Becoming the Person You Were Meant To Be – part 2: Defining Your Values

The root of finding fulfillment and being true to yourself is understanding your own personal values at a deep and fundamental level.  When you honor your values, you find satisfaction in what you are doing and feel at peace.  On the contrary, when your values are violated, you may feel angry or deeply frustrated.

How can you discover your values?  One way is to look at  list of values and try to select those that speak to you, and then keep shortening the list until you are down to the most important 5 and prioritizing those.  You can also look at moments in your life when you felt most fulfilled, satisfied and full of purpose and ask yourself which values were being honored.  Conversely, when you think of times you were angry, you can ask yourself which values were being violated.

I noticed this myself when I found myself getting angry over trying to change an airline ticket to go home about 12 hours earlier than planned, and being asked to pay more than 3x what the original ticket had cost for the pleasure of doing so.  When I looked closely at my reaction I realized that I have a strong value around fairness, and this situation just felt inherently unfair, and that was the basis for my anger.

Keep a list of your values and once you have the top five, try sorting them in order of importance.  Which one must you honor above all others?  Which one would keep you from being happy were it violated?  Once you have a top value, which one would come next?  And so forth.

These Values help you quickly assess opportunities, people, projects and environments which will serve you and those which will conflict with your core values.  Here’s one list of possible values, but you may find others fit more closely for you – feel free to add your own words and explore what feels right for you.

Abundance Acceptance Accomplishment Accuracy
Achievement Adaptability Adventure Affection
Affluence Aggressiveness Agility Alertness
Altruism Ambition Appreciation Assertiveness
Attentiveness Attractiveness Audacity Awareness
Balance Beauty Belonging Benevolence
Boldness Bravery Brilliance Calmness
Candor Capability Celebrity Certainty
Challenge Charity Charm Chastity
Cheerfulness Clarity Cleanliness Comfort
Commitment Compassion Confidence Conformity
Connection Consciousness Consistency Contribution
Control Coolness Cooperation Courtesy
Creativity Credibility Curiosity Decisiveness
Deference Dependability Depth Determination
Devoutness Dignity Diligence Discipline
Discovery Discretion Diversity Dominance
Duty Economy Education Effectiveness
Efficiency Elegance Empathy Endurance
Energy Enthusiasm Excellence Expertise
Exploration Fairness Faith Family
Fearlessness Fidelity Financial independence Firmness
Fitness Flexibility Flow Focus
Freedom Friendliness Frugality Generosity
Giving Grace Gratitude Growth
Harmony Health Holiness Honesty
Honor Humility Humor Imagination
Impact Impartiality Independence Industry
Insightfulness Integrity Intelligence Intensity
Intimacy Intuition Joy Justice
Kindness Knowledge Leadership Learning
Liberty Logic Love Loyalty
Making a difference Mastery Maturity Meekness
Mellowness Mindfulness Modesty Neatness
Obedience Open-mindedness Optimism Organization
Originality Passion Peace Perceptiveness
Perfection Perseverance Philanthropy Piety
Playfulness Poise Popularity Power
Pragmatism Preparedness Privacy Professionalism
Prosperity Punctuality Purity Realism
Reason Recognition Recreation Relaxation
Reliability Resilience Resourcefulness Respect
Reverence Rigor Sacredness Sacrifice
Security Self-control Selflessness Self-reliance
Sensitivity Sensuality Serenity Service
Sexuality Silliness Simplicity Sincerity
Skillfulness Solidarity Spirituality Spontaneity
Strength Structure Success Support
Sympathy Teamwork Temperance Traditionalism
Tranquility Trust Truth Understanding
Unflappability Utility Variety Virtue
Vision Vitality Wealth Winning
Wisdom Wonder Zeal