Know Your Core Values to Make Faster, Better Decisions
I’ve always been terrible at making quick decisions. And I’ve heard over and over again (in seminars, for example) that the most successful people make decisions on the spot. Because they know instinctively what they want and don’t want. They know what will and won’t work.
My question was always, ‘How can someone be so quick to make a decision, especially a bigger one?’ and ‘Why do I struggle with them, writing out long lists of pros and cons, overthinking, taking forever or never to make a decision).
The truth is, it’s not that some people instinctively know what they want. It’s that they are super-clear on their core values. They know:
- Who they are.
- What their mission is (both in their personal life and their work).
- How it will be expressed.
- What moves them toward that mission and what moves them away from it.
That’s it. That’s the big secret.
They know their core values well and instinctively put every decision through a Head-Heart-Gut test:
HEAD: What are the facts? And do they fit for what I want long-term?
HEART: Does it align with my heart-and-soul goals?
GUT: What do I intuitively feel about it? If I’m scared to move forward, is it ‘good-scared’ (meaning, is it something I want, but it’s out of my comfort zone) or is it something that’s really just not right for me?
To not waste your time or energy being indecisive (and to make good decisions overall), your personal core values are crucially important to know.
They define who you are. (They lay it out there in black and white).
- They get you were you want to go faster. (Because you have clarity).
- If you don’t know them, it’s too easy to live your life, conduct your career or run your business according to other people’s values.
You will also have a healthier, more fulfilling life if you’re living by set values that are non-negotiable. When we don’t, it impacts us mentally, physically and emotionally.
So it’s important stuff.
But let’s start with this seemingly fluffy question: Are you being your most authentic self in your work and life? Try to overlook the fluffy sound of it: This question is really important.
For most of us, it’s not easy to say yes. That’s because for most of us authenticity is difficult.
With old, ingrained beliefs we hold, and society and culture telling us what’s normal and accepted and how it should be and how we should be, it can pull us away from who we truly are. In fact, research has shown that our creativity and the genius within us can get stifled pretty quickly as children.
This is where core values come in. Your core values are essentially 5 to 10 elements you want most in life. Some examples are: Family, health, adventure, fun, giving, integrity, fitness, financial security, travel, creativity. (Here is a list).
Choosing your core values is YOU saying ‘Stop the carousel.’ And deciding for YOU what you want and don’t want in your life. It’s the work to chip away what’s no longer working (or never was), cultivate and nurture what you do want, and get back to your true self.
And it works because you’re more clear, mindful and purposeful about your decisions.
But even knowing this, and being very purposeful and mindful about decisions, it took me forever to make some decisions. Only recently did I happen upon the tool that helped me know quickly if something aligns with my personal values. And that is a daily mission statement.
Yes, I know this sounds weird. A mission statement? (You can call it a personal code of conduct which sounds weird also. They both make you think of a stuffy organization). But yes, and here’s why:
It takes your values and turns them into, ‘Okay, how will I express this every day?’ It’s your definitive daily rules to live by.
(Take a look at the mission statement of 5 successful CEO’s for inspiration on writing yours).
Once you know your core values and have your mission statement, you’ll be able to make decisions faster.
For example, if spending weekends with your family is in your mission statement, you know whether to say yes or no to a weekend event that’s not family-oriented. If you value teamwork in your business, you know whether to say yes or no to a potential hire who can triple your revenue but causes drama. Without having to think about it.
But it requires you to stop for a minute and do a little work on it. So moving forward, you know exactly what to say yes to and no to, in business in relationships, in life in general. And you’ll know what keeps you growing and feeling good about yourself. And how not to get lost with decisions and choices that lead you away from who you are or who you want to become.
This is the only way you can decisively run your life and business as the person you’re meant to be.
It takes work, and don’t expect to stick to it perfectly at first (it can be up against your deeply ingrained habits and patterns). But as I have found, you get better with practice.
Imagine how your day will go if every morning you look at your personal ‘rules of conduct’ before you start your day, and stick to them.
You’ll likely experience yourself being more authentic, purposeful and efficient. And growing your business or career faster. Because when you, your family, your clients, friends, customers, co-workers or your team are all feeling those core values, it’s easy for them to get on board. When everything in your life runs according to those values, it’s like a well-oiled machine. And that’s going to boost your financial and happiness bottom line.
Here are some steps to take:
- Make a list of your core values (here is a list to choose from). It’s best to stick to no more than 6 to 10. Remember, these are the elements in your life you value most. List them in a way that makes you feel an emotional impact. The following questions can help:
- What things make you really angry or upset? What core value of yours are they breaking?
- What things make you feel good about life? What core value are they in line with?
- To create your Personal Daily Mission Statement, ask yourself the following questions:
- Based on my core values, what are my non-negotiable rules of life?
- What decisions do I make very day that prove this to me?
Then write out your mission statement, which can be as short or as long as feels right to you.
- And to increase your awareness, one more question:
- What actions have I taken lately that I don’t feel right about? Whose values are they if not mine? This helps you know what you’d prefer to stop doing.
The answers to these will help you bring more of what you want into your life and less of what you don’t.
What’s one of your personal rules of living? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and it can help inspire others.
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