4 Ways Your Core Values Are Your Greatest AssetsNone By Pamela Gold
One of the first questions I always ask someone I am coaching is, “What are your core values?” Another way of asking that same question: “What are the human qualities that you find inherently worthy, no matter what else may play out?” This question lies at the heart of our self-respect, which in turn is fundamental to how much we trust ourselves and our self-esteem.
How do your values affect every area of your life? And how does determining what they are have such a powerful impact on your relationship with yourself?
1. Knowing your core values allows you to trust yourself more.
Often life is confusing, and we are stuck with a decision that seems to force us to choose between bad and maybe worse. Both choices seem undesirable enough that we really feel stuck not knowing the exact “right” thing to do. If we are clear on our core values, this is our North Star or our compass. Even when we cannot clearly see the best path, if we use our core values to drive our decision-making, we can feel good—because no matter what the outcome is, we can look at ourselves in the mirror and feel like we did our best. That is clarity, and that builds trust.
2. Your core values build your self-esteem.
Feeling worthy of love or “good enough” is one of the pillars of self-esteem, and I haven’t ever met someone who doesn’t struggle with this on some level. We are wired from birth to seek everything that we need from the outside in: food, love, validation. Did I do well enough on the test? Did I get a good enough time in the race? Did I get into the school? Did I get the promotion? As we all know, any given outcome can go either way, which means that at any given moment, we can be falling short. If instead we look from the inside out, using our core values as the litmus test for “good enough,” and live those values with the highest amount of integrity, we have the power to insulate ourselves from outcomes that fall on the “I learned something today” side of the coin, instead of the “Woo-hoo, I knocked it out of the park” side. Even when the outcome falls short, if we did our best, we were brave, and we were kind, we can look in the mirror and feel proud. We always have control over our integrity with our core values; that is where we can hold ourselves to high standards, focusing on the process instead of the outcome.
3. Core values are bridges, not walls.
If we go deep enough, we share core values with all healthy humans—they are powerful bridges to connect us, not walls to keep us apart or defend ourselves with. Relationships are one of our core needs in life, and studies show that social interaction is the number-one activity tied to longevity. Focusing on our core values and the core values of others—and seeing how we can find the commonality even when there are different hierarchies or perceptions—is a powerful tool in our quest for connection. The next time you’re in an interpersonal conflict, pause and ask yourself which of your core values are driving your perspective on the situation. Then try to figure out the other person’s core value perspectives. Finally, see how you might find a way to meet both in a potential solution.
4. You can rest in your core values.
Life is a seemingly constant source of stress. Our core values can give us the peace, quiet, and rest that we desperately seek. In moments of pain and struggle, we can focus on those core values and practice embodying them, which can ground us and empower us. Think about practicing gratitude, humility, compassion, and courage in the really stressful moments, and you will see what I mean. It takes practice, which is why I always recommend practicing when it is easy—so that it will come easier when things are hard. As soon as you realize that you are out of alignment with this practice, just come back to it; know that returning to your core values in and of themselves will make it easier next time.
Pamela Gold is a best-selling author, speaker, mind/body/spirit strength expert, and entrepreneur. The founder of Peace Power Parenting and HACKD Fitness, Pamela grew up on her family’s apple farm in upstate New York, graduated from Yale University, and was the point person on an IPO at the age of 24. After becoming a mom, holistic wellness became her passion; all of her work stems from that calling.
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