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How to find your core values

"Today, I'm not what I think I am. I'm not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am." - Charles Cooley

David Luescher
2 min read

An idea for you to consider

Core values are the guiding principles that shape our behavior and decision-making. They influence how we interact with others, how we see ourselves, and how we approach life.

Developing our own set of core values can help us live more authentic and fulfilling lives. It can also make us better communicators, leaders and humans in general.

I was introduced to the idea of defining my own values roughly eight years ago and found it a very valuable exercise.

Without further ado: Here are some tips for developing your own set of core values based on my personal experience.

1. Define what is important to you

Think about what matters most to you in life. The following questions can help get started:

  • What are your priorities?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What do you believe in?

2. Consider your role models

  • Who do you admire?
  • Why do you admire them?
  • What values do they embody?

3. Be honest with yourself

It’s important to be honest about who you are and what you want in life. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Be genuine and authentic. Chances are that once you completed step 1 and 2 that you came up with values that are largely accepted by society.

If you dare, I challenge you to write your own eulogy. I bet that provides a different point of view on your life and what really matters to you.

4. Identify your values

Look at your previous answers from step 1 to 3. Can you spot any patterns and identify values? You can find a list of core values here.

I recommend to select three to five core values and to define their meaning to you.

5. Communicate your values to others

Once you’ve developed your own set of core values, it can be very helpful to communicate them to others. This will help build relationships and create a shared sense of purpose.

Last but not least: Be flexible! Your core values may change over time as you grow and experience new things. Be open to revisiting your values and modifying them as needed, e.g. every 3-5 years.


An article for you to read

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One evening I went with my family to a Thai restaurant for dinner. They seated us near the back, not far from the kitchen doors. A very bubbly waitress brought us our menus, filled our waters and told us to let her know if we needed anything, or had any questions about anything at all. When she came…

A quote for you to ponder

"Today, I'm not what I think I am. I'm not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am." - Charles Cooley

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