Values are the guiding principles that dictate your behaviour and actions. In both your personal and professional life, your values can help you determine whether or not you’re on the right road to reaching your goals. They are your GPS.
Your values influence the choices you make, in both your personal life and how you conduct your business.
Examples of some personal values are: the fundamental importance of family, maintaining a healthy work/life balance and that all people should be treated equally.
Examples of some business values are: being environmentally friendly, giving back to the community, or a commitment to innovation, such as Apple based on its motto, ‘Think Different’.
Why should you have values?
Some of the key benefits include:
They help you find your purpose in life and what’s important to you. If you don’t know what’s important to you, how can you know what you want from your life? When you answer this question, it will become so much clearer for you.
They help you clear out the clutter. Whether in business or in life, we are consumed by so much around us. You get caught up in things that you may really not want or need or even believe in. Your values will help get rid of all that unwanted baggage.
They help you make the right decisions, both personally and professionally. Your values will keep you focused if you are true to them. People makes decisions based on emotion far too often and therefore stray from their core values. Be clear on your values. Be clear on what you want. Always make the right decision.
They help guide you to act in accordance with what’s important to you. You will naturally do and say the things that matter most to you. Your core values are who you are and when tuned into them, you will act accordingly.
They help you to react in difficult situations. Like decision-making, when we are faced with a difficult scenario, we can act on impulse or with emotion, therefore not thinking about our response. Before reacting, stop, think and consider your values and what’s important to you. Your answer may well be very different.
They help you to gain compatibility with all personal and business relationships. You will be drawn to people of similar values as you will rate them highly and similarly, and others will be drawn to you. You will work better with people aligned to your values and your relationships will also be stronger on a personal level.
They help to increase your overall confidence. When you know what’s important to you, then other people’s opinions and thoughts do not matter. Your values will give you stability and therefore confidence to do what you want to do.
They help with your overall happiness. You will have a purpose, clear out the clutter, make right decisions, react well in difficult situations, improve relationships and become increasingly more confident. How can that not help with your overall happiness?
Inconsistency with values
The problem is that many people and businesses say they have certain values but, when push comes to shove, their actions are incongruent with the values they claim to uphold. For example, a builder who says he prides himself on his work, but who cuts corners to make a higher profit, values money more than he values his workmanship. Similarly, a builder who purports to value high customer service standards, but leaves a job half-completed to attend to another from a customer who gives him multiple jobs, also values money more than he values true customer service.
S. G. Night said is best, ‘The truth is in your actions.’
Unfortunately, there are many of us that struggle with this concept, whether that is because of the fear of missing out, greed, or simply wanting to please everyone and putting their values ahead of yours.
So how can you determine your true values, rather than just listing a range of attributes you’d like to have?
Dr John Demartini, a human behavioural specialist, educator and best-selling author, explains that values arise from our voids, in other words by what we perceive as most missing. What you perceive as most missing (void) in your life therefore becomes what you perceive as most important (value). The bigger the void, the more important the value. The more important a value is, the more discipline and order you will have associated with it.
To determine what these are, Demartini has developed the Demartini Value Determination Process – a 13 question assessment centred around what you do, how you do it and how you think and feel about it.
Demartini’s 13 questions are:
Look carefully and specifically at how you fill your personal or professional space.
What are the three items that you fill your space with most? What three items stand out in your space?
Look carefully and accurately at how you spend your time. What are the three things that you spend your time on most? You will make time for things that are really important to you and you will run out of time for things that aren’t.
Next, look at how you spend your energy and what energises you the most. What are the three things that you always find energy for? You will always have energy for things that are truly highest on your values list and that inspire you.
How do you spend your money and your resources? What are the three things that you spend your money on most? You will feel reluctant to spend money on things you perceive to be unimportant.
Where are you the most ordered and organised? Where do you have the highest degree of order and organisation? What are the three things that you are most organised in? Where are you most organised?
Where are you most reliable, disciplined and focused? What are the three things you are most reliable on? Whatever is highest you value, you will be disciplined to do.
What do you inwardly think about most? What are your innermost dominant thoughts? What are the three things that you dominate your thoughts on?
What do you visualise most about how you would love your life to be that is gradually showing fruits and coming into reality? What are the three things that you visualise, envision, or daydream about most and bringing about?
What do you internally dialogue with yourself about most that is meaningful and that is gradually coming true or into your life? What are the three things that you internally talk to yourself about most that are manifesting?
What do you most talk about in social settings? What are the three things that you converse with others about? What are the three things that you keep wanting to bring into conversations?
What inspires you or are you inspired about most? What is common to the people who have inspired you? What is common to all the things, insights, experiences or events that have repeatedly inspired you?
You are most willing to stretch yourself and persistently act towards goals that have the most meaning to you. So, what are the three most consistent long-term goals that you have persisted working towards that have stood the test of time?
What topics of study inspire you the most? When you enter a bookstore, which section do you make a beeline for? Which topic of magazines do you subscribe to? Which section of the newspapers do you turn to first? Are there nonfiction TV shows or film documentaries that you seek out?
Your values are YOURS and yours only.
You know them and all you need to do is to understand how they can help you determine your what, why and how.
Please share your values – we’d love to hear about them.
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Tony has 33 years’ experience as an accountant, and 13 years’ experience as a CPA. His first 18 years’ experience involved financial, management and operational accounting roles at a senior management level, in the security, transport, and forensic accounting industries