Core Values Exercise

As I read Chapter 3 of The Art of Coaching, I came across the section on core values and beliefs. As humans, most of our actions stem from our core values. Aguilar provides an activity to complete to figure out one’s core values on her website, so I decided to give it a try. It was harder than I thought it would be!

The first step is to get ahold of a copy of the list of core values. This list can be printed, but I chose to save the PDF file and then use the Snipping Tool on my computer to mark up the document. Once a copy has been obtained, the first step is to circle the ten values you find most important. I used a highlighting pen for this part:

corevaluesstep1

I chose to highlight choice, creativity, fun, goals, imagination, making a difference, passion, personal growth, positive attitude, and trust as my 10 choices.

From the list of ten, you must then narrow the results down to just five. If you thought getting ten originally was hard, getting rid of five options is even harder. I found that it wasn’t too hard to narrow mine, as I felt some of the options were similar. I ended up with this:

corevaluesstep2

For this part I crossed off fun, goals, imagination, choice, and trust.

The final step of this activity is to cross off two more items, and end up with three left. These three items are most likely your core values, which you use almost subconsciously to guide your decisions in your life. Here’s my final worksheet image:

corevaluesstep3

I finally decided to cross off Making a Difference and passion. This left me with creativity, personal growth, and positive attitude as my core values.

Of course, I’m not finished just yet. With the completed worksheet in hand, there were also some reflection questions to answer:

1. Notice the feelings that come up when you read your short list. How does your energy shift?

Looking at my final three values, it seems as though these are the values I’ve been leaning toward most of this school year after being exposed to some amazing people and events. I feel like “Yes! Let’s get started and tackle some amazing things together! Let’s learn new things and grow!” It is a feeling that I love, and what makes me love my work the most.

2. Consider how the actions you take reflect your core values. Are there values that show up more often in your actions at work? At home? In social circles? With family? Do you ever notice a discrepancy between what you consider to be a “value” and actions that you take?

If I think about it, personal growth shows up most in my work life because I’m so into using Twitter to discover new ideas and books. I always strive to learn more and build connections. I feel like some of my work bleeds into my personal life, as it simply adds to the happiness I experience from my personal hobbies and interests. Creativity is often found when I work with children or am playing Minecraft. There are also the random times that I randomly make up songs or words, just because I can. It drives my fiance crazy sometimes, but she’s used to it by this point. Positive attitude is everywhere. I try to definitely be positive at work, but I usually am at home. I try to keep myself calm and stress-free, and I will often avoid situations that would upset this balance too much.

3. Write your three core values on a piece of paper and post them somewhere prominent. Reflect on them for a week or two. See if they still feel like “core” values.

Done. They are posted above my desk here at home, as that is where I spend the majority of my week days learning and growing.

4. Reflect on them every year. Are they the same? Have they changed? Do you think these would have been your core values 10 years ago?

Ten years ago I was 20 and still in college. During the summer of 2007 I would have been assisting with daycare and helping my mom. I was working toward my teaching degree at the time, and nearing the end of my time as an undergrad student. December 2008 was not so far away. I know that creativity would probably have still been a core value, as it has always been a part of me, and what has always helped me to be different as a teacher. I would guess that positive attitude might still be there, but it may not be. I do know that personal growth probably would not have. I was not too interested in doing anything to grow or push myself to really do better. At the time, I think I was just trying to survive college.

As to where my values might be in a year or even ten, who knows? Guess that’s why we look back and reflect!

Want to try the activity for yourself? You’ll need the directions here and you’ll need the list of core values as well.

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