Stress Relief Tool – Personal Values

Your values are the things that you believe are important and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.

I was first exposed to “personal values work” in the mid-1990s when I got certified in Managing Professional Growth (MPG®),1 a program that is designed to align an employee’s personal values with the key responsibilities of their professional role. The end result is an employee who is more productive, loyal, and engaged with their work.

At the time, I found that learning my own personal values was quite insightful. Specifically, I didn’t list health as a high priority. Of course, later in life health became the number-one value for me, as it does with most everyone who experiences a life-altering medical crisis. And freedom (to do what I want) has become second only to health on my priority list as my career has progressed.

Your values are the things that you believe are important. They should determine your priorities and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.

Identifying and understanding your values is a challenging and important exercise. Your personal values are a central part of who you are—and who you want to be. By becoming more aware of these important factors in your life, you can use them as a guide to make the best choice in any situation. Some of life’s decisions are really about determining what you value most.

To determine what your personal values are, follow these steps:2

  1. Identify the times when you were happiest both professionally and personally. List what you were doing, who you were with, and other details about those events.
  2. Identify the times when you were most proud both professionally and personally. Describe why you were proud, who you were with, and other details about those events.
  3. Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied, either professionally or personally. Describe how and why this experience gave your life meaning, and other details about those events.
  4. Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment. Ask yourself what was important to you in those experiences listed in questions 1-3. Just list them out in no particular order.
  5. Prioritize your top-five values. Look at the first two values and ask yourself, “If I could satisfy only one of these, which would I choose?” For each value that ranks higher, compare it to the next value on your list. Keep ranking each value until you have an initial list, then double check the list starting at the bottom. Once you have double checked your list, you now have your list of top values.

The values that rank one to five on your list are your highest priority and should be used as reference whenever you are making an important decision, because only when you are in alignment with your personal values will that decision reduce your stress.

If you are having difficulty deciding on your personal values, consider working with a professional trained in values elicitation. Please contact me at PeteAlexander.com for more information or reach out to AIPonline.org for a referral.

 

  1. GP Strategies – Managing Professional Growth
  2. MindTools.com – What Are Your Values? Deciding What’s Most Important in Life

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander

A seasoned professional with over 30 years of Sales and Marketing experience, Pete has battled the negative effects of stress head-on and has developed the LIGHTEN™ stress relief model that motivates his peers to take action and overcome their self-imposed barriers to success using clever yet simple tools and techniques.

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