Tracey Sofra Blog

How Values Help You

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“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” 
- Roy E Disney

Your values are the things you believe are important in life. They determine your priorities and – deep down – they are the standards you use to measure your life. When your behaviours and actions are aligned with your values, you’re satisfied, content, and happy. When they don’t align, things feel wrong. Misalignment of values can be a real source of unhappiness.

The same applies to your goals, because they will determine your future behaviours and actions. When your goals align with your values, you feel motivated and inspired, even when the going gets tough. This is why it’s so important to identify your values before setting your goals.

How Values Help You

Values exist, whether you recognise them or not. Life is much easier when you acknowledge your values, and then make plans and decisions that honour them.

If you value family but work 70-hour weeks, won't you feel internal stress and conflict? If you don't value competition but work in a highly competitive sales environment, won't you be dissatisfied with your job?

When you know your values, you make better decisions about how to live your life. For example, you can congruently answer questions like these:

  • What job should I pursue?
  • Should I accept this promotion?
  • Should I start my own business?
  • Should I compromise or be firm with my position?
  • Should I follow tradition or travel down a new path?

Take the time to understand the real priorities in your life, and you’ll be able to determine the best direction for you and your life goals.

Defining Your Values

Use the six-step process below to identify and define your values. As you do this, keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers. Your values are your own, and they don’t have to match anybody else’s values.

1. Identify when you were happiest

Identify when in your life you felt really good and confident you were making the right choices.

  • What were you doing?
  • Were you with other people? Who?
  • What other factors contributed to your happiness?

For balance, find examples from both your career and personal life.

2. Identify when you were most proud

Look for moments in your life that filled you with pride – for yourself and for others in your life.

  • Why were you proud?
  • Did other people share your pride? Who?
  • What other factors contributed to your feelings of pride?

Again, look for examples from both your career and personal life.

3. Identify when you felt most fulfilled and satisfied

Identify times when you knew you were fulfilled or satisfied.

  • What need or desire was fulfilled?
  • How and why did the experience give your life meaning?
  • What other factors contributed to your feelings of fulfilment?

Again, look for examples from both your career and personal life.

4. Determine your top values

Reflect on the moments above to determine your highest values. For each moment, identify exactly what made it truly important and memorable to you, and that will guide you to identifying the personal value behind it.

Identifying and understanding your values is a challenging but an important exercise. Your personal values are a central part of who you are, and drive who you want to be. By becoming more aware of these important factors in your life, you can use them as a guide to make the best choice in any situation.

Many of life's big decisions depend on what you value most. When many options seem reasonable, it's helpful and comforting to rely on your values, and use them as a strong guiding force to point you in the right direction.


Email: tracey(at)traceysofra.com.au  Phone: 0409700079

Posted by Tracey Sofra at November 18, 2016

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