The Importance of having Virtues
Let’s talk about values…
Family values, personal values, corporate values.
So what are values – and why are they important to creating breakthroughs?
Values are things we strive to gain or keep. They are the expression of what is important to us. Values can be concrete things like money, gourmet food, and fast motorcycles, or they can be abstract things like contribution, challenge, or adventure.
Values, along with our beliefs about what will satisfy our values, have a decisive impact on the choices we make. We make decisions based on our values.
If we believe a proposed action will give us more of what we value, we are likely to take that action. And the degree to which we are likely to take that action is proportional to the strength of our beliefs and how much we think the value will increase.
We are constantly evaluating whether something is good for us or bad for a us-in fact, we can’t help it. It’s part of our design as human beings.
A hidden value system will cause you to make choices that are inexplicable-you will choose Option A over Option B, even though A seems logical. Why, because B violates your unconscious values system.
You can use a consciously constructed values system to help turn your venture into a high-performance machine. A lucid value system, out in the open-and arranged hierarchically-this is more important than that, and so on-turned into a values statement-serves as a guide in evaluating your options, and inventing new ones.
In other words, if you understand the values that motivate you, you can deliberately choose actions which will satisfy those values. Which make you feel good, and keep you conflict-free, and internally consistent. You reduce or eliminate your personal friction, allowing you to easily take massive action towards your objectives.
Your values statement also helps you align your various stakeholders, and have them acting in that same consistent way.
Your values system also keeps you from making poor choices, which would throw you into a personal conflict. Choices which make you unhappy and gum up the works.
Well understood and clearly expressed values can propel you through the most difficult change periods, and keep you far ahead of the wandering herd.
As children, our parents and teachers pass values on to us and we live our lives based on what they’ve taught us is important, be that kindness, friendship, listening, etc. But as adults, we must determine what is of most value to us on our own. Some of the values from childhood may stay the same, but you may realize that others have become increasingly more important as you have grown and changed. Tolerance, gratitude, and family, for example, may be of huge significance to you now.
So, without further ado, here are 6 benefits of identifying your values.
They help you regain self-respect
Say goodbye to any pimp of your emotions and get your self-respect back. Nothing is a better consultant than your own personal values for this.
If punctuality is important to you then communicate this to the other person. If you feel underappreciated or neglected, then speak up. We will always only get what we believe we deserve. Do you think you deserve having to wait around and waste your time because someone cannot be on time?
Think about it, if you do not respect yourself, how and why should anyone else do it? It’s that simple. If you are unhappy with yourself, then this is oftentimes directly reflected onto others around us. So, communicating your values will not only give you your self-respect back, but it will also improve your relationships and overall happiness.
If you want to be respected by others, the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
They help you be clear about what you want
Your personal values play an important role in your personal life, but especially in your job search and career decision making.
One great career counseling tool for identifying personal (work) values is a simple, yet powerful, values inventory card sort. It helps sort out our top most important values, for example, recognition, achievement, independence, support, working conditions, justice etc., as well as the ones that are of least importance to us.
This is a great tool for identifying companies or industries that we would like to work for or relationships that we’d like to be part of.
The crucial point is that we need to KNOW the values that are of great importance to us first and then avoid compromising them in any way. Again, they are our powerhouse, our window swipes that clear our sight when it pours, and our air pump when we have a flat tire.
If you don’t know what your values are, then you will have a hard time figuring out what it is that you are actually looking for to be satisfied and happy at work or in a relationship. And if you don’t know what you want, then you most likely won’t know when you have it.
They keep you focused and motivated
If you work in a company where you don’t like the product or their mission, then tell me, how authentic and powerful can your message, impact, productivity, or work be?
Like I mentioned before, living in accordance with our values keep us motivated and happy in all areas in our lives. That’s why volunteering for a cause or service we strongly believe in doesn’t feel like work or a waste of time.
Furthermore, we do not need to get paid to participate and support them even on weekends or holidays, because working for a cause we truly value and believe in is the energy plug we need the most to be happy and motivated in the long run.
Something money surely cannot buy.
“When you achieve complete congruence between your values and your goals, like a hand in a glove, you feel strong, happy, healthy, and fully integrated as a person. You develop a kind of courage that makes you completely unafraid to make decisions and take action. Your whole life improves when you begin living your life by the values that you most admire.”
– Brian Tracy
Values help you react in difficult situations.
Values are guiding principles for behavior. They can help ensure you behave in a way that matches who you want to be at your core. People often react quickly in situations, especially difficult ones, and they don’t always take the time to think about what they are doing before they do it. You can use your values to reflect on situations, too, to decide, for example, if you need to apologize for something. What a helpful little tool!
Values help increase your confidence.
Identifying your values increases your level of confidence because it brings about a sense of stability and safety to your life. When you know what you want, it doesn’t matter what other people want or how they think. When you know what is important to you, it doesn’t matter what is important to other people or how they see/judge you. This will naturally bring a sense of confidence to your life.
Values help your overall happiness level.
If you combine the results from benefits one through seven, then you have likely improved your life. You’ve developed a purpose, reacted better in difficult situations, made good decisions, found the right career, developed opinions, and increased your confidence. It’s fair to say you might just feel a little happier!
If you’ve never identified your values before, here’s a quick how-to guide to get you going on your process.
Make a big list of values (love, achievement, trust, compassion, wealth, honor, appreciation, etc.). You can set a timer if you want, but it’s not necessary. As you read through, circle the ones that pop out at you—the ones that you feel are part of you. You can mark as many as you’d like at the start, but after you have your initial list, try to cross off the ones that don’t seem quite as important to you. Aim to get the list down to 10 or 15 values. Put these in order of importance if you can. Ta-da! Now you have you’re Top 10 (or 15) values. Don’t worry, though, values are not static. They change and evolve with us as we grow.