Have you ever been in a situation where your conscience warned you not to do something?

Maybe you were tempted to lie, but chose to be honest because you value honesty.

Personal values are characteristics that guide our decisions and reveal what's important to us. Our values help us act in ways that match how we want to live our lives.

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What Are Personal Values?

Are personal values just things that we love? If Jo love pizza, does that make it a personal value? Not quite. Let's cut into this example to take a closer look.

Flaticon Icon Maybe Jo only eats pizza with friends and family.

So while pizza isn't a personal value, it could connect Jo to their value of strong personal relationships.

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Which of the following is NOT an example of a personal value?

Identifying Personal Values

To help identify your personal values, reflect on your hopes and dreams. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. If money was no issue, what would be your dream career?

  2. When you think of your loved ones, what traits of theirs do you most admire?

  3. What do you want to change about the world?

  4. What were situations that caused you to feel happy?

  1. What were situations that left you feeling angry or disappointed?

  2. How would you want to be remembered by your loved ones?

  3. How would you want your new coworkers to describe you six months from now?

  4. What makes you proud of yourself?

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Finding Your Top 5 Values

Now that you have a better idea of what you truly value in life, it's time to determine the personal values that matter most. Follow these next few steps to reveal your Top 5 personal values.

  1. Begin with a list of values. You can a find a number of free lists if you Google the phrase "list of personal values".

  2. Choose your top 25 values from the list.

  3. From your list of 25, narrow it down to your Top 10.

  1. From your list of 10, narrow it down to your Top 5. This can be difficult! Reflect on which 5 values most encompass who you are and who you want to be.

  2. Celebrate! You uncovered them. Now it's time to live your values.

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Take Action

Our conscience guides us in moments where we find ourselves steering off-course, but it's important that we take an active role in striving to be our truest self. Reflecting on what is most important to us helps identify our personal values.

To find your values, ask yourself:

Who am I?

Who do I want to be?

What kind of impact do I want to leave on the world?

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