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How to Determine Your Core Values

How to Determine Your Core Values

It’s easy to claim that we all have values.  The question becomes, “What are your values?”  The question can seem daunting, but determining what your core values are is an interesting question that I believe must be answered by anyone who seeks to have a more fulfilling life.

Part of the Behavioral Financial Advisor training is a simple but effective exercise to identify your top core values.  I have found it very helpful to do this exercise as I now make a conscious effort to align my decisions and actions with my core goals.  I wanted to share this with you because it has helped me to bring peace and clarity in making life decisions.

Below, I’ve listed 49 different values.  I encourage you to read each value and ask if it’s important to you.  You can do this alone, or with a spouse (if you dare!).  When you determine a value is important, write it down.  When you have gone through the entire list below, stop and take a look at what you have chosen.  Now, take that list of chosen values and reduce it to ten. 

While you are doing this, you can alter the way a value is labeled.  For example, I took “meaningful work” and converted that to “meaningful life” to better fit my definition.  Remember, these are your values.  Refining or adding to the list means you are giving them deep thought and attention.  That’s a good thing.

When you have your list of ten values, challenge yourself to reduce it even further, to five core values.  These should be the guiding principles of your life.  I equate these values to being like the stars we use to navigate.  They are constant and provide the means with which to make decisions in life.

I’m sure that some values have and will change for us as we grow older, so you can do this exercise time and again with new and revealing results. 

I hope you consider taking a few minutes to go through this exercise to identify what’s important to you and your loved ones.  Who knows, you might even have some fun! 

Core Values List

Adventure, Autonomy, Challenges, Change, Community, Competence, Competition, Cooperation, Creativity, Decisiveness, Diversity, Ecology/Environment, Education, Ethics, Excellence, Excitement, Fairness, Fame, Family, Flexibility, Freedom, Friendship, Happiness, Health, Helping Others, Honesty, Independence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Meaningful Work, Money, Order, Philanthropy, Play, Pleasure, Power, Privacy, Recognition, Relationships, Religion, Safety, Security, Service, Spirituality, Stability, Status, Wealth, Work

PS If you’re curious about my core values:  Faith (changed from Spirituality), Family, Independence, Integrity, and Meaningful Life.

If you have any questions or would like to share your results, please contact me! 

Have a wonderful summer,

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