Noodle on This: Live Your Values
We all have values. We begin to form them in childhood and they change and evolve as we go through life. For example, recent college graduates may value money as a measure of their success or to pay off student loans. Meeting the “love of their life” may cause them to shift their values to marriage and relationships. By the time people reach the 50s and 60s, such things as grandchildren, their legacy, or contributing to their community become important values to them.
What are values?
According to Ken Blanchard, The most important thing in life is to decide what is most important. That most important thing is what we value most. Values help set our priorities; drive our decisions and our behaviors. Psychologists K. G. Wilson and A.R. Murrell define values as the answer to the question: In a world where you could choose to have your life be about something, what would you choose?
Even if you are not aware of your values, they still drive your behavior, decisions, and opinions. In addition, you tend to project your values on others. Have you heard or said something like this: It is hard to work with Eldon because he does not have the same work ethic I do. Work ethic is a subjective concept, everyone defines it differently and if Eldon’s definition is different, I may need to step back and take a look at my values and check to see if I am judging him by my values.
Your values drive your belief system about what is right or wrong, good or bad. They define ethical behavior, political, religious and social beliefs, along with the choices you make and how you behave. Like everything else in your life, your values apply to all areas of your life – home, friends, work and in the community. They affect how you feel and think about your work and life. So, it is important that you clearly recognize, define and prioritize your values.
For example, Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch is a character in a series of crime novels written by Michael Connelly. Harry’s workplace value is simple: “everybody counts or nobody counts.” Harry lives his values – every murder victim, regardless of their circumstances in life and death receives 100 percent effort from Harry in solving the case.
Benefits of Identifying and Living Your Values
If you search the Internet with the term “values list” you will find nearly 700,000 citations. Some of these lists include up to 400 values. You cannot apply so many values to your life and many of them are not important to you. In addition, values are not intrinsically good or bad. It is how you apply them that determines their worth. For example, freedom of action is an important value to most people; but when my freedom of action causes you harm, it is not a good thing.
Identifying, defining and living your values helps you in several ways. Values help you:
- Be authentic because when you live your values – walk the talk, people know what to expect from you.
- In difficult situations. You are more likely to pause to think and not automatically react. Values help you make sound decisions.
- Eliminate the clutter from you life. If something is not aligned with your values, you should probably get rid of it.
- Develop stability and continuity in your life. When you know what your values, are, you make decisions that support them. You are less likely to follow the crowd, passing up the latest, hottest trend, in favor of what supports your values.
- By supporting your well-being and happiness because there are fewer distractions and more certainty about your path in life. So, your relationships are more certain; you experience less stress; and you make decisions more easily.
Your Noodle Challenge – Live Your Values
Before you can truly live your values, you must clarify what you value and how important each value is to you. Here is a simple four-step process to help you name your values. Answer the following questions:
- What is important to me about my life and work? List 5 – 7 values.
- How do I define each value?
- Why is each value important to me?
- Rank each value on a scale of 1 – 10: 1 = least important and 10 = most important.
Then, select the value that is most important to you and consciously practice that value this week. Share your thoughts or experience with us in the Comments section below.
Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. ~ Ellen DeGeneres
What values do you stand for?
Riddle Me This…
Q: What did the traffic light say to the car?
A: Don’t look, I’m changing.
* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm … and then to act!