What values do you live by?

I have been interviewing for new jobs recently, more to come on this soon, and one of the questions asked was all around my personal values. Give an example of when I have gone against a personal value to get the job done (or something along those lines). I really struggled with this question because I haven’t actually sat down and written what is important to me – I used to run value setting workshops in past roles and even though I knew I needed to take the time to sit down and write my own… I never did.

So what actually do I mean when I say “set your values”? Essentially this is all around setting principles or standards of behaviour that you judge to be important when going about your day-to-day. For example, a value could be honesty. If honesty is a value of yours then you would make sure that you are as honest as possible in your decision making even when it might be hard to do so.

A few days after the interview I decided I would finally sit down and just do it – write my values. It wasn’t a particularly hard exercise because I would like to think that I live by them, even if I didn’t actually know what they were or had them written down, on a daily basis. For transparency, I always struggle with the actual words to use when it comes to values so don’t be afraid to use Google to help you if you aren’t quite sure.

I started by thinking roughly how many I wanted, initially five, and then wrote down the ones I felt just rolled off the tongue e.g. gratitude. Gratitude is an easy one for me because I genuinely believe that if we put positive messages out into the universe then it will benefit us greatly. By being grateful on a daily basis, I write down three things I am grateful for, I think this helps me to stay positive even on the tougher days.

Once I had nailed the first few I started to think more widely on what is important to me, what I actually want to do more of or be better at. That then completed my value set and I ended up with seven.

I now look at my set of values and I am really happy with them – I think they set out a great framework of guiding principles for me to follow and I can, and should, refer back to them on a continuous basis.

My values:
– Do the right thing
– Always consider my family in decision making
– Always be grateful
– Be altruistic
– People can be dependable on me
– Always continue to grow and develop
– Strive for financial freedom

So… now it is down to you. Why don’t you carve out an hour in your day this week, pop your headphones on and write down your values? It is a new year after all!

If you are an entrepreneur it might be useful to focus on personal values first, not business values, and then afterwards you can look at your business values, if you have them, and make sure they align. If they don’t, really consider if a re-think of your business goals are required!