“Your core values provide the compass that keeps you moving in the right direction. Rather than being abstract ideas, these values are the true path to willpower, resilience and effectiveness”. Susan David – Author, Emotional Agility

Values are a fundamental part of life and play an important role in the way your life is played out. Your personal values are what you are and who you are; they determine how you interact with others and how you manage your relationships with your family, friends, and colleagues.

What are values?
Values are your own individual beliefs about what is most important to you. Values are specific belief systems we have about what is right and wrong, good and bad for our lives. An understanding of values is one of the most rewarding and challenging keys to achieving excellence.

Your values will determine how you will react to a certain situation or experience in life. They are the base of your decision-making in relation to all aspects of your life, like deciding what you wear, where you live, what to study, what you choose to do for a living, whom you marry, and how you raise your children.

Why Identify and Establish Your Values?
Your values are formed of everything that has happened to you in your life, and might comprise influences from your family, your religious affiliation, your friends, your education, and your experiences.
Some of your innate values will come from your childhood, from your parents, your cultural background, while other values may emerge or develop over time as a result of your experiences.
Identifying your personal values and respecting them will enable you to be in harmony with yourself and with others; for instance if two people have the same values, they will immediately get along better than if they were not.

How to identify and prioritize your values?
It is important to learn what your values are, in order to be able to understand your reactions, your motives and to support yourself at the deepest level. Following are two steps to help you discover your core values and prioritize them:

1. List 10 to 15 values such as: honesty, respect, collaboration, love, challenge, independence, empathy, wisdom, development.

2. Rank them in the order of importance, with number one the most important. If you find this difficult, compare values with one another to determine which are more important than the others.

For example which is more important to you honesty or respect? If the answer is honesty, is it more important than collaboration? You keep on comparing each value with other listed values in order to attain your pyramid of values.

Eventually you need to go through the whole list and check if any listed value is more important than the value you begin with.
When you identify your core values, you will be able to understand why you do certain things, or why other people do what they do.

Values will act as a set of rules and guidelines for the events you encounter in life. Living your values is one of the most powerful tools available to you to help you become the person you want to be, to help you accomplish your goals and dreams, and to help you lead and influence others.