Building out your 2021: Discover Your Values

Use the power of values to form a guiding light for your life.

Courtesy of weavinginfluence.

There is no better time than now, to turning inward to ourselves and discover more. Knowing your values is a solid foundation, the rock on which to build our house. In this article, I will show you how to set your values foundation, setting you up for a higher quality of awareness of who you are, what you do and what you desire.

I used to think that Values were just hollow words that meant nothing, but in 2013 I had a transformational year discovering Values; For both my work and personal life. During this year, my Values were recognised, captured and inscribed in to lasting memory. I had the pleasure of leading a the company I worked for at the time through discovering their values and at the same time took a transformational workshop in discovering my own.

Perhaps you know your values, you have them written down but have not revisited them for some time. Maybe you know what they feel like, or what they are, but you have never “formalised” them for yourself. Finally, maybe you have never even thought about it!

Values can be at a global, national, cultural (includes business), group and individual level. We all have values and we act (interact), think and feel out of these values. You may not even recognise that you have some of their beliefs written in to your DNA. You can make your values discoverer journey as simple or a complex as you like. As this is my first post on the topic, lets set the foundation:

Discovering Your Values

Firstly, find a space that is conducive to being productive, reflective and distraction-free. These are important principles you will need to complete this exercise with grace. Find a space, whether it’s in your house, flat, or outside in a park so that you won’t have anyone distract you. Also, think about turning your phone off or at least putting on an aeroplane mode for a period of time.


You’re going to need at least one-to-two hours to go through this exercise. If you don’t have that kind of time you can always break it up, but really what you want is a minimum of one-hour chunks to do this exercise. This exercise is valuable, but only if you have the time to spend investing in yourself. Tip: set 30 minute Pomodoro's to get the best out of yourself do this to alleviate distraction.


Just as in my previous exercises, I suggest:

A draft notepad: This notepad is used to record down your draft values in the initial stages of the process. Think of this as a training ground for your creative mind before you go to the main event.

A “good copy” notepad in A4 size, this is where you put your final values. This notepad is the one that you use as a central reference point. Mine is a “Typo Buffalo”

You will want to get some pens and pencils so that you can etch out your values as you go.


Do this digitally:

For the digital nomad: If you prefer, you can open up an Evernote or Google doc for typing copy and storing your drawing/painting/clippings and complete the task digitally to bypass using a book and writing materials.

The Exercise

Much of the literature of values suggests an average of 5 values to represent you and some even say 3. For the purpose of this exercise, I recommend finding 10. I have always done it this way, however you can make this your own. So choose what is right for you.

  1. Refer to the Values list at the bottom of this article. These are the words that you will use as a guide to finding what relates to you. Remember, this is not an exhaustive list of value words and is a guide, you can choose whatever you like!
  2. Begin the process of choosing your 10 values. Think about the honourable words that others (and you) might use describe you and use this in combination with the guide words.
  3. Often, it is difficult, on the first attempt to whittle down your values to 10, so don’t be surprised if you got down to 20, 30 or 50! From here, it is important to be “ruthless” and continue to cull the values of least importance.
  4. Finalise your last 10 values and now put them in to order. This is can also be a challenge and will need some shuffling. You need to prioritise your top value to your last. This pyramid will help you to do so:

Alternative Advanced Section:

Now you have your top values, sit back and have a look at the wonder that is a representation of your deepest foundations! Now, back to my comment about how just a bunch of words could seem arbitrary and “hollow”. Lets give some life to these:

For each of your values, use the following guide to bring them to life:

  • I chose the value of _______ because:
  • When I feel ______, I have _______.
  • When I (do/demonstrate)_______, I have _______
  • When I choose_______, I choose_______

What it looks like in action: I will use the value of Honesty to bring it to life.

  • I chose the value of Honesty, because I believe that honesty allows for my to be trusted and to seek trust. It paves the way for better relationships and a more integral life.
  • When I feel integrity, I have honesty
  • When I take responsibility for an error I made, I have honesty
  • When I choose honesty, I choose trust

Repeat this for all of your values.

Value Words

Balance being the best being inflow belonging

Caring cheerfulness certainty clarity comfort commitment community competency compassion confidence congruency connection consciousness contribution cooperation courage creativity

Discipline discovery education encouragement enjoyment enthusiasm ethics excellence excitement expressiveness

Fairness faith family financial independence fitness fortitude flexibility freedom fun

Generosity giving gratitude growth

Happiness harmony health honesty honour humility humour

Inclusiveness independence inspiration integrity intimacy intuition

Joy justice kindness knowledge

Leadership learning liberation liberty longevity love loyalty making a difference


Openness optimism

Passion patience peace pleasure playfulness professionalism prosperity

Realism reliability resilience resourcefulness respect responsibility reference

Sacredness security serenity service sincerity spirituality spontaneity ability stillness strength success

Thoughtfulness tranquillity transformation trust truth

Understanding uniqueness


Now you have a guide for your values. Hold them near and dear. Look at them often and review them seldom.

Now go forth and be great!

YouTube Video to accompany article:

With a focus on the key themes of Health, Wealth and Wisdom, woven into touch of Art and Culture.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store