The Values Analysis is a great tool for helping you figure out what’s really important to you. Used properly, it can serve as a framework for making better decisions and steering your business or career in a more satisfying direction. You can download a PDF of the Values List we’ve compiled over the years or do an internet search for “Values List” or “Personal Values” to find hundreds of alternatives and edit them as needed.
Once you’ve got a list you like, here’s what you’re going to do with it:
1) Divide each of the Values on your list into one of these 3 categories: Always Valued, Sometimes Valued and Never Valued.
You can just mark AV, SV, etc. right next to each value on the page or create 3 separate lists, one for each category. Take whatever approach will help you wrap your head around the information you’re discovering about yourself the most easily.
2) Look at your Always Valued and Sometimes Valued lists and identify the 10 values that are most important to you.
Yes, all 10 won’t necessarily be on your Always Valued list. For many people, things that only matter sometimes, still really matter when they come into play. (For example, I don’t require that every single thing I do be meaningful but I’d be unwilling to eliminate Meaningful Work from my top 10 list.)
3) Go back to your complete Values List and identify the 10 values that actually hold top priority based on your current lifestyle.
How does that list compare to the one you made in step 2? What new values would you like to see become greater priorities in your life and career?
4) Take the 10 values that are most important to you and prioritize them.
It’s important to understand your values at this level. Let’s say that your top 10 includes Financial Stability, Creative Work and Respectful Treatment. Well, if I waved a magic wand and said “You can get one of those but it means losing the other two” which would you choose? Knowing the answer to that question will help you make better decisions. One easy way to prioritize your values is to start eliminating them one by one. If you could only have 9 what would they be? How ’bout 8?, etc. You may find a using a decision matrix helpful.
5) Bring your life, business and career into alignment with your core values.
What steps can you take to bring these values into your lifestyle in a way where your decisions reflect the priority level of each value? Make a list of actions broken down into simple achievable tasks. Assign realistic deadlines. Remember change is hard so pick one thing and master it before tackling the next.
6) Use what you learn
Perhaps the most important aspect of the Values Analysis is using it as a tool. As you face major decisions – or even some minor ones – revisit your Values Matrix and explore how this decision fits in with your priorities.
7) Periodically review your Values List and update your Values Matrix.
Over time, our priorities and expectations change. Sometimes a pivotal event like getting married or having a child will cause a radical shift in our perspective. Simply gaining experience over time can cause changes that may occur more slowly but can be just as dramatic.