Please note that Current of Life was previously published under the title: Living Your Potential
The Heart of the Matter
I still have the draft I wrote nearly 14 years ago — a few paragraphs that describe what is most important to me in life. Certain words emerged strongly, clearly, and easily. These words are what I consider to be my “core values,” a term we dismiss, perhaps somewhat skeptically, when we hear it used by leaders of countries and corporations. Countries, companies, and individuals often fall short of their ideals, yet it is critical to know them and keep aiming.
The first time I did this values exercise, I had sensed a change coming, though I didn’t know what it was. I needed to see the words on paper — claim them, invite them into my life. They were words such as potential, spirit, freedom, love, inner harmony and others. These “values words” were different than goals. They were more permanent and reached deeply into my heart. Now with the perspective of years, I see that the change I had anticipated is always coming (though sometimes in more rapid waves than others) and, while the words I use to describe my values have been edited over time, their meaning has been constant.
Your Own GPS
These days, new cars have GPS (a Global Positioning System) to help you figure out where to turn. Once you have clearly identified your values, you have your own mapping technology to guide you — your own GPS.
It’s true that you already know what your values are. You know them because they are part of your very nature. They are what you treasure. Writing them down however, gives them strength.
Use your values to motivate, guide, and inspire you. One woman with whom I’m working, posted her list of values (along with a phrase that describes each) in her office. She glances at them periodically, and has noticed that they ground her, even during chaotic times. Demands which present themselves look different in the light of her values. They help her choose, decide, and prioritize.
What Do You Treasure?
When your actions, relationships, and work are in alignment with your values, you feel peaceful and content. When they are not, you feel disconnected, out of whack, or as if something is missing. That is why most every personal development program worth its salt (e.g., FranklinCovey, Tony Robbins and many others) begin with having you identify your values.
Take some time this week to list your values. Describe what
they mean to you. Give them life. When you’re done, post them
somewhere you can see them. Not sure where to start? Download instructions
for this exercise here.
© 2005, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to www.inthecurrent.com.
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