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Why Values Are So Important

Why Values Are So Important

Last week, I wrote an article about Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.  At the bottom of the Pyramid are his 12 Lessons in Leadership.  These are obviously geared toward a team, but these can also be translated into your real-life relationships–personal and professional.   For example:  #1.  Good values attract good people.  #7.  Make each day your masterpiece.  #9.  Make greatness attainable by all.

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Coach Wooden’s first lesson in leadership is about values (good values attract good people).  Values are those qualities that you believe (whether consciously or unconsciously) to be important in your life–both personally and professionally.  They are your ideals.  Values shape your behavior and your attitude toward life.

When your thoughts, words, and actions are congruent; when you’re living as your authentic and best self–chances are your values are in alignment with the way you live your life.

Unhappiness and that feeling of discontent comes when your values are misaligned with your thoughts, words, or actions.  That’s why identifying your values is part of the process of taking full control of your destiny.

Values are an important part of your life.  They’re like a compass, guiding you toward your best work, your best relationship, your best financial situation, your best health–your best life!

Have you heard of the concept of “flow?”  This concept was coined by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, to mean that moment in time when you are completely immersed in an activity.  You are present to the moment, losing track of all time, as you engage your skills and attention to the activity at hand.  Positive psychologists would say that if you want more happiness in your life, experience more flow.  How can you experience more flow?  Start by identifying your values.  Recall the moments when you felt happiest, most proud, or most fulfilled and satisfied.  What values were being expressed in those moments?

Add more flow to your life by living by your authentic values.

  • Do you know what your personal values are?
  • What are your most important values when it comes to your marriage/relationship?
  • What are your work values?
  • How can you better your life by defining your values and being guided by them each day?
  • How can you make each day your masterpiece?

Did you know?  Values can detract from your life as well.  If you say you have the value “family” but instead are living your life as a “lone wolf”–is your professed value authentic?  If you’re in a monogamous relationship but you have cheated, what is your underlying value?  If you say you value freedom but you work at a nine-to-five job you hate–are you honoring that part of yourself?  Are you being authentic?

Identifying your values provides you with an opportunity to become aligned in your thoughts, words, and actions.  You become aligned with your authentic self.

Some of my coaching books say to limit your values list to 10, 5, or even 3.  I say–don’t limit yourself–find what feels authentic to you.  And, keep in mind that some of your values may change over time.  A twenty-year old will have different values than a 50 or 70 year-old.  Take time every year to assess them and change as needed.

Need some ideas for values?  Here’s a small list (there are a lot more) to get you started:

continuous improvement
inner harmony
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