As a high-achieving woman, you have a lot on your plate. Between all the demands placed on you from all the roles you play, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s truly important to you. But after spending years taking care of everyone else and making sure everyone else was happy, you know you’re craving something more. What that is exactly you’re not sure. But you’re ready to begin exploring what else you’re here to do. Before you jump into making any big decisions, it’s vital that you start by getting clear about who you are and what’s most important to you. Let’s dive into this by identifying your values. I promise you, this will be so helpful. Identifying your values is such a crucial step in making decisions that will help you create a life that feels aligned with your most authentic self.
Resource (blog post): Afraid to Make Decisions? Here’s Why and What To Do
Values are guideposts we can use to shape our behavior and decision-making. They’re the things we believe are most important. Our values can include things like honesty, compassion, growth, and adventure, for example. Values are deeply personal and unique to each one of us, and they can change over time as we have new experiences, learn, and grow.
When we’re not clear on our values, it can be challenging to make decisions that are aligned with who we really are. Without them we might find ourselves going along with what others expect of us or making choices based on external factors like money or status. This can lead to feel dissatisfied, burnt out, confused, and even depressed.
On the other hand, when we’re in touch with our values, we have a clear sense of what matters most to us. We can use our them as guideposts to make bold and aligned decisions that support our growth, happiness, and fulfillment.
When we’re clear on our values, we can use them as a compass to guide our decisions. For example, if your top value is creativity, you may choose to take an art class or start a side hustle that allows you to express your artistic side. If your top value is family, you may decide to prioritize spending time with loved ones over working late at the office. By living in alignment with our values, we can create a life that feels authentic, fulfilling, and purposeful. So, now that you’re ready to uncover your unique values, let’s dive in.
The first step in identifying your values is to take some time to reflect on what matters most to you. Grab a notebook and pen and write down anything that comes to mind when you think about what’s most important in your life. Don’t censor yourself or worry about what others might think. This is a personal exercise and your answers will be unique to you.
Think about some of the happiest, most fulfilling moments in your life. What was happening at the time? Where were you? What were you surrounded by? What were you doing? How were you feeling? What values were you living into? Write down as many examples as you can think of.
Resource (blog post) Are Misaligned Values Causing More Stress?
Now think about some of the most challenging times in your life. What was happening at the time? Where were you? What were you surrounded by? What were you doing? How were you feeling? Which values were being suppressed? This exercise can help you identify values that are especially important to you because you could feel their absence during these difficult times.
Think about the things that matter most to you. These are your non-negotiables – the things you’re willing to prioritize no matter what. They are the things that you feel completely depleted if you don’t include in your life. Write down as many non-negotiables as you can think of.
Look back over your responses to the first 4 steps. Notice any patterns and common themes in your responses. Are there any values that show up consistently? Do some of your non-negotiables fall under the same category? Group them together into categories that make sense to you.
Once you have identified all of your values, take a moment to highlight the top 5-10 that are the most important to you. These are the values that feel the most true for you and that support you in showing up in your life in the way you want to. By highlighting these, you can start to prioritize them and you can use them to help guide you with any decisions you want to make.
After highlighting your top 5-10 values, rank them in order of importance. This can be difficult because, if you’re like me, they’ll all seem important to you. But ranking them in order of importance will help you start to see which are non-negotiables for your sense of self and well-being.
To truly understand your values and why they’re important to you, it’s important to articulate the deeper meaning behind each one. Ask yourself questions like:
By answering these questions, you can gain a deeper understanding of your values and how they support you in creating a more intentional life.
After getting clear about the deeper meaning behind each value, give yourself a day or two to let them be. Then come back to them. Test them out by asking yourself the following questions:
Now that you’ve identified your values, it is time to start living into them. Your values will help guide you towards the decisions that are most aligned with who you are and who you want to become. Making decisions based on your values allows you to feel more fulfilled, purposeful, and connected to yourself and others.
One way to start living into your values is to set goals that are aligned with them. For example, if one of your values is health, you could set a goal to exercise for 30 minutes each day or to eat more vegetables with each meal. If one of your values is creativity, you could set a goal to spend an hour each day working on a creative project or to sign up for a class that allows you to explore your creative side.
Another way to live into your values is to start noticing when you’re acting in alignment with them and when you aren’t. When you notice that you’re acting in alignment with your values, take a moment to acknowledge yourself and celebrate your success. When you notice that you’re not acting in alignment with your values, ask yourself what needs to change so that you can start living into them more fully.
Don’t forget that your values can change over time as you grow and evolve. Revisiting this process regularly can help you stay connected to your authentic self and ensure that your values are still aligned with who you are and what you want to create in your life. And remember, the journey to uncovering your values is an ongoing process, so be patient, stay curious, and keep exploring what’s true for you in each season.
If you’re wanting to begin the process of prioritizing what’s right for you, one of the most important first skills is to learn to say no to what isn’t right for you anymore. If you want help saying no in a way that feels safe, head below to grab my guide to saying no without feeling guilty.
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