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Core Values - the internal compass

You may have heard the term "core values" and wondered what that means. You might have thought about your own core values in the past and what is important to you. Maybe you've even done one of the many core value exercises that surface with an internet search. Or the phrase "core values" could be completely new. Wherever you are coming from, I encourage you to empty all those thoughts as you read further.

I don’t think I’m alone in not having thought much about my core values for most of my life. A few years ago though, I attended a chakra workshop. One of the topics touched upon was core values and purpose with our first chakra. The immediate thought I had was around my career. My purpose and values weren't tied to what I did every day, so does that mean I’m failing at life? As I finished the workshop and began to do a lot of more research and inner work, the definition and relationship to my own core values shifted.

Core values can serve as our own internal compass for everything we do. They can illuminate and guide our path closer towards our true self and more resonate behaviors. Another way to think about it is—if you aren’t embracing your core values, you are like a piece of driftwood in the ocean. A little lost, untethered. Possibly moving in many directions, based on external factors. Harsh, right? Yet over the past few years, I've truly experienced the benefits of knowing and living out my core values.

To me, there are three main reasons to live in alignment with your core values—whatever your own values may be.

To have a path forward: Core values can be used to set goals, increase motivation and get things done. When you are clear on your core values, you can make things happen. And it is the right things that you want to do because you are creating action plans and intentions based on your truth. Core values can also help you prioritize where to spend your energy and where you want to set boundaires or say no.

To remember who you are: Some days go by smoothly, and others feel really challenging. I know personally there were many times in my life that I felt lost, and that created stagnation or feeling miserable. Knowing our core values can help us live a life of authenticity. And you know what the opposite of authenticity is? Self-abandonment. Doing things that we don't want to do, that we know don’t align with who we are or who we aspire to be. Refer back to your core values often to come home to youself.

To live a life of fulfillment: Once I was able to name and define my top five core values, I’ve been able to enjoy life a lot more. I’ve used my five to help guide my decisions, reinforce my internal foundation and more. All of this has left me feeling a lot more content. And when things do hit the fan (because stuff happens), remembering my core values allows me to deal with challenges more easily. They keep me resillient and grounded.

One other thing I’ve come to realize through this work is while core values are closely tied to your purpose, this does not mean your job. Sure, it would be great if your core values were always present in your professional life. However, that may be impossible for many reasons (location, skill set, family obligations, financial responsibilities, etc). And that is okay! There are many ways to live out your core values within and outside of your career. Take the perspective that life ebbs and flows over time. Give yourself permission to take the pressure off of “perfect” core value alignment and in every area (such as your job).

Our values make up the foundation of who we are. Understanding and embracing them helps you have a life filled with joy and growth. Think about your own core values. What is most important to you? How can you honor them on a more consistent basis? Where do you need more flexibility given your current circumstances? The more intentionally we live with our core values, the more agency we exhibit in our own life.

I know what it’s like to feel lost. That was my main purpose for creating the Core Values Workshop coaching program. To learn more, click here or send an email with any questions you may have.

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