WHAT ARE VALUES?
Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person that inspire and motivate his thoughts, decisions and actions. It is why we do the things we do. Values are guiding principles that dictate behaviours and help people make judgements about what they accept as right or wrong. Values are standards or ideals with which we evaluate actions, people, things, or situations. They are principles or standards of behaviour. One’s judgement of what is most important in life.
Core values help you determine if you are on the right path to fulfilling your goals by creating an unwavering guide to follow. A great part of the preparation to be self-reliant and successful means you must find a space where you really belong, where you “fit in”. The process of finding this space includes helping you to discover what is most important to you and what your values are. When you understand your values, you become more driven, focused, and able to go on to live an authentic and happy life. Knowing what is important to you will help you find success in your personal life.
Average people are usually confused about their goals, values and ideals, and as a result, they go back and forth like a pendulum ball accomplishing nothing or very little in life. Men and women who are successful on the other hand, with the same or even fewer abilities and opportunities, go on to accomplish great things in whatever they do.
UNDERSTAND THE PLACE OF VALUES
Values are important in determining your personal brand; in essence, they are the core and foundation of your brand. There are three types of values you need to explore in order to create a strategy for success:
- Character Values
- Work Values
- Personal Values
- CHARACTER VALUES:
Character values are the universal values that you need to exist as a good citizen of the earth. They are the core characteristics that help you to relate well with others and are necessary to live a focused and superior life of excellence.
Examples of character values include; Love, Commitment, Loyalty, Excellence, Compassion, Empathy, Positive attitude, Respect, etc.
- WORK VALUES:
Work values are values that help you to find what you want in life and give you satisfaction in what you choose to do with your time, gifts and resources. It is especially important to understand what your work values are in order to thrive professionally.
Examples of work values are; Leadership, Hard work, Team spirit, Public speaking, Honour, Excellence, Dependability, Creativity, Innovation, etc.
- PERSONAL VALUES: Personal values are values that help you define what you really want out of life and will assist you in being happy and fulfilled. They are the guiding principles of your life that guide your thoughts, actions and general decisions and directions in life.
Examples of personal values are; Excellence, Integrity, Love, Family, Health, Intelligence, Courage, Loyalty, Passion, Diligence, etc.
Exploring your values is essential when setting goals. When you understand what your values are, you are able to determine what drives you. It helps you gain clarity about what you really want, how to get it and where you are headed. Exploring character values, work values, and personal values helps you find the place where you really “fit in” and where you can be most successful. Not every space is your space. It’s important you find where you really belong.
WHY DO WE NEED VALUES?
- Values inform our thoughts, words and actions.
- Values are important because they help us to grow and develop into people of solid character.
- They help us to create the future we want to experience.
- They help us make a deliberate choice to focus on what is important to us.
- When values are shared, they build internal cohesion in a group.
CORE VALUES AND RELATIONSHIPS
In relationships, the most important thing is values. Whether it is a marital, business or platonic relationship, the real bond of every relationship must be built on values, if not there is no foundation. Without a foundation, there is no real lasting relationship. Often, when you hear someone talk about why they chose to marry their spouses, they mention the fact that they have similar values. In this case, they are often talking about core values or internal beliefs that dictate how they both think life should be lived. Major core values people should have about life include the following:
- Faith: A belief in God and an affiliation with a religious/spiritual body, faith and its application.
- Money management: A belief in being a good steward of resources and in exercising frugality.
- Culture: Thoughts, beliefs and ideas about family and how to raise children, and family.
- Character: A belief that honesty is always the best policy and that trust has to be given and earned.
- Healthy living: A belief in maintaining a healthy work/life balance
- Positive attitudes: A belief in love, respect and empathy in relating with others.
- Purpose: A belief that you were born to make a difference in the world, living a sacrificial lifestyle. Parents should work to instil positive core values in children from an early age in an effort to give them guiding principles for living a happy, excellent and successful life.
OTHER VALUES TO INSTILL IN CHILDREN: Love, Self-respect, Courage, Respect, Integrity, Diligence, Persistence, Commitment, Creativity, etc.
IDENTIFYING CORE VALUES.
It is not enough to expressly share your core values; often the best way to identify what values a person is guided by is to watch how he or she behaves from day-to-day. For example, A person may say he or she has a great value for saving and investing. Yet, reserves nothing in their savings account month after month. Talk is cheap, the only way your values are known is by the way you live your life and the decisions you make on a day to day basis. It’s also important to note that most people do not necessarily start out choosing their core values. Most people have these values instilled n them by the way their parents and the community around them thought, believed and acted. You may already live by strong core values without even realizing it, negative or positive. Not everyone got positive values instilled in them from childhood, this is why it is important you become intentional about your self-awareness and personal growth. This will help you cultivate new values intentionally. To get a sense of what core values you have imbibed unconsciously, ask yourself these questions:
- What words did you grow up hearing from your parents or from close people around you?
- What experiences did you have consistently growing up?
- What life training did you receive consciously or unconsciously?
- What were your parents’ mentality about important things in life, like:
- Money: Earning, saving, spending and investments.
- Marriage: Roles and responsibilities.
- Raising children: Methods, privileges, responsibilities, discipline and correction measures.
- Social life: What policy did they generally imbibe in relating with people? Love or revenge, tolerance or intolerance, creating empowering environments or stifling environments, etc.
- Perspective to life and challenges: fear or courage, laziness or diligence, mediocrity or excellence, risk-taking or risk-averse?
After discovering the values, you imbibed from your background through unconscious modelling, you can change your values based on your innate personality, vision, aspirations and new models in life. You can intentionally choose the values you want to imbibe based on who you want to be or where you are going.
Values can be got in 2 major ways:
- Unconsciously by MODELING or EXPERIENCES
- Consciously by MENTORING or TRAINING
We will talk more about the unconscious modelling we got from childhood as we go on. This is based on environments we had no control over, experiences etc. For instance, location, family, financial circumstances, abuse etc. Values can also be got consciously through learning. This is intentionally submitting to learn from someone close or from a distance, thereby intentionally choosing your influences.
TYPES OF VALUES THAT EXIST:
- Unconscious values
- Conscious/cultivated values
- Inherent values
- UNCONSCIOUS VALUES: Unconscious values are values you imbibed based on your environment, experiences and modelling from people in authority over you or around you. These values are their culture, thoughts and mindsets, attitudes, responses and actions. It’s unconscious learning. Every child eventually is programmed based on these factors. We are all products of our background until trained out of it. Only training or mentoring, diligence and discipline can take a person out of a negative mindset to a positive path of recovery.
- CONSCIOUS / CULTIVATED VALUES: Conscious or Cultivated values are based on our decisions to change the direction of our lives based on our choice of personality, vision, mission and objectives. If you will be successful, you must be born twice, once by your upbringing, exposure, earliest experiences and environment at large. Then by your own choices and decisions. You must take responsibility for who you turn out to be in life, irrespective of where you are coming from or what you have been through. You can change the narrative of your life to go back to the factory setting and become all you were born to be.
- INHERENT VALUES: These are values based on who you really are, that is your wiring from birth. They are values belonging to your essential nature, originating in or derived from the deepest parts of you. It’s a constitution of your heart rather than your experiences or unconscious or even conscious learning. This is why we have different desires, passions and drives. These inner passions are the things that define us, they make us unique in our perspectives and life’s pursuits if we choose to follow our passions. Sometimes, these values conflict with what is expected or accepted by others. Though not necessarily morally wrong, it is not accepted based on culture or mindsets or conflicting values of those making demands of you. We are often left with a choice to follow our hearts and dance to the drum constantly beating within us, or continue to dance to the tune of other people’s unrealistic demands, opinions and expectations. Unfortunately, most people do not hear or recognize the beat of their own drum, because the noise outside of them is beating too loud, or they are simply too afraid to respond to the beating of their own drum…talk less of dancing to it. The best choice is usually a combination of your inherent values and cultivated values. This choice puts you back in the driver’s seat of your life. Ask yourself these questions frankly to find out your real inherent values:
- What activities bring you the most joy?
- What can you not live without?
- What gives your life meaning?
- What would you desire to achieve if you could be anything in life?
- What one thing in the world would you want to do if you could do or be just one thing? If you can articulate these answers, you’ll likely see a pattern that may be consistent with your unique design and purpose.
NEGATIVE CORE VALUES
Core values are not always positive. Many people are driven by negative values like self-interest, self-preservation, bitterness, vengeance, greed, or an uncanny desire for the comfort zone. These are core values, too, if they dictate the way people live their lives. Show me your strongest thoughts and what is most important to you by your behaviour, choices and actions, and I will tell you what your real core values are. Negative attitudes and core values develop when people grow up and live in fear or insecurity and so are forced to focus on survival in difficult circumstances over long periods of time. Here are some examples of negative core values:
- A belief that the world is a fundamentally brutal place and that only by being brutal can you survive.
- A belief that people are powerless to change their fates or personal situations.
- A belief that you don’t deserve good things or healthy relationships in life.
- A belief that other people are fundamentally untrustworthy and unloving.
- A belief that you must struggle to be able to succeed in life.
- A belief that life is generally meaningless.
- A belief that people can get by doing barely enough to succeed. These thought patterns dominate the average person that they struggle all through their lives to find true happiness. You must be intentional about your future self. You must work diligently at rebranding yourself to be the best version of yourself, if not you will walk through life a shadow of your true self.
CLARIFY YOUR VALUES:
- Write out the role models you admire, dead or alive. Why do you admire them? That is, what qualities do you find most attractive about them? Usually, the things you see and admire strongly in others are what you have as potential within you, waiting for you to discover and cultivate. We don’t often see with our physical eyes, but with our hearts. You are what your heart and not your eye catches.
- Recall times when you have been so absorbed in what you were doing that you hardly noticed the time, because you enjoyed it, even though difficult. What were you doing at times like that?
- Think about the things that you find most meaningful. That is, what do you think of when you are happy and creative? What inspires you? Including ideas, feelings, and activities. Values are at the very core of our character. “What you do speaks loudly that I cannot hear a word you say”. Who you are today, your innermost character and personality is the compilation of all your choices, decisions and exposures in life up till today? Each time you choose right and act consistently with what is right based on your values and who you really are; you strengthen your character and develop a better and stronger personality. You are happy to the degree that your everyday actions are in complete harmony with your core values. The greater the clarity you have regarding your values, the more effective and precise your actions will be on the outside, and the more successful you end up being as well. Values make you who you are and determine the extent of your greatness.