How to identify the values that guide me in life?

How to identify the values that guide me in life?

 What is a value?

According to Shalom SCHWART’s definition, a value is a personal belief that we consider important to us. A value is an essential reference that we use to make our choices and guide our actions. Values build our identity.

What’s the point ?

Our values are an inexhaustible source of energy. This fuel allows us to move and motivates us to act.

The skills and behaviors we adopt are influenced by our values. Identifying our values allows us to become aware of them and to develop a better knowledge of ourselves. Generally, when a behavior or situation strongly irritates us or makes us uncomfortable, it is because one of our values is not satisfied or respected.

Knowing our values allows us to better understand situations where we have a feeling of demotivation or dissatisfaction, especially in the professional world. We can take a step back from certain situations of everyday life and refocus on ourselves.

There are no good or bad values. However, for the same value, people can adopt a behavior that is diametrically different.

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— How to identify our values?

I propose a little exercise in 3 steps to identify your main values.

Although it is difficult to identify its values in a few hours, this first approach will allow you to make a first sort.

1 – First, make an appointment with yourself!

Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed during this exercise.

2 – Then, make a first scan of the list of values. You will find a list of values (not exhaustive) by clicking here.

Select, without filter, the values that speak to you, describe you, inspire you, … Some words may not be values for you. No worries, focus on those that echo you.

Repeat this action twice.

At this point, you have already made a first sort, bravo!

3 – Now, you will take the list of values you have selected and read them one by one, calmly and, reflecting on the value concerned. 

Ask yourself these 2 questions: “What makes me choose this value?” “How is this value important to me?”

Some past events may come back to you. Situations that have disturbed you, irritated or otherwise made you happy. Analyze these events and ask if they are related to one of your values or not.

Do this exercise for all the values you have previously selected. Remember those that are really important to you.

Iterate until you get a dozen values.

If you have difficulty sorting the values, ask yourself these few questions:

  • In what situations do you feel good? What are the values met in these situations?
  • In what situations do you feel uncomfortable? What are the impacted / unmet values in these situations?
  • What behaviors do you not like? What values are impacted by these behaviors?


Do not hesitate to take an appointment with yourself and review this list which can evolve over time.

You now know your values. We will see, later, how to rely on these values to develop a better awareness and self-knowledge, of others and its environment.

To be continued in the next episode !

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