What is a core value? All of us have them, whether we are aware of it or not. I like to think of them as similar to a tree's root system or perhaps the rudder of a sailboat. Without a root system, a tree would fall over with the smallest breeze. Without a rudder, a sailboat would be impossible to steer. So what are these things called core values that keep us grounded and stable from the changing tides? If we become aware of them, we will be able to make important decisions easier. Without the awareness of them, we might find ourselves taking unnecessary detours and going dangerously off course.
In order for this blog post to stay relatively short, I suggest you ask google for a list of "core values". Pick five or six that really speak to you and write them down, allowing for several more to be secondary.
My top core values look like this: authenticity, fairness, growth, meaningful work, integrity. My secondary core values (slightly less important) would be: accomplishment, balance, perseverance, self-respect, to be adventurous.
When we are faced with an important decision, or need guidance in choosing which direction to take when there is a fork in the road; if we consult with our top core values our decisions will come more quickly and be clearer.
Let's look at an example in how they might guide us: If I had a new job offer that I was seriously considering, I would look to my core values for guidance by asking myself: "would I be growing? would I be doing meaningful work? would I feel authentic and not be compromising my integrity?" If the answer to those questions is a resounding "yes", then I would feel very positive in accepting the job. If I answered "no" to any of them, I would then become aware of potential future problems that might arise if I still accept it. (Remember these are my core values, you will be asking yourself different questions based on yours). By becoming aware of these powerful guiding forces and tuning into them often, we will move easier through this thing called Life.
As we mature our core values may change. So I'd like to suggest that we visit them at least once a year to check in. Even the awareness of them changing is important and insightful to how we grow.