Core values are the essence of an unwavering identity – the principles, beliefs or philosophy of values. Establishing strong core values provides both internal and external advantages to guide you towards your unique path:
- Core values help in the decision-making processes. For example, if one of your core values is honesty, any person or situation layered in lies can be walked away from.
- Core values educate others about you and clarify your identity. This is especially relevant in your early 20s while you are establishing your professional identity. By having a set of specific core values that speak to the outside world, you definitely have a competitive advantage.
- Distinguish your core values with vibes. They’re not mottos. One example is “Work hard. Play hard”. Is that really a value? Core values are timeless and do not change; they are sustainable in the longer term. Would the above statement be true during a financial downturn? The answer is probably no.
- Values are not set, they are discovered. Many make the mistake of picking core values out of thin air and trying to fit them into their life; core values are not “one size fits all”. True, you can hold the same core values as your friends or family, as long as it is authentic to you as well.
So how do you discover these core values? The following list reveals the steps to finding your personal core values:
- Are the core values that you hold fundamental, regardless of whether or not they are rewarded?
- If you woke up tomorrow morning with enough money to retire for the rest of your life, would you continue to hold on to these core values?
- Can you envision these values being as valid 100 years from now as they are today?
- Would you want to continue to hold these values, even if at some point, they became a “disadvantage” or “setback”?
The questions above are crucial because they help to make a critical distinction between core values and strategies – core values are fixed regardless of the time and factors, internal as well as external, while strategies and practices should be changing all the time.
If your answers are yes for each of the core values chosen, then you have an identity that will not only guide you towards your desired path, but set standards you expect from the things and people in your life.
Below is a list of 10 common core values to get your ideas flowing:
Authenticity – being original, seeking others who are genuine, and perhaps seeking products or experiences that are unique.
Balance – Taking a proactive stand to create and maintain a healthy work-life balance, or taking things in moderation.
Commitment – Committing to people, goals, plans, and other initiatives that impact your life as well as others’ lives.
Community –Contributing to society and demonstrating social responsibility.
Diversity – respecting and being inclusive of diversity in all aspects of your daily life.
Empowerment – Encouraging others to take initiative and give the best. Adopting an error-embracing environment to empower others to lead and make decisions.
Health – Working to remain in a state of being free from illness or injury, and having concern for others’ physical and mental well-being.
Innovation – Pursuing new creative ideas that have the potential to change the world.
Integrity – Acting with honesty and honor without compromising the truth.
Kindness – Using kindness to build peace and love with others as well as within yourself.
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