Core Values as a Gateway to Purpose
“If an opportunity is not aligned with what matters most to you (your core values), let it pass. The opportunities that don’t make your soul sing, or that you can’t be excited about, just end up taking space where a better opportunity could be. Don’t settle for something fine―wait for something great!”– Leanne Jacobs
Last week, we covered the power of the Three P’s Approach for our new series on the building blocks of extraordinary success. A clear sense of purpose spotlights your priorities and leads you to maximum productivity. But, for many, the challenge begins with formulating your purpose. It feels grandiose. Who am I to have a purpose statement? Where do I even start? Over the years, we’ve found a solution—identifying your core values. Core values can be discovered with a half hour of reflection and serve as an excellent gateway to purpose. You can then use them to make commitments with confidence and to establish standards for your decisions.
I started my journey with Brené Brown’s printable PDF resource. If you like a tactile experience, consider using our core values deck that comes with a short training video. (It also makes a nice stocking stuffer. Just saying…) Either way, the process takes about 30 minutes. While Brené Brown advocates determining your top two values, at The ONE Thing, we advise identifying your top three. When you’re faced with a momentous decision, we’ve found it can be easier to rationalize a bad choice when it only has to align with two values.
Here’s how it works. Using the above process, I identified my top three core values as “Impact,” “Family,” and “Abundance.” If I’m at a crossroads, I ask which path most aligns with those values. Ideally, I want it to score a 9 out of 10 on all three. Lots of opportunities strongly align with one or two values. Few will line up with all three. When a decision aligns with all three, you will be less likely to experience regret after the novelty fades away and more likely to persevere when the going gets tough. Passion can ignite the fire, but it takes purpose to fuel the furnace.
I made my core values the home screen for my phone. Americans check their phone an astounding 96 times a day, so this is a surefire way to keep your values front and center!
A couple of years ago, I shifted the order of my values. For five years, I led with “Family.” After some reflection, I realized that “Impact” was actually more important. So I flipped the order and haven’t looked back.
My friend Joe Bogar recently asked me how I made that decision. I keep a Note document on my phone where I keep track of my highs and lows throughout the year. I do this to help with my end-of-year reflection. When I’m examining my accomplishments and failures, I consider them through the lens of my values. That can lead to insights on where my values came into play.
If you’ve never identified your core values, block some time. If you have, use them to reflect on your 2023 and to revise your goals for 2024. Core values are a stepping stone to purpose – the ultimate unlock for extraordinary success.
One question to ponder in your thinking time: Do my current goals align with my core values?
Make an Impact!