In my 20s, I focused outward, watching what was happening around me rather than inward.
I admit, back then, questions like how do I feel? Who am I? What are my deepest held values? They didn’t enter my mind much, and when they did, I had no tools or techniques to answer them in any meaningful way.
Consequently, jobs, work cultures, and people often didn’t align with my inner self. Life felt like a dark and foreboding forest full of obstacles. I flew blind, and metaphorically, I frequently crashed into heavy branches and forest demons. Among the stress and confusion, I remember falling into Sales jobs, and that trend continued for too long. I often felt out of place, out of sync, and uncertain. Friday night drinks would drown out a sense of discomfort, but on Monday, I was back in the forest thinking: everyone else is doing this; maybe I need to try harder?
Since then, I’ve found ways to drive decisions from the heart, ensuring life and work decisions are more meaningful, strategic, and successful. I find choices now beautifully align with my heart-centered values, or they drop away naturally and effortlessly. It feels like I leveled up from the forest into a lighthouse — I can see how to reach the shore safely. I feel grounded and able to shine the light for others who may be in the dark. It’s a wonderful feeling of empowerment.
If you are keen to find your lighthouse, I will share one method with you today: Core Value Work.
Core Value Work — Why it’s important
“Core Value Work opens up a world of self-knowledge and inner knowing. (Pretty much the key to more happiness.)”
Gaining more profound knowledge about what I valued from the depths of my subconscious provided many unexpected blessings, and surprises, including:
- More happiness! (Due to deep alignment with your true self)
- I know with more certainty I’m on the right track
- No more discomfort or confusion. Imagine knowing what types of workplaces match who you are.
- I found my people. Imagine knowing how to find people who have the same innate values as you.
- It helped me choose a lovely life partner who also aligns with who I am / who I need to be.
- It provides a decision roadmap when I need to make choices. Imagine making fewer mistakes.
- I have improved my health and well-being. Imagine knowing yourself so deeply you can lessen health problems and make the most of your time.
- Knowing my true self lowers stress and anxiety.
- Core value alignment attracts experiences, people, and work that feel good.
- Your desires, mission, wishes, and purpose become crystal clear.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
Why isn’t everyone doing it?
Many high-performing CEO’s already use this method; others shy away from Core Value work because it’s not an easy task. First, you must dig into past experiences and subconscious reactions to those moments and analyse them for underlying values. It requires self-awareness and self-reflection. Then, once you have identified your core values, you must strive to align decisions and plans using the list of values as a guide as your life unfolds.
Well-meaning friends, traumas, family, teachers, internet algorithms, and society tell you all day long what to value. So much so that most people mistakenly think they already know themselves. But in reality, they are just an imprint of all the things they are consuming; all the noise and distraction clouds your values and who you are.
Be brave and ask yourself a few questions. This self-discovery exercise will only bring more benefits and clarity in a confusing, complex world.
Start with this website to uncover 30 values that identify your core self. Then, keep them on a spreadsheet, measure how aligned your life is to those values, and check in with that alignment regularly. (I have a values spreadsheet template to help make this easy — shared with those who work with me on this exercise).
Here’s the link if you feel called to get busy with this right away:
7 Steps to Discover your Core Values:
If you’d prefer some help — I offer a Core Values interview session over Zoom and can get you started!
Don’t copy someone else’s values. Looking at other people’s values for inspiration is great, but this remains an internal practice. Instead, the goal is to find the values that already exist inside you — and strengthen them — live by them — use them to make hard decisions.
How I use my core values
I’ve used my values to make numerous decisions; for example, sharing my growth journey to help others; honors my value of ‘Concern for Others.’ So does helping and supporting people with Salesforce CRM knowledge in my career. My work and hobby choices contain ‘Autonomy‘ and ‘Creative thinking. My choice to do a bit of art, painting, and drawing aligns with a core value of ‘Creativity.’
When random requests require a yes or no — my list of values helps with the answer. In addition, the values set me straight when I have a strange, whimsical urge that may not serve me. (That trip to the moon won’t match my core value of ‘Security’ too well!)
© Morvana Zaahira Goodman 2022