A Simple Way To Test Your Core Values

Mar 04, 2021, 3 mins read

By Georgina El Morshdy

Your Core Values are the things you care about the most. In this way, your Core Values create a compass within that points to your true north. 

In the words of Tony Hsieh, “Your personal core values define who you are.” 

When you [and others] know your priorities, it’s easier to make decisions, say no to things that don’t align, and guide your life in the direction of your best self. Y

For example, if one of your core values is ADVENTURE, you’ll probably jump at the chance to travel rather than take a staycation. If you value family, you’ll likely opt to drive home after a meeting rather than stay in a motel - even if it means getting back super late. 

But how do you know if your chosen Core Values are the real deal? 

Keep reading to discover the simple test that will help you find out. 

When a core value is NOT a core value

The Core Values Deck makes it easy to define your top three values to triangulate your personal true north. 

As you’re sifting through the words, you’ll find that the process is mostly intuitive. Each word will feel different until, eventually, you discover the three words that resonate most with you. 

What’s more, you’ll find evidence in your life to back up your choice. 

For example, if CURIOSITY lands in your top three, you’ll likely have creative hobbies or fulfil some form of a creative role in your work. 

If GROWTH features highly, you’re probably someone who sets [and achieves] goals, reads personal development books, and invests in courses and products to better yourself. 

But just because you say a value is important to you doesn’t mean you’re actually living it. 

It’s ONLY when the rubber hits the road that you discover what’s an actual value for you - and what’s just something you say. 

For example, how closely do you stick to your values when you get stressed, face an unexpected event, or hit a roadblock? What happens when life gets turned upside down? 

For example, you can’t say that you value: 

• RESPONSIBILITY, then play the victim when things don’t work out. 
• SUCCESS, then let failure throw you into a tailspin of inaction.
• CONNECTION, then lock yourself away when times get tough. 
• ABUNDANCE, and then dive straight into a scarcity mindset when you lose a client or an income stream. 

During stressful moments, you can find yourself defaulting to behaviors that directly conflict with what you say are your Core Values. 

In other words, stressful moments will show you what you truly value. 

Leaving you with a choice...

Define it, then LIVE it

When it comes to your Core Values, it’s not enough to define them; you have to live them too. Otherwise, they’re just a trio of words you say rather than a commitment you make. 

Next time you feel triggered, take a moment to reflect on the Core Value you default to. 

If your behavior remains true to your three Core Values then you can feel confident that you’ve chosen values that you embody. These values are in fact, a part of who you are. 

But if you default to something else, you have work to do! 

  1. Accept that you instinctively value something different to what you say you value and be OK with that. 

OR…

  1. Notice the discrepancy and do the inner work required to allow the Core Value you desire to have to show up in EVERY occasion. Not just the times when you’re not under any pressure. 

This work can feel confronting, but it’s also liberating. By working with your Core Values, you get to proactively choose who you want to be and how you want to live… knowing that at the intersection of all of these decisions is your best self and, therefore your best life. 

What are your Core Values, and how do you live them? 

Find out with the help of the Core Values Deck

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