Once you've developed your personal mission statement, it's time to move on to identifying your core values.
First, let's talk about why identifying your core values is so important. Many of us have a general sense of what we value in life - what we think is most important to us. But how many of us have made decisions that are in conflict with their values?
One of my clients was a busy professional with a husband and two children. She was adamant that she valued family more than anything, but when she began looking at the decisions she was making in the context of her values, she found she that she didn't seem to really "walk the walk." She was working 60+ hours a week, never took vacation time, missed most of her children's activities, and rarely spoke to her husband for more than a few moments each day. It seemed to me that her primary value was actually work. Now does that mean she didn't love her family? Not at all! It meant that she was pushing her values aside and wasn't being intentional about how she was living her life. She wasn't living a life in accordance with her personal mission and values. You may be in that trap too. So let's get looking at your values.
There are a lot of great ways to identify your values. Coaches have a number of ways they can do this with clients - and they can really help you to flesh out those values. One of the easiest ways to do this is to simply create a list. It can be difficult to list your values off the top of your head, so I like to begin with a list of common values and select ones that resonate with you. You can add to this list, search the internet for other common value lists, and brainstorm with others to complete your list. Take out your trusty notebook. Begin with the list below and write down any value that speaks to you. Remember to only write down values that truly are important to you, not values that you think should be important to you. It's important to be honest with yourself. (Click on the list to enlarge it!)
Are there other values that are important to you that are missing? Search the web. Talk to a trusted friend or family member. Examine your life. If there are missing values, add them to your list! Once you are finished, begin paring the list down until you've identified your top 10 values. You may even try to rank order those values. How do you feel about that list? How does it feel to see those values in writing? Does it reflect who you are? Adjust the list until you're really satisfied with it.
Now return to your personal mission statement. Does your personal mission statement fit with the values you identified? Is it in conflict with those values? Do you need to revise the mission statement or the values in order to have them align with each other? Spend some time reflecting on those questions and make sure that the two work together in a clear way. You may continue to revise and refine these as we work through the personal strategic planning process. That's ok! Completing your plan is a process, and the end product is going to be so helpful to you. You'll never go back to resolutions again!
This post is the second in a series of posts about personal strategic plans.