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Clarifying your personal core values is a key step to developing as a leader. Core values are the actions and behaviours we appreciate so deeply that we can’t help but behave in those ways. We are what we do, and we behave how we believe. Unearthing the language to express these beliefs further strengthens our resolve and allows us to lead with clarity. When tough choices must be made, we can be guided by our values and explain our reasoning based on them.
There was a time when many North Americans had a similar set of values driven by religious traditions. Values of humbleness, service, and the golden rule were all part of this ethos. As the popularity of these traditions have declined in recent decades, so too has peoples’ understanding of their own personal values. Some call for a return to religious roots but others believe a more secular approach can be as or more effective.
What are your core values? For some, putting language around their values is a surprisingly difficult thought exercise. If it’s worth it to you, start here:
It’s important to note that aspirational values are not the same as core values. You may want to be humble, reliable, or kind but your behaviour may not demonstrate these traits. Go ahead and choose an aspirational value to focus on too if you like. With attention and reinforcement, it may become core.
Know thyself, goes the adage.
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