3 Reasons Your Values Matter — And How to Find Them
Last quarter I took a wonderful and heart centered course at Stanford called Living on Purpose. Maybe it resonated with me because the curriculum was similar to my course, Revisioning You. Or maybe it was so satisfying because the Professor was heart centered and creative. A bonus of the course was being an intergenerational mentor to three students. I learned so much from the three wonderful women I mentored.
But what I want to share with you about Living on Purpose, is that the first exercise was identifying your values and defining what they mean to you. I’ve written about Values before, and I keep coming back to this topic. I believe knowing what you value and what that means to you is a great way to live your life with purpose, meaning and joy.
Can you list your values? Can you define them? Can you see how they show up in your life?
It’s easy to be reflexive and say family or love, but getting really clear on what your values are and what they mean to you takes some thought. The good news is that getting really clear on your values can make a huge difference in flourishing and living a life you love.
Why Values Matter
Values bring clarity and energy to our lives. They help us define what a “good life” looks like. We can’t do everything, and values help us make decisions.
- Values add energy and engagement. When you act based on your values, you’ll find yourself energized and engaged. Often when we find ourselves dreading things or feeling drained, it means we aren’t working in alignment with our values. As you choose more actions that fit your values, you may feel more connected and vibrant.
- Values bring clarity to decision making. In this way, values can serve as a filter. As you make choices about where to spend your time and money, ask: How does this fit with my values?
If nature is a value, you might choose camping vacations instead of city destinations. If learning is a value, you might donate to a scholarship fund or the library instead of an animal rights organization.
When somebody asks you to be on a board or make a donation or get involved, ask yourself if it hits one of your values. If it doesn’t it’s probably not a great fit. You’re more likely to be energized by something that works with your values.
- Values define a “good life.” What makes a meaningful life for me may well be different from what makes one for you. A good life may be less about the specifics of where you live, what your job title is, and who you know, and more about how you choose to live. Does your good life include kindness, generosity, or gratitude? Does it focus on achievement, learning, or adventure? There is no wrong answer if you are true to yourself about your values.
How to Find Your Values
When is the last time you thought about your values? If you’ve never done a values exercise, I encourage you to try it. You can start here 3 Steps to Having a Meaningful Life You Love (it’s free) to help you identify your top 5 values.
Even if you’ve done a values exercise before, it’s worth doing again. I often review every quarter or season. While values may stay relatively consistent over a lifetime, sometimes different values rise to the top or show up in your life in a different way.
Want to discover your values and go deeper with them? The Everyday Experience is a self-paced, online course based on values to help you design a life you love, one day at a time. Get the Everyday Experience here!
3 Steps to Having a Meaningful Life You Love
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Hi, I’m Melanie!
I’m a Journaling and Joy Coach and I believe your story is the key to the life you want.
I guide my clients through intentional processes to find the answers waiting for you in your stories, bringing compassion, deep listening — and fun — to the process.
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