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Why Personal Values Are So Important (or how to avoid asking “How did I end up here?”)

By August 28, 2014 No Comments

Have you ever just stopped in the midst of whatever you are doing and asked yourself “How did I end up here? What do I value about this place?”

“Here” could be a million different places, like a job, a company, a volunteer organization, a church, or a group of close friends.

Whereas you may have belonged – even been a vital part of the organization or group – you know longer have the heart, the drive, the desire, and the stamina to stay involved.

Something has changed, and it’s not necessarily the other guy! You just know you are out-of-place.

So you ask, do I stay or do I go? But, most importantly, WHY?

I found myself in that exact situation several times in the past year.

  • I was finishing up one last consulting project for a client and found I could no longer go the “extra mile” to accomplish the work they required.
  • I was at odds with the vision of several organizations where I served for 5 years.

Why should I feel discontent where I had once been happy?

It was about PERSONAL VALUES…yep, that’s the truth. Here I was at…well, I don’t know if I really want to share my age…let’s just say I have been 29 for a number of years now! Anyway, I was making major life shifts because I was NOT living in alignment with some of my important personal values.

What are Personal Values?

Organizations talk about core values – goals and beliefs that drive their organizations. Like organizations, we have core personal values.

Your personal values reflect your most deeply held beliefs. Your beliefs help determine what is most important to you and shape your behavior, choices, priorities, and decisions.

At the heart level – deep down – your values are the measure you use to determine whether you are happy and satisfied with your life.

When what you do and how you behave aligns with your personal values, you are generally happy, content, and feeling successful. However, when your daily life does not match your values, your heart is discontent. You know something is not right. You are prone to more stress and other negative results.

That’s why it’s so important to understand and identify your personal values to lead a successful life.

God has a plan and purpose for your life. He implanted within you values specific to you that He intended for you to live out.

Examples of personal values include acceptance, authenticity, recognition, family, honesty, truth, reading God’s work, influence, discernment, success, encouragement, and many, many more.

Just an example, my personal values include authenticity, family, leading a prayerful and Holy-Spirit led life, trustworthy and dependable, learning, and personal growth. (You can discover your most important values now or at the end of this post.)

My values were at the heart of my discontent where I was working and serving. Let me be clear…nothing was wrong with these organizations….it’s just that some of my most important values were no longer in alignment with their values.

For example, my consulting work was scientific and data driven. My personal values were unimportant in this environment. While raising my children, this work allowed me to live in accordance with my values at home and with my family. But now that I am an empty nester, I am looking to live in accordance with my values in all areas of my life.

Benefits of Personal Core Values

Your values are alive and well in your life whether or not you recognize them at the moment. Let me be an example! It took me awhile to really understand the importance of authenticity, dependability, and prayer in my life.

Sometimes we are influenced by all the “shoulds” and “needs” that surround us. You know….”you should be doing this; we need this; you can’t do that!” If you are not impacted by these statements from people, good for you! You most likely know your values.

It is important to know and understand your values so that you can make life decisions that honor those values. For example:

  • Is this job right for me?
  • Does this promotion align with my values?
  • Should I start my own business?
  • Do I believe in the mission statement of this organization? Are my values in alignment with their goals?
  • Should I follow a traditional path or blaze a new path?
  • Is this a time that I should compromise or should I hold firm in my position?

When you know your personal core values, you will be able to establish your priorities in life – what matters most to you – and make wise decisions. It will help you live more successfully, with greater joy, and help you balance your life to accomplish all that God has prepared for you.

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