One aspect of developing a life plan that is extremely important is identifying your values.
A person’s values can be defined as principles or standards of behavior or as one’s judgement of what is important in life. What you value is reflected in your behavior. Where you spend your time, money, and energy indicates what you value.
When you identify your values and begin applying them to your life choices you will be able to:
Make sound decisions
Keep your life on track
Keep from being overwhelmed
Anchor your life with great worth
Get clarity on where to spend time, money, and energy
Find your true direction
So, how do you go about identifying your values? Well, as part of my training, I have access to tools that will help you do just that. If you were with me in person, we could go through a set of cards that have different values on them. I could coach you in how to choose what you truly value.
However, since we are not together in person, I have a worksheet you can download to help you out. Click here to download.
You will see the worksheet has a list of 47 different values. Go through the worksheet and put a mark in the appropriate column based on your response. Your choices are “Something I Value Greatly,” “Might Be a Value for Me,” “Definitely Not a Value for Me.”
When you have gone through the entire worksheet, record on the last page the values that you checked “Something I Value Greatly.”
This is where the fun begins. Ideally you’d like to narrow it down to 5. Any more than that can become confusing. The goal is to understand what you truly value so you can make wise decisions about how you spend your time, money, and energy.
Here are a couple of tips to narrow them down:
1) If you are not sure if it’s really a value or might be a value, ask yourself if it’s real or perceived.
Check your calendar, checkbook, and conversations. If this value does not show up in any of these areas, chances are it’s not really a value for you.
2) Divide the list into three sections: personal, vocational, spiritual.
To help you decide which list they go on, think about if there are other people involved with the value. If you chose balance, that’s most likely a personal value. However, if you chose teamwork, that involves people and would go on the vocational list.
3) Then begin to whittle down to your top 5.
Think about what is going on in your life now. Again consider how you spend your time, money, and energy. This will guide you to what you truly value.
My top 5 are Excellence, Purpose, Planning/Structure, Faith, and Peace. This means I’m going to choose to spend my time on things that are done with excellence and have some sort of plan or structure. I will probably stay away from serving on committees or teams that do not value these things. However, if I’m asked to be a part of an event that I know is planned well and fits within my speaking topics of purpose, plans, and peace, I’ll most likely say yes if my calendar permits.
I could write a whole lot more about identifying your values. I hope this will at least give you the motivation to start thinking about your values and how you can use them to clarify how you are to spend your time, money, and energy.