Everything we learn, every outside influence, each new project necessarily leads to a transformation in how we prioritize our values. The difficulty lies in becoming aware of this and making a conscious decision to retain this change in values—or not.
“Our values dictate how we use our time.”
It might help to think of how an airport is managed. Although all airplanes are important while they’re waiting for the authorization to land, they’ll only be given access to the tarmac one by one, and according to an order of priorities determined by the control tower.
Which plane do you need to land right now?
When I was 20, all my energy was focused on my career. My values at that time were work, recognition and pleasure. At 30, with the goal of founding a family, my main value became that of family. Today, enriched by my personal and professional experience, I feel the need to share what I’ve learned, so contribute has become my guiding value.
To be more effective and happy, it’s normal to give priority to some values, while temporarily setting other values to the side. What’s important is to be able to name your guiding values. If you manage to do that, you’ll never have to fear feeling disconnected from yourself. In fact, that’s why the Attitude Orange planner suggests that you complete your wheel of life every month. So that you’ll be able to see more clearly where your time is going (or should be going).
Now for the test
I’m suggesting this test with the goal of inspiring you to lead a more authentic life. My hope is to help you
- Focus on what’s truly important to you
- Let go of what’s less important
- Set goals that are aligned with your values
Discover your most important values in 6 steps*
UPLOAD the list of values by clicking on the following link: Values
Circle each value that resonates with who you are.
Note: If ever a word is missing from the list, don’t worry—just add it. At this point, don’t limit yourself or you run the risk of distorting your test results.
Identify the values (between 5 and 10) that you consider most important.
Don’t worry about their order of importance at this point.
If you’ve identified more that 5 values in Step 3, only keep the 5 you consider most important—those that are absolutely “non-negotiable” in your life.
Now put these 5 values in order of their importance to you.
Be careful: This exercise isn’t at all easy and requires a fair amount of thought and honesty.
Now read through your list again and ask yourself: If I could only have my first value and I had to drop the second one, would it still be my #1 value? Do the same thing for your second value and continue with the others, all the way to your #5 value.
For example, if your first three values are family, honesty and money, you must ask yourself the following questions:
- I can have family but not honesty or money…How do I feel?
- I can have honesty, but not family or money… How do I feel?
- I can have money, but not honesty or family… How do I feel?
This exercise can be tricky, but you’ll end up figuring out what your #1 value is.
Now, I’d love to hear your comments. What happened while you were doing the exercise? What changes are you going to make in your life? There’s so much to say about values—let’s keep the conversation going and get to the bottom of things.
We can pick this up again in the comment area. See you there shortly!