Friday, October 4, 2013

Three Questions to Help You Identify Real Core Values

Three Questions to Help You Identify Real Core Values

There is a tendency to confuse Core Values with Emotions and States of Being. In order to live an Inspired life, you need to be able to recognize the difference between being Inspired by your Core Values and being Motivated by Rewards or Coerced into Avoiding Punishments. The key is to make Inspired decisions that lead to Inspired actions and behaviors.

Identifying and defining your Core Values so you can understand why you are Inspired to do things is the critical first step so I wanted to share some insights on how to identify and define Core Values. 

Perhaps the simplest way to identify your Core Values is to answer this simple but powerful question: 
What words do I want other people to use to describe me and the life I've lived? I like to call the answers to this question the "What words...?" list.

Here are some examples and things to look for to help you identify real Core Values versus Emotions or States of Being:

Core Value- Example: Charity- You can take definitive actions that are charitable. This is an example of a Core Value.

Emotion- Example: Happiness- You can do things that contribute to your happiness, but you cannot do "happy". You have a higher probability of feeling happy if your decisions and actions are in alignment with your Core Values.
State of Being- Example: Extraordinary- This is a relative and subjective term. There are no definitive actions you can do to "be" extraordinary in other peoples eyes. Some may think the things you do are extraordinary, other may think you're just doing normal things. You have no control over a state of being beyond your own actions.

Three Questions

As you develop your "What words...?" list, ask yourself these three questions about the words you're selecting as your Core Values to make sure they will truly Inspire you:
  1. Are there definitive actions I can take which would meet the criteria for fulfilling the definition of this word? If yes, add it to your "What words...?" list.
  2. Does this word reflect a feeling or emotion? If yes, do not add it, but keep in mind you have a higher probability of getting people to use it to describe you if your actions are in alignment with your real Core Values.
  3. Is there a universally recognized and direct relationship between this word and an action which, after you take it, someone would say, "Wow! What you just did was _______(your word)"  If so, it's a keeper. 
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