How to reveal your core values

Sunlight shining through green maple leaves seen from below. Revealing the core of the leaf

If I ask you to reveal your core values, you might find it hard to explain them fully, or to make sure you list them all. However, it really is worth the effort to get clear what is most important to you. Working on changing yourself is not easy and that change is much more likely to be successful when it is aligned with your core values, with the person you want to be.

Exercise to list possible values

Start with a blank sheet of paper and just list out values that are important to you.  Don’t worry about getting the perfect list, at this stage we are trying to get out possibilities, we will refine the list later.

Reveal insights into your values

One way of getting insights on your values is to reflect on your answers to these questions below.  They are based on an article in Vanity Fair which itself is based on a parlour game popularised by Proust

  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
  2. What is your most treasured possession?
  3. Name 3 characters you admire (they can be living, dead or fictional)?
  4. Why do you admire each of them?
  5. What is your greatest extravagance?
  6. What do you most value in your friends?
  7. What words or phrases do you most overuse?
  8. Which talent would you most like to have?
  9. What is your most marked characteristic?
  10. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  11. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
  12. What tends to annoy or frustrate you in others?
  13. What is your greatest fear?

Reveal your core values

And finally go back to the list of values you developed earlier and highlight or circle the top ones, your core values.  I would recommend 3 to 5.  These are your core values and you want to be able to remember them easily when making a decision “is this …. aligned with my core values?”

For a more detailed approach, try this from CEOSage