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Self awareness

Managing yourself: values

Values are our important and lasting beliefs and ideals. They influence the way we act and think, operating unconsciously the majority of the time.

People that have a strong sense of what is important to them usually have a real sense of purpose that pushes them forward, but what if you don’t know what it is that drives you and you are just going on autopilot?

Our values act as an internal barometer for determining whether our actions are “right” or “wrong” and therefore all of our past experiences, good and bad, have made up who we are as an individual.  

Perhaps those beliefs are different in different contexts i.e. – the values of those we surround ourselves with at work may be far different from those we choose to surround ourselves with outside of work.

When thinking about your inner self you now know what’s important to you and what each of those things looks like and means to you on a personal level. Quite often it’s tempting to stop there however the most important question you now need to ask yourself is WHY these things are important to you. 

Tapping into the WHY will help you understand what motivates you at a core level. It will show you why you are drawn to similar people with similar values and give you a baseline to measure other values contexts such as career and love decisions. You will understand why it’s hard to relate to those with a very different set of values. 


  • Take yourself to a quiet place in your home. Think about who you are as a person and what in your life is important to you.  Using a pen and paper write down what is important to you. List at least 10 things.
  • Look at the list of things that are important to you. What does each thing mean? i.e.: if you have “health” on the list, define what good health looks like and what’s important about it. 
  • Next to your list of meanings write down WHY this thing is important to you. Be very honest with yourself and if you need to, ask several times.
  • Put them in order of most important to you to least. Acknowledge what grounds you as a person and use what you have learned to navigate a decision you have felt conflicted about making in the last few weeks.
  • You now have a list of values that is a blueprint for who you are.

What have you learned about yourself? Has understanding your values shined a light on why you have been motivated to respond to things happening around you in a particular way? 

Is there anything on your list that has only become important to you or has increased in importance to you because of what is currently happening across society?