Core Values: Personal Growth #2
In the previous article on personal growth, we talked about the general process of how we can grow as a person. We said that this process is like a journey from point A to point B. In order to reach point B, which is your destination, you need to start from point A, which is your current reality. If your goal is to become a pop singer, the fact that you already have some relevant training and some connection to the industry will give you a head start. Discovering what gifts, talents, training, social networks you have been blessed with is one way to realize where you are, but a life coach usually will help you dig deeper. A life coach may help you to understand your personality, your inner strength and your core values. This time we are going to focus on core values.
What are core values? And why do we even care? Values are things that are important to you, factors that affect your decisions. Core values are the most important among your values, the deepest of your desire, the most satisfying among all your pursuits, things that you hold closest to your heart.
E.g., you are offered a job that almost double your current salary, but it requires you to work 10 more hours per week and frequent travel, and you are only given 2 hours to say yes or no, what will you do? Or you know you need to stay fit by doing exercises at least three times a week, but there were always things that come up the last minute and you end up entertaining those last-minute requests.
These two scenarios and all other decisions you make are related to your values, if you are not aware of them, you may not be able to make wise decisions, or you may be reluctant to make certain decisions, or you find yourself making decisions that are not consistent or even contradictory to each other. Knowing your core values, being able to state them clearly and understanding where they come from will help you make decisions wiser, faster, and in a more consistent manner. How do you know your core values? A life coach usually has several ways to help you. Let me give you a few examples.
One way is to spend some time and think of some of the most meaningful or satisfying moments in your life, or on the contrary, some of the most frustrating and angry moments. These emotional moments are usually related to your core values.
Another way is to go back to your roots. Recall your upbringing. What shapes you in your early stage of life? How did your parents, your teachers, your grandparents, your friends affect you? How does your faith affect you? I came across many who claimed that our core values were almost set in stone during our early stage of life, but I know from my personal experience that it is not true. During my college years, after researching different religions, I decided to embrace Christianity. After immersing myself into this new faith of mine for some time, especially after some significant spiritual experiences, I realized that it shaped my core values. Even if you are not religious, you probably hold on to some kind of beliefs, which shapes your core values unconsciously.
Another common tool a life coach may use is a list of values, you will be asked to identify those that are important to you, then try to group them into categories, distinguish between real ones and fake ones, merge some of them, and narrow them down into just a few.
What are your core values? Even with the help of a life coach, it may take you some time to confirm them, some only need an hour, others may need days or even weeks. But after you discover your core values, you will start noticing that decisions you have made, even those that were difficult to you, they were all primarily guided by your core values. Next time, when you need to make a new decision, you no longer need to hesitate, you can measure the options with your core values and the right path will be shown to you.
In your path to personal growth, you need to set goals that align with your Core Values, because you will only be motivated by goals that matter to you. Beside your core values, your personality is also an important factor that makes you unique as a person. In the next article we will talk about personality.