"Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny”.
So goes the oft-repeated quote, attributed to Mahatma Ghandi. Now, I must have read this on various blogs a handful of times over the last few years. But it’s only recently that I’ve started to question if the process begins with beliefs, or if values are actually the starting point for the continuum.
What are your personal values?
I expect we all could loosely explain our personal values. We might try not to lie – pride ourselves on being punctual or creative – even self-identify publically as such. However, I would expect that very few people have taken the time and headspace to record their personal values. Fewer still would have tested them – more of that later.
Here’s how you can check in on your personal values and make sure they are more than just thoughts.
List them. What are the values that you believe you bring to your working life? Are you thorough? A good listener? Accurate? Write up to 10 things down.
Think of some times recently when you have acted in accordance with each of your values. Write them down. How did it make you feel?
Think of some times recently when you have not acted in accordance with your values. What were the repercussions? How did it make you feel?
Rank your values from 1 – 10, with 1 being your most important value and so on.
I expect you’ll find that when you act in accordance with your key values, your work is smooth, you find flow, and you will please yourself and the people around you. When you don’t act in accordance with your key values, the reverse is true.
When doing step 3, if you didn’t act in accordance with your core values and still performed well and feel good, then remove that value from your list.
Your values can change over time
Why not continue to work on this list once a year? It is not frozen in time and neither are your values. But the important thing is that you think about your values, and that you test them on a regular basis. Untested, they are just words. Tested – they may become your destiny.
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