getting to know yourself activities

What are values and why do they matter?
Values are those standards, behaviours, principles, morals, even situations that you deem to be really important to you. They summarise how you would like to experience the world you live in. When your values are impinged or trodden on, you know it – it generally hurts like hell.

Examples of values
– Honesty, integrity, straight-forwardness, caring, trust, fairness or respect.
– Financial or job security, decision authority, independence, flexibility, or being expert.
– Staying fit, friendships, family, social relationships, networking or an easy life.

This list is certainly far from being exhaustive, because of course, we are all a little bit different and have different life experiences. The point is values exist in many forms and working out what feels right for you might take some deep thinking and reflection.

You might be tempted when asked about your values, to generate a long list of requirements! It’s certainly easy to think that lots of things are really important to how you like to live – when in reality there are probably just a handful of core things that matter most.

Discover your values
Your first task is to list out all the things you value – no matter how small, big or significant you think they might be. Spend some quality time thinking about this before you put pen to paper.

man thinking

One way of working out what you value most is to use the categorisation method. This could be as simple as working out what’s Most Important, Important, Of Some Importance, Less Important and Of Little Importance. Your categorisation method is down to you, but we quite like this as it’s a nice and simple one. Remember, when a value is trodden on it generally feels painful and that’s another good way of understanding what matters most!

How does knowing your values help?
Knowing what you value will help you with many important decisions in your life. For example, your values will give you some indication of the type of work you will like – and the work environment that might suit you best.  For example, if you value creativity, but spend your time at work only carrying out routine tasks, chances are you’ll get pretty fed up, pretty quickly.

You’ll also discover why some people (who have values like your own) are easier to get on with than others who value very different things.  Think about the someone who values structure and organisation, for example, and someone else who values flexibility and open-endedness.  How do you think those people would get on? When you’re not getting on with someone, it could be that you value different things. Knowing your values can help you work on and improve relationships and get them back on track if you feel your values are not being appreciated

getting to know yourself activities


  • Find out if your company upholds (or professes to uphold!) a set of values. How do your values compare to the company values? Where is there alignment/misalignment?
  • Look at people at work that you admire – what do you know of their values? Why do you think you admire them? How are your values similar or different?
  • What values are you not too bothered about? Does your lack of interest in these values say anything about your current situation?

Don’t be alarmed if, at first, it’s difficult to pinpoint what’s most important. Mull things over in your head. Talk to friends and family. When you do work it through, your answers will feel intuitively right.


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