The question “What are your core values?” is not something we regularly ask ourselves. While I was working in media the posters with the company’s corporate values were hanging all over our office so I knew them by heart. But I never asked myself what are my top ten values in life? Why is it important to know them, especially when I decided to be an entrepreneur?
Not knowing your values puts us under risk of being dependent on our parents, friends, spouse or social opinion. We adopt the values of other people and become faceless in the grey crowd.
Because values are basic assumptions, we are often not aware of our individual truths. We tend to focus on what society, social media say they should be such as being the coolest, looking good, or being wealthy. Please be aware of one thing. There is a huge difference between the values that we intellectually see as a positive and those that we actually live by and act on.
Values have a great impact on our inner world. They define us. They form the foundation of our character, our identity. We can’t let our identity depend on the identity of someone else.
We derive a sense of fulfillment when living our personal values because our motivations and actions are aligned with the aspirations of who we want to be.
So why we need to know our core values while running an online business, actually any kind of business?
Knowing our values helps to align them to the purpose of our business and tie into who we are serving, what problems we are trying to solve.
When we are aligned with our values and purpose in our business we get in the state of flow. We can be authentically ourselves and enable people to follow us because people are looking for leaders that they can trust. You can gain people’s trust only by being the authentic, vulnerable and true self.
Here I suggest one exercise that my mentor shared with me to help me identify my core values. I hope it will help you as well, but be ready to spend enough time on it. It could be quite a lengthy process.
Write down your top ten highest and lowest points in life. Those are your happiest and darkest times in life. You have to go really deep into your memories and emotions that those past events provoked. Childhood is the time when we consciously or unconsciously form our values so the childhood events could be extremely important to reflect on. “Examine” your life starting from childhood until the present moment.
Journaling those events, even meditating on them will help you to identify the true meaning. What do all those events mean to you? How they made you feel? Give those emotions, feelings colors or shapes. Be very descriptive. Try to remember how you behaved during those moments in life.
You should find the particular pattern of feelings in those memories which will tell you what you value the most in your life.
Also, there are three important questions that you should ask yourself when trying to figure out your core values:
When making your most significant decisions, what are the fundamentals you base them on?
What is one thing you would like to be remembered for when you die?
What things, if taken away from you, would make life unbearable?
Having well defined personal core values helps us avoid making choices in our personal life and in business that work against who we want to be. Our values become a clear and solid set of guidelines for our words and actions, consistently moving us in the direction aligned with our core beliefs and personal vision. Our life becomes one of our choosing, not one that is directed by the decisions of others. Our values help us build and maintain our identity as unique individuals.
Authenticity is one of the fundamental principles of a successful digital entrepreneur.
With much love