Core Values for Work & Life
Let’s face it. Without a clear definition of what your core values are, you’ll continue to search for meaning in all the wrong places.
Author: Gabrielle Lopez | August 22, 2022
What Are Your Core Values?
Your core values are the guiding principles of your life that help you determine who you want to be and who you want to surround yourself with, both personally and professionally.
Many of the women I work with experience job dissatisfaction and burn out for two main reasons:
- They work for a company that doesn’t fit their skills and/or interests.
- The company’s core values don’t match their own.
Many times, we go from job to job without ever asking ourselves if this job or company is actually right for us. Instead, we quickly find ourselves chasing the paycheck and ignoring our values along the way.
So, let’s make sure you don’t make the same mistakes by determining what your core values are and how you can apply them to your personal and professional relationships.
Your values are the things that you believe are important. Think of your best friend. More likely than not, I’m going to assume you both share similar values. As a result, you love spending time together. Imagine someone in your life that you don’t get along with. Maybe this is a co-worker, family member or neighbor. This is an individual that doesn’t share the same values as you in a few ways or many ways.
This is why making a conscious effort to identify your values is so important.
How to Choose Your Values
Values exist, whether you recognize them or not.
If you find yourself struggling at work, difficulty creating boundaries or tired of compromising – you probably haven’t made a clear list of what your Core Values are. Life can be much easier when you acknowledge and embrace your values – especially when you make plans and decisions that honor them.
Here are some situations in which understanding your values can really help:
- Searching for a new job or new career
- Deciding what type of company you want to work for
- Starting a new relationship or friendship
- Creating clear boundaries and expectations at work or at home
- Evaluating a new opportunity or request
Remember: the clearer you are, the easier it will be to make decisions and say “no” to opportunities that will not serve you in the long run. This might seem scary at first, but with practice, it becomes easier every time. Very soon, instead of saying yes to everything because you hate disappointing people, you will find yourself saying a polite “no”.
What does a polite “no” look like in real life?
- (When another business wants you to collaborate with them) “Thank you for thinking of me for your upcoming event and wanting me to collaborate with you. However, at this time your event doesn’t align with my quarterly goals so I’ll have to say no. If in the future my calendar opens up, you’ll be the first to know.”
- (To a friend) “I wish I could make it to your party tomorrow but I have to prioritize time with my family and Friday’s are pizza night. Thank you for the invite!”
- (To a manager asking you to do more than what your job is) “I understand you’d like me to take over the social media account, however, this far exceeds my responsibilities as a customer service rep. If you’d like to discuss my role in further detail or talk about compensation for this new role, let’s schedule a meeting.”
See, saying no isn’t hard. You just have to be confident enough to stand your ground and stay true to your values no matter what.
Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment.
When picking which values are most important to you. Here are some examples to get you thinking. Aim for 10 top values and you may find that as you pick some may be similar in nature (For instance, if you value philanthropy, community, and generosity, you might say that service to others is one of your top values.)
Being the best
Making a difference
Don't let this list restrain you.
You've got plenty of options.
Just because I’ve listed out a bunch of words doesn’t mean they’ll all speak to you. So, here’s some more recommendations based on Personal and Company Core Values.
25 Personal Values for Behavior and Traits
- concern for others
- good humor
25 Personal Values about Rights and Causes
- animal rights
- civil disobedience
- community development
- giving back
- historic preservation
- human rights
- individual liberties
- nurturing the next generation
- respect for individuals
- rule of law
- social justice
- stand up for the underdog
- support for the arts
25 Core Company Values about Business Practices
- attention to detail
- clear communication
- continuous improvement
- high performance
- market leader
25 Core Company Values about Company Culture
- hard work
- respect for boundaries
- shared prosperity
- social responsibility
- work-life balance
Become a Value-Driven Professional
Now that you’ve made your list. STICK TO IT. These values are your guide when it comes to networking, hiring, job-hunting, asking for a promotion, dating, volunteering…(you name it!).
I don’t care what the situation is. When you stay committed to only working with people that follow your core values you will feel the difference immediately. You’ll feel supported, understood, heard, valued and, most of all, happy.
This list isn’t for any one else to see, just you. So make it a list that brings you joy, confidence and clarity. In time, you will find yourself only working on the things that excite you. You’ll be able to set boundaries which will save you countless amounts of time, money and energy.
You deserve a life with balance and meaning. Change only happens when you put in the effort and remain consistant – even when things get tough.
What are you waiting for?! Go put your list on your fridge so it can be a daily reminder of what you want to manifest in the world around you.
You’ve got this!
– Gabby Lopez
meet the blogger
Business & Career Expert, Mentor and Creative Entrepreneur
Instead of prescribing what I think you should do, I help you find what works for you.