedom?
• Usually all of the above, and then some.

But the crux of the question on values is: which do you value most and to what measure? At the core of your personality and your being are your values. They dictate what is most important, both in life and in business. They motivate you and direct you in your goals. It is essential, therefore, for you to examine and weigh those things you value most in life, for they help sculpt your purpose. You literally need to make a physical list which clarifies what you find most worthwhile and rewarding in life. You may even want to take this a step further and write your values in the form of a mission statement: a guiding declaration of your values and principles.

Another important reason to focus on values is to analyze its relationship to your lifestyle and business practices. Once you have identified your values and articulated them, hold those values up to your daily life and work. Are they parallel? For example, if you value physical fitness and health but haven’t been to the gym in six weeks, one of the things you regard most in life has been cast aside, and you are certain to be unhappy in the long run. To quote Ron Willingham in INTEGRITY SELLING, in order to be successful, “your purpose must be congruent with, driven by, and sustained by your values.” If one is out of balance with the other, you can’t achieve all you hope for or deserve.

Also remember that identifying and articulating your values isn’t enough. You must act upon those values in your daily life in order to fulfill your purpose. To say that you value honesty is both admirable and prudent. However if you do not conduct your business in an honest manner, do not make full disclosure, say, or turn the other way when in the face of an ethical dilemma, your behavior belies what you say you value. Ultimately you disengage from relationships because of trust issues, lose business, and disappoint yourself.

Values are at the center of your being and have the power to shape your behaviors: toward others, toward success, toward happiness. Stephen Covey reminds us in THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE that “the ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of a proactive person.” Proactive people act from an internal compass. They achieve because they keep those values in mind when they make choices and decisions.

Identify, articulate, and act upon your values. They will help you form your goals and accomplish your purpose.