Who Are You? A 5 step process to find out your personal core values and ethics

In the last podcast episode, we talked about what values mean to us, and how we (and others) are able to shape our own personal values. 

We talked about the importance of being conscious of what personal core values we are developing, so in this episode, I’m sharing an easy process to find out what your values are right now.

By questioning how you show up in significant moments in your life, both good and bad, you’ll be able to determine what your are.

In my experience, I found that “care for others,” “reliability” and a “sense of community” came from the fulfilling activity of making scrubs for healthcare workers. I was then able to see these cropping up elsewhere in my life (e.g. making this podcast), and realised that these are values that are deeply embedded within me. 

Having a list of the values my moral code seems to consist of was incredibly helpful. It allowed me to think about which values I want to exploit more, and which might be ones I’d like to remove (because – spoiler alert – some of us display ethics that we have subconsciously absorbed and don’t truly serve us).

“Loyalty” was a value this process led me to really question. I realised that a conflict with a relative was so painful to me because I’m incredibly loyal. If I only looked at the way that value showed up in that event, I’d probably have wanted to leave it behind because it was incredibly painful. 

The process, though, of examining these values more closely led me to be able to analyse other places that my loyalty shows up: for example, I’m a friend, who will check in on people regularly, and continuously stand beside them in whatever they face. That’s not painful, that’s fulfilling – a reason to keep and use my loyalty even more! 

I also came to realise something else important about my personal core values: they also dictate what I’m passionate about, and help me to define what activities are in alignment with who I am.

My Five Step Process:

  1. Identify two of the most fulfilling moments in your life. How did you show up for them? What values did you display to make them so satisfying?
  2. Identify two of the most difficult moments you’ve been through in your life. What were the personal core values that you showed to help you get through them / make them as manageable for you and others as possible?
  3. You now have a list of values. Which of these values do you show regularly, in your everyday life?
  4. Which of the values on this shortened list do you prioritise most? A good clue to this is that you are likely to look for your most prioritised values in other people. Your top three, four, five values are going to be the most core for you.
  5. Are you happy with that list? Do you feel you should be prioritising others instead? Now it’s time to think about how to continue to exploit the values you prioritise most, and step up values in other areas that you think should be more key in your life.

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