Day 2: Values

Hello hello and welcome to day two of the virtual self-development conference. If this is the first article you read in this series, I recommend to go back to the introduction and to day 1 where I kick off the conference and establish some ground rules.

If you read the other articles and did the exercise from day 1, welcome back. I hope you enjoyed it and I’d be grateful to get some comments about your experience doing it. Furthermore, by doing the exercise, you already layed the fondation for today.

As the title suggest, this day is about our values. I am convinced that values play a big part in our lives. When we manage to live according to our values, we will be happier than if we don’t. The difficult part starts when we should name our values. When I was asked this for the first time, I thought it was an easy question, only to find out that I didn’t really know the answer.

When it comes to values, I think they remain pretty much the same throughout our lives. However, I am also convinced that nothing is fixed or stationary and they can also change. Moreover, when identifying your values today, keep in mind that the importance of those values can also change over time. Maybe love is an important value because you are in a new relationship but after 2 years, creativity is more important. That is why it might make sense to check in on our values from time to time.

You might have wondered about creativity as being a value. And yes, maybe it is not a value for you. That is fine. My current opinion is that values can only be defined for yourself and it doesn’t make sense to compare them. If money is a value (not having value) then this is also fine. It is not about right or wrong. So keep this in mind when doing today’s exercise.

Materials needed: I attached a list of values I created when determining mine a few years back. If you cannot read it, there are various lists out there that serve as an inspiration. Other than that you need a notebook and/or several blank pages, a pen, a green and a red pen.

Just a disclaimer: There are numerous metods to determine your values and in case you don’t like my method, you are free to choose your own way of determining them =).

In the beginning, write down each value on a small piece of paper (I used din A7 index cards). Yes it is a bit of work, but it helped me with the next step. Once you are done, compare two values with each other. You can do it in a tournament format where the winner reaches the next round. Or you can do it like I did and compare them all individually until you determine your top 10 values. When comparing, think about what each value means to you? What do you feel when thinking about this value? Also, ask yourself where you got this value from (parents, society, friends….)? Then you can decide if this is a value that is really important to you and not something you do for others.

Also, use your go through your notes from the “River of Life” exercise. This can help to already identify values that are important to you. Compare it with your top ten values and see if this feels right or whether you want to adjust the list.

Sometimes it is not easy to decide between several values because they are connected. That is okay and will come in handy now. Write down your ten values on a sheet of paper or your notebook and then allocate those other values around them to form a value cluster. To give you an example: one of my values is creativity. So, I wrote it down and around it I wrote other values, I felt are connected to it, like joy, fun, fantasy, and humor.

Once done, take the red and the green pen and draw connections from values that might get in conflict with each other (red), like for me honesty and love and values that can support or even enhance each other (green), like for me love and harmony.

As I wrote in the beginning, values are something personal and everyone has a unique definition. My definition of love might be different than yours. That is why your next task is to write down your definition for each value. You can decide to do it only for the top 5 or for all of the ten values. Make use of the other values in each cluster to form your definition.

The last step is the most important one. It is easy to say that creativity is one of my top values, but how can people and how can I “proof” that this is the case? That is why it is crucial to come up with a few behaviors for each value. What can you do that you and other people can tell that this is your value? One such behavior for my value love is: I will serve others and be generous. Doing this will not only make it assessable for you and others, but it will also make it easier to live according to your values and, in turn, lead a happier life.

Again, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to write them in the comments and also share your thoughts and experiences with me and the other readers. During the next days, I will have a look more often to answer quickly.

Enjoy the process and see/read you tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day and take care, Stephan

Day 1 | Day 3

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