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Let's start with what core values are not. They are not something you check-off your to-do list. Those to-do list items are goals. Let me explain...
My goal for today is to finish writing a report.
Pretty straightforward, right? Once it is done, it is done. It might get you closer to finishing the work day or help towards a promotion.
A value is never done. You can move closer to it and father away from it, but it is never done. You don't check it off a to-do list. It is more a way of living than a thing to complete.
I value showing respect to my clients.
You don't show respect to a client and say... "that's it. Done with showing respect for today." It is a way to approach your goals, your relationships, and your life.
In order to live by your core values, you have to identify them first. A psychologist can be helpful in piecing through what YOU actually value. There are countless options out there and honing in on what is special to you is key.
Once you have determined your values, you assess how these values are (or are not) playing out in your life. Are you making life choices that align with your values? Does your work support your values or does it pull you away from them?
Step #1: Identify your values
Step #2: Examine your life and choices that are shaping your life.
Step #3: Move towards values-based living by incorporating these core values into your life.
Sounds easy, doesn't it? It is hard. But you can do it.
The first step in values-based living is identifying those core values. The second step is deciding how you want to shape your life around values-based living. The third step is actually doing it! Often easier said than done but completely doable with attention, support, and practice.
We often have a gut reaction when we are not living by our core values. Something seems off. We may notice our goals and our values are not aligning... even if they did in the past.
You need to take stock of your values and identify which ones are most important to you at this time in your life. You can't live by each one in every moment in the most perfect way. You then work with a mental health professional to develop a plan, so that you can answer this question with a concrete "yes" or "no" or "I am moving towards it by doing x, y, and z." Each of those answers feels much better than "well, I don't know."
It takes work and can be an incredibly fulfilling process.
– Melinda Gates