Your values in life are what guide you. Values are the things, and they don't necessarily need to be material things, we find important. Do you know your personal values?
What are my personal values?
Even though you are guided by them, you might not actually be consciously aware of what they are in detail. The fact is also that they are different for each area of your life. Pick one area and work through the following questions to elicit your values: relationship, job/career, family, health, finances, friends (social life), my business or self-development.
Process to find personal values:
1. What is important to me about [insert your chosen area]?
Start listing anything that is important to you, for example for job/career you might start a list by writing down words like: teamwork, pleasant work environment, adequate salary, work-life balance, creativity, mental challenge etc. Remember that it could be anything from something material to something idealistic. Don't censor anything and just let the list become longer and longer. If you feel that there is nothing else, ask a couple of times until you have flushed out all the values: What else is important to me?
-> This first question will draw out all the things that are important to you but they are not yet in a specific order of importance. Don't worry, that comes in a later step.
2. If I had all the things listed above, what would still make me leave (in the example of the job) or what would I not be able to accept?
Start listing anything which is a deal breaker to you, for example in your job it might be something like: bullying in the workplace, not being paid on time, not being acknowledged for the work that I've done etc.
-> This second question will draw out anything that is not acceptable to you. If you turn these things around, they will give you additional values.
For example with 'not being paid on time' - what it is you find important might be reliable salary payments.
3. If you feel that you haven't got all the important values cycle through question 1 and 2 a couple of times until you're clear that you've got everything on paper. Then leave it for a couple of days and when you come back check whether there is anything else that came to your mind in the meantime.
4. Go through your list and pick the top ten values, those that are most important to you.
5. Order them according to their importance.
You can best do this by asking yourself: What is more important, this value or this value? Once you have them in a numbered list from one to ten allow yourself to sit with it for a while and make adjustments if needed.
Top five values
It is said that the top five values in any area of your life are guiding principles and if you don't fulfill them you will feel disappointment, resentment and frustration with that aspect in your life.
If however your top five values are fulfilled, you feel satisfaction and are happy.
So do you fulfill your values?
Nathalie Himmelrich is the founder of 'Reach for the Sky Therapy' on Sydney's Northern Beaches and specialises in 'relationship related issues'. She is working with individuals and couples using techniques ranging from Counselling, Neuro Linguistic Programming to Journey Therapy. She supports clients in their personal growth in a supportive and professional environment.