Thursday, September 5, 2013

Four Tips for Identifying YOUR Core Values

Four Tips for Identifying YOUR Core Values

I'm writing a book titled, "What Do You Want?," right now. There is a section in the book where I ask the question, "What are you willing to die for? Are you willing to live for it?"  The first time I considered these two questions together it hit me that most people do not really understand what is truly important to them.  I can say with absolute certainty that up to the point of the birth of GPS Theory, I really didn't know how to find the answers to those questions either.  Oh sure, there were areas of my life that I had a grip on, but when it came to getting past the obstacles between my current "place" in life and my Life-Long Success destination, I didn't even realize what the real obstacles were. It turned out I had left some of the answers up to the people in my world, I had abdicated some of the responsibility of determining the person I was going to be to others, their perceptions and their opinions. Their expectations of what I should do and what I'm capable of accomplishing somehow had bled into my expectations. I didn't even see it at the time. I can't blame anyone but myself for it.

How are you allowing the people in your world to influence your own path to Life-Long Success?

My last article covered the critical insights you need if you want to achieve Life-Long Success. I wouldn't be the Success Engineer if I didn't keep breaking down the concept of success and what it takes to get it, now would I? Those insights are critical, you need to believe them if you want to chase your dreams with conviction, but they don't help you figure out who you want to be, and figuring that out has to be the first step!

These tips will help you identify and define the words you would want other people to use to describe you and the life you've lived:

TIP #1- Identify what you like to do more than anything else in the world. 

What makes you most happy while you're doing it or just after you've finished it? What word would you use to describe the source of that feeling? Here's an activity, fill in the blanks:

I feel ______________(feeling/emotion) when I  _____________ (favorite thing) because in that moment I am a/an ______________ person (the Core Value you fulfill).

Start a list. Write that last word down.

TIP #2- Repeat Tip #1 thinking about your second most favorite thing to do.

I feel ______________(feeling/emotion) when I  _____________ (favorite thing) because in that moment I am a/an ______________ person (the Core Value you fulfill).

Add that last word to your list.

TIP #3- Do it again and again until you think your list is complete! 

Feels good doesn't it? Now you're thinking! You're feeling like you're on to something BIG, you can begin to picture yourself experiencing those feelings all the time.  The good news is, it's entirely possible!

I feel ______________(feeling/emotion) when I  _____________ (favorite thing) because in that moment I am a/an ______________ person (the Core Value you fulfill).

Keeping writing the third word in that sentence down as you complete it!  When I first started writing down my answers to the question, "What words do you want other people to use to describe you and the life you've lived?," or, what I call the "What words...?" question, before I knew it I had written down 64 words. I quickly realized that was way too many "criteria for success" to keep track of. So, I just figured out how to use most of the words to define a few key words, Core Value words (see graphic, below).  This way, I didn't lose any resolution with regard to the ideal-self I envisioned and I was able to pare my "What words...?" list down to eight Core Values ...a more manageable number of success criteria.

TIP #4- Start! Begin! Change your thinking! Get going!

Don't worry or wait if your list of Core Values is not perfect.  Waiting for perfect conditions to begin will only waste more of your precious time (See Critical Insight #3)! It's OK to keep refining your Core Values.  As you focus on your Core Values, you'll find yourself making more decisions that align with them.  You'll also start to gain a different, more refined understanding of some of the words on your "What words...?" list.  Don't be afraid to change a word or two as time goes by.  It doesn't mean you were lying, or wrong, it means you were learning! Life-Long Success requires a life-long journey.  My current eight Core Values were twelve up until about a week ago. I hope to keep making the list smaller as time goes by through continuous improvement efforts at understanding and implementing. Why? I want to keep things as simple as humanly possible.

The journey to Life-Long Success isn't about just doing what feels good.  It's about feeling good because you know the things you're doing are good. It's feeling good about what you're doing.  It's about believing in what you're doing.  This is how we find the conviction to live the lives we want, my friends!                    

A person who looks at these tips at the surface level may respond sarcastically, "Yeah, Tom, great tips, a kid could have come up with those!" The point of the exercise is to THINK!  And, why shouldn't we listen to kids, or take a kid's approach, when it comes to understanding the possibility of being happy? It seems to me we've forgotten how to think like we did when we were kids- when we were happy and the world of possibilities wasn't influenced by the fears of failure we learn from our culture & society. Think for yourself! What do you want?


Use these Tips to prepare before you use GPS Theory 

If you're planning to interact with BoomLife's GPS Theory application on our website (, I strongly urge you to follow the first three tips from this article first.  Don't even create an account until you've done this! You'll find the experience so much more meaningful when you get the feedback you really seek from the people in your world!  Why? Because you owe it to yourself to put forth real and deliberate effort into identifying your Core Values, the criteria for your Life-Long Success you actually care about! You can interact with GPS Theory on a superficial level if you want to, but just like with any other process: Garbage In = Garbage Out.

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