Drilling Down Into Your Values

Let’s drill down.  Drill down into your essence.  Into your core values.

Now, I’ve done a series of blogs and videos touching on specific topics that were important to me, trying to show how to look at this topic from multiple viewpoints, but what I’d really like to do with article is just drill down with you.

Discovering what your values are sounds like it should be an easy endeavor, something that would be easy to undertake. I mean, you have values, right? But when you sit down and actually start going over in your mind what these things are, what are my core values? what drives me forward? it’s not as easy as it sounds. So, here’s a question for you.

When you were five years old, what did you absolutely love doing?

Was it watching science fiction?  Playing in the woods?  Collecting bugs?  Riding a bike? Playing football or basketball? Doing gymnastics? Doing your hair? What did you really like to do with your free time?  What was the thing that made you excited to get up in the morning when you were five? Maybe it was to go to school.  Now let’s jump forward.

Write these items down.

Let’s go to you’re 10 or 12 years old. What made you want to get out of bed and jump into the world then? Maybe you didn’t. Maybe you’ve had a hard life. So what was it, if you had a hard life, that gave you meaning and purpose and excited you and made you want to get out there and be part of the world even though life was hard? Was it your schoolwork? Were you good at one particular thing like mathematics or reading or history? Was it a craft? Was it belonging to the boy or the girl scouts? Was it belonging to a club or playing chess, video games? What was it?

Write these items down.

Now fast forward again. Jump …. You’re 15, you’re 16 years old, what excited you then? What were the things that made you want to get involved and be engaged? Once again, was it your academics? Was it your classwork? Was it a specific subject? Was it German or French or physics? Or was it auto body? Or home economics? Which one of these things really spoke to you that you truly enjoyed? You would get an A in this class, and you would have to put forth very little effort. Or, if you gave effort, it didn’t actually matter because the process was so wonderful that you could think of nothing you’d rather be doing.

Write these items down.

Now, take a look across the paper  and note the similarities. What themes begin to bubble up for you? When I was five, I loved to draw. When I was 10, I still loved to draw, but now I was paying more attention to the details, and by the time I was 15 or 16, I was taking all the rules that I had about drawing and art and stretching them and being as creative as I could possibly be. With that, creativity might very well be one of your core values.

Now maybe when you were five you were more of a peacemaker. You didn’t like it when your siblings fought. You didn’t like it when your parents fought. You didn’t like fighting in general, and so you would typically step in and try to help people see each other’s point of view, at five. Then at 10, you did more or less the same, but you were more reserved. You would sit back. You would watch, and you would wait, and then you would intervene, and then by the time you were 15 or you were 16, you found yourself involved with the student body or perhaps with an advocacy group. You were involved with a social organization or club.

What is the underlying theme behind these things? Do you value tranquility? Do you value joy? Do you value compassion and understanding? This is how we start to drill down into our core values, our prime values. So take a moment. I only gave you these two examples, and I’d like for you to just take some time, write down at five, at 10, and at 15, possibly even 20, what were the things that you had to do? What were the things you could not not do?

It’s within this information, it’s within this data that you write down on a sheet of paper, that you’ll be able to see a theme, and behind the theme, find your values. Find your core, and know who you are.  Once you have that, it becomes easier to better understand yourself and what direction you need to go in order to live a meaningful life.


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