Articulating Your Core Values

Each and every one of us has something at our core that drives us. When we’re operating in line with our values, we thrive. We have the energy to tackle life in a way that brings more life. However, whenever we see leaders who are feeling burned out, it’s almost always an indication to us that, in some way, they are operating at odds with their core values and beliefs. If there’s such a drastic difference between operating in alignment with our values and not, why would anyone do something at odds with their values?

Most of the time, it’s not an intentional choice to operate at odds with our core values. We start out our careers fresh, pumped, and passionate. We dream of changing the world, of climbing the ladder in leaps and bounds, of making a real difference. And we begin doing just that. But somewhere along the way we start to get busy. Marriage, kids, overtime, special projects, and more. As we pour more and more of our attention and energy into these things, something has to give. We are finite beings, after all, with limited time, energy, willpower, and attention. So we gradually shift into autopilot in different areas of our lives.

As we grow older, learn more, and have more experiences, the goals that we set begin to change. If we continue to operate on autopilot in regard to our core values, one day we’ll find ourselves burned out, wondering how we got there. While core values don’t generally change, they can be refined over time.

Inside-Out

If you are going to be BIG, you must have a conscious understanding of what your core values are, and how they play out in relation to your current goals. BIG is your optimal operating state, and as such is directly linked to the heart of who you are. In other words, your core values. So, in order to be BIG, discover (or re-discover!) your core values.

How do you go about finding your core values?
First, understand that this isn’t something that you can just take five minutes and list out everything of value to you, usually. This will take a little time to reflect, and perhaps revisit.

So start by taking 15 minutes, maybe an hour. Clear your mind, and brainstorm. What is important to you? What drives you? What do you stand for, what values are you honoring, when you are at your best? After you’ve established a base list, feel free to hop online and check out some other values to see if there’s anything that you want to add to your list.

After you’re pretty satisfied with that list, find a few people who know you well and whom you trust, and ask them how they see you. Sometimes things that we value are so close to us that we don’t even notice it, or we take it for granted, but it will stand out to the people who interact with you regularly.

So pull out your calendar, schedule in a coffee date with yourself, and get to know yourself!

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