What is a Value?

A Value, simply put is about what a person wants to be doing with his/her life. Values guide our behaviour by forming the conscious and unconscious foundation for our decision making. Values are chosen consequences that can never be fulfilled. Rather, they serve as motivation for certain behavioural directions. Whereas goals can be achieved, values cannot be achieved. For example, the value of being creative can never be fulfilled. Even if the person creates a painting (a concrete goal), it would be silly to say, “Now that I have created this painting, I’ve accomplished creativity. Now I’ll proceed with the next thing.” Therefore, values are best formulated as verbs, in that they are not something that is ever fully achieved. For example, a value might be “being creative”.

What do you Value?

Are you aware of what you value? Values are used to help clients choose directions for their lives that are in line with what is truly important to them and help them construct goals that promote behaviour in those directions. Values are the answer to the question: “In a world where you could choose to have your life be about something, what would you choose?” (Wilson & Murrell, 2004, 135) You may need some “Values clarification”.

Values clarification is a therapeutic technique that is designed to help people make important life decisions (Kirschenbaum, 2013). More specifically, values clarification helps people identify and establish their goals, enhance goal-directed decision-making, and take effective action to implement their decisions and thereby achieve their goals (Kirschenbaum, 2013). Values clarification techniques help people learn more about their underlying motivations for behaviour.

Exercise to explore your Values:

The goal of this exercise is to increase awareness of what really matters to you by identifying your top five life values.

Values are the answer to the questions:

What’s important to you in your life?

What is your life’s purpose?

What do you enjoy doing?

When do you feel satisfied and fulfilled?

Being aware of your values by answering the above questions will help you navigate your life in the direction that you choose. You have the potential to live the life of your dreams, but how do you do this without looking inward? Understanding our own core values help guide us towards our passions and desires. Please complete the five steps below.

  1. Take ten minutes to brainstorm what your own values are without referring to the list on the next page. My values are:
  2. Review the values list below and check those values that resonate with you.
  3. This list is always a work-in-progress. If you wish, you may add other values from your brainstorming session or those that you think of along the way through this process
  4. Now prioritize your values and make a selection of five of your most important values. List your top five values
  5. Take about five to ten minutes to think about, or discuss with a friend or your coach, what each of the above values means to you. Then, generate a definition that resonates and makes sense to you.

For eg- Value 1:
What it Means to me:
It Is important to me because:

For eg- Value2:
What it Means to me:
It Is important to me because:

Core value list