6. Choose your top core values

Rank the top values in order of importance. While the number of core values people have can vary, it’s typically best to narrow them down to five to 10. If you have more than 10, ask yourself what values are essential to your life. You may want to leave them for a day and come back to them later to see if they truly reflect your core values and if they are in the correct order.

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6 Steps to Discover Your Core Values

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1. Write down your values

Review the list of examples of core values and write down every value that resonates with you. Add any you think of that are not on the list as well. Select the values that most accurately describe your feelings or behaviors

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2. Consider the people you most admire

Values are typically personified in people whom we admire and love. Generally, when we admire a quality in others it’s because it’s something we value ourselves. Write down six people you admire, who are role models or valued connections for you.

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4. Categorize values into related groups

Now you have a master list of values. Next, review the list and see if you can group the values into categories.

For example, you may have written down growth, learning and personal development. These values are all related and could be placed in one category.

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5. Identify the central theme

Once you have categorized your values, choose a word that best represents the group. You can leave the other words in the group in parentheses next to the central theme word to give the primary value more context.

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3. Consider your experiences

To learn about your values, think back to the best and most painful moments in your life. Consider what these experiences reveal about your core values. For example, if you won an award for teaching, it’s possible that motivating others and leadership are important values for you. A painful experience may have taught you that empathy and compassion are important to you.

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  • Finding your purpose: Knowing your values helps you figure out what you want out of your life.
  • Guiding your behavior: They help you behave in a way that matches who you want to be.
  • Helping you make decisions: When you’re facing a decision, you can ask yourself what someone who values the things you do would choose.
  • Helping you choose a career: When you know what matters to you, it’s easier to choose the right career path.
  • Increasing your confidence: Identifying your values brings a sense of safety and stability into your life because you know what you want and what’s important to you.

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When we honor our personal core values consistently, we experience fulfillment.

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