We are all unique in own way, but what is it that makes us unique as a person? Well, a large part is contributed to our values. Our personal values define who we are as a person. Our values are the things and ideas that are most important to us and believe it or not but our values guide our everyday decisions and actions both consciously and subconsciously. Now you may think “Hang on, I don’t have any values. At least I can’t think of any that I may have.” Actually, even if you can’t think of any values you may have you will probably find you do, it’s just that you have never carried out the task of identifying them. Identifying your values isn’t as hard as it sounds; your values are there and have been carefully constructed over years and years of environmental influence. The experiences you’ve had and people you’ve met have all contributed in some way to the development of your values and I will share with you 6 practical steps towards identifying them. 1. Prepare your mind Ok so even before you begin thinking about what your values are we need to ‘prep our workstation’. In other words, get your mind into a state that allows you to be fully present and aware during your values identifying. So ensure you are not distracted then close your eyes and take a few deep breaths ensuring to focus on the sensation of air entering your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Focus on the sounds around you for a while and when you're ready slowly open your eyes. You should feel more relaxed, clear, and ready to begin. 2. Be inspired Not sure where to start? Here are some useful ways to to get the ball rolling: - Values lists. You can find numerous value lists on the internet. Have a look through them to see if anything resonates with you. - Ask friends and family. Sometimes those close to us can see traits that we don't. Ask people that you trust to provide honest and supportive feedback. - Past experiences. Think back to experiences where you have been outstanding; what was happening? What did you say? What did you do? Why did you do it? - List your achievements. Bring to mind all your past achievements and the different skills and abilities you drew to achieve each outcome. 3. Narrow your list Okay so you hopefully by now you have quite the list happening here, but what we want is your core values, the most important ones. Some people will say you should have max 6, some say 10, some say 20. As not to complicate the process and so that you can remember them all I would recommend between 6 to 8. 4. Details It's important to have some clarity as to what each value represents and means to you. Whilst 2 people could both have the value of trust this could be for different reasons. So for each core value describe more precisely what that value represents for you. 5. Display them After all that hard work you may be feeling excited, you may be feeling anxious about this new exploration of yourself, you may even feel exhausted after this mental and emotional work. Whatever you’re feeling that’s ok. However, the last thing you want to do is forget all the hard work you’ve done. So put those values up somewhere you will see them such as your bedroom, on a mirror or as a note in your phone. It’s important to display your core values as a reminder of who you are, what you believe in, and to guide everyday thoughts, emotions, and feelings.