Core Values

Core Values

What do you stand for? What are the values you operate from? One of the churches in my area is doing a survey of the community to set their Core Values. When you know your Core Values, decisions on projects, funding, priorities and so forth become much easier. Priorities, goals and practices all flow out of ones values. And they allow an organization to set their Vision and Mission as well.

You may see such exercises as meaningless drivel. There are any number of organizations with fancy mission statements that are largely meaningless and unknown to most staff. But if you wonder at your own purpose or mission, you may find it useful to consider what your Core Values are first. These values flow out of your purpose so can help to illuminate it. It’s also always worth being conscious of what’s driving you, what your passions arise from.

Here are a few dozen. Mark or make a list of the ones that strike you as important. What you value, believe in or find meaning in. Don’t spend a lot of time thinking about “good” ones. Focus on what feels important to you personally. Remember, you’re not looking for skills or desires but rather what you value, what has meaning for you. You may have similar words you prefer or other words altogether. Add them to your list.

Accessibility Fairness Involvement Quality
Accomplishment Faith Joy Rationality
Accountability Fame Justice Recognition
Adventure Family Knowledge Rehabilitation
Appreciation Fitness Leadership Relationships
Authenticity Flair Learning Reliability
Autonomy Flexibility Love Resourcefulness
Beauty Forgiveness Loyalty Respect
Charity Freedom Meaning Responsibility
Clarity Friendship Merit Responsiveness
Cleanliness Fun Mobility Rule of law
Collaboration Generosity Non-violence Safety
Commitment Global view Nurturing Security
Communication Goodness Openness Self-reliance
Community Gratitude Opportunity Service
Compassion Growth Optimism Sexuality
Competence Happiness Order Simplicity
Cooperation Harmony Organization Sincerity
Courage Health Originality Spiritual Growth
Creativity Heritage Patience Spiritual Practice
Curiosity Heroism Peace Stability
Decisiveness Honesty Persistence Strength
Dependability Honor Personal growth Style
Determination Hope Perspective Success
Discipline Humor Philosophy Support
Discovery Imagination Play Synergy
Diversity Inclusiveness Pleasure Teamwork
Duty Independence Positive attitude Tolerance
Education Influence Power Tradition
Efficiency Initiative Practicality Tranquility
Empathy Inner peace Preservation Trust
Empowerment Innovation Prestige Truth
Environment Inspiration Pride Variety
Equality Integrity Productivity Vision
Excellence Intelligence Prosperity Wellness
Expression Intuition Purity Wisdom

Once you have a list, narrow it down to about 5-7. If you have very similar words like Truth and Honesty, consider which is the Core or Root value for you. The idea is to find the values that are most important to you. They are the essence of your greatest priorities.

By being conscious of your values, you gain insight into your beliefs and motivations. It makes setting priorities more straightforward and you can make better choices. When you’re faced with a decision, you can ask yourself which choice meets your values.

“The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth.” – Albert Einstein

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” – Roy Disney (Walt’s older brother and the Disney financier)

If you want to go deeper, you can put the Values in priority order and explore how you want them expressed in your life. What are the results and behaviours you see if you’re acting from Clarity, for example?

You can then consider how this translates into a Vision for your life. Several years ago, when I wrote Expressing Purpose, I spoke of Core Values arising out of Purpose. But if we’re trying to discover Purpose, we can also work from Core Values back to uncover our Purpose. The article also points to one’s Vision and Mission.

What do you value most?

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