Moral and personal lessons are like a compass: they guide you in terms of the direction of your journey through life.
Your path can sometimes deviate from the direction the compass points you in and you may occasionally feel confused. But the compass can always guide you back to the path that is really important to you in life if or when you become aware of your moral and personal values.
A value is what an individual desires, likes or prefers. Value comes from the Latin word “valere,” which means “to be of value or to be strong.” The dictionary gives the meaning of the word “value” as relative worth, usefulness or importance, degree of excellence and something (quality) intrinsically valuable.
Values are the lens through which you view yourself and your world.
As values develop, they are crystallized and prioritized to form a value system. In essence, they form your own “personal truth” from which self-esteem, fulfillment and resilience develop.
Values represent what is meaningful to you in life at the present moment. They are about what you care about and what you consider to be important.
Everyone’s values are different and can change over time. They reflect how we want to relate to the world, the people around us and ourselves.
Values create motivation, and motivation determines your behaviour.
Values have a specific content and are formed as a natural reaction that starts in early childhood, which we manifest in relation to things and events, through the behaviour of attraction or rejection towards them.
Why do you need to know your values?
Unfortunately many people do not know their personal values in life. You don’t have to be a company to have vision, mission and personal values.
Vision starts with values. It is what you see as possible for the world around you, to which you want to contribute.
My values are courage, positive attitude, ownership and responsibility. My vision is a world where people are empowered and responsible, aware of their real potential to become the best version of themselves today.
Mission is about how you contribute to what you see possible for the world around you, how you implement your vision.
My mission is to contribute through coaching, training, as an author to the creation of a world where individuals have the courage to take ownership and responsibility for their own actions and have confidence in their real potential to become the best version of themselves in the present.
When you don’t know what’s really important to you, you don’t know your path in life and what guides you through it. Thus, an imbalance between mind, feelings and actions arises that leads to frustration, disillusionment, lack of confidence in your own strengths.
Coaching for personal development and the results of a DISC personality test can help you to know yourself better. I am at your disposal to go through this process of self-knowledge and development together.
Honouring values means being aware of and respecting them, integrating them into every aspect of your life. Such a way of relating to values demonstrates self-respect and self-worth, leading, implicitly, to the development of self-esteem and a sense of fulfilment.
What is the link between ethics and values?
Values are essential to ethics. Ethics is concerned with human actions and the choice of those actions. Ethics evaluates actions and the values that underlie them. It determines which values should be followed and which should not. For example, courage is one of the core values of ethics. Those who value courage are willing to stand up for what they believe in, even in the face of danger. Courage is a moral value when it has to do with right vs. wrong behavior.
What is the difference between values and goals?
You need to know your values so you don’t confuse them with your goals. Values are not the same as goals because there is no end point. You live your life according to your values, but there will never be a point where you tick a value off your list as “completed”.
Goals can be “achieved”, while values are the directions we want to move in. We never “reach” or “finish” values. For example, we might have the value of being a good parent, which might require a lifetime of effort, and the specific achievable goal would be to get our children to school on time. Or we might aim to go for a walk while placing a value on our physical health.
Identifying your values and taking firm action towards them, even when it is uncomfortable or difficult, is how you live a life of vitality, meaning and fulfillment. Knowing your personal values is important because it helps you make decisions, take action and focus on moving towards the life you want to live.
What values types exist?
There are several types of values, including personal, social, spiritual, universal, moral or ethical.
– Personal values
These are values that are linked to the development of the human personality or individual norms of recognition and protection of the human personality, such as honesty, loyalty, truthfulness and honour. Values are general principles that govern our everyday behaviour. They not only give direction to our behaviour, but are also ideals and goals in themselves.
Personal values are necessary to help us to walk the right path in life. A person who has good values becomes a responsible individual and is able to distinguish between right and wrong. He is also able to make wiser decisions in life.
Why are personal values important?
👉 They help us make decisions in our lives, good or bad, based on the values we have;
👉 They can give direction to our lives because they provide clear goals in life;
👉 They can build character: if a person wants a strong character, then he or she must possess good values such as honesty, loyalty, efficiency, consistency, compassion, determination, courage;
👉 Can help build a society: if we want a better society, people must have good values. Such people will help to grow society and make it a much better place to live.
– Social values
These are values, standards that concern the social aspects of human life. For example, truth, honesty, justice, kindness, generosity, tolerance, patriotism, perfection, excellence, etc.
Why are social values important?
They can help economic progress, social development, social relations and Regional Co-Operation. In addition, they can raise the standard of living and sustain love, peace and happiness.
– Spiritual values
The supreme ethical value is called a spiritual value. Spiritual values are piety, meditation, yoga, self-discipline, control, purity, devotion to the Divine, etc.
– Universal values
These indicate the essence of the human condition. Through universal values we connect with humanity and the cosmos. Universal values can be experienced as life, joy, brotherhood, love, compassion, happiness, truth and eternity.
– Moral or ethical values
These are also known as logical values. The traits of ethical values differ according to those who analyse them: idealists, naturalists, pragmatists or realists. They depend on the logic of each individual.
Personal values map – How values are ranked
All individuals grow and develop within seven well-defined levels. They are described in the Barrett Model of the Seven Levels of Consciousness. Each level focuses on a specific need common to all people. The extent to which an individual will grow and develop depends on their ability to meet these needs.
At certain times in life you may focus more on some levels and less on others, depending on changes in life conditions. It is important to understand, in terms of the seven levels, “higher” is not “better”. For example, you will find it difficult to be of service to others (level 7) if you have health or money problems (level 1).
The seven levels in the development and growth of personal awareness are summarised in the diagram below.
The first levels of awareness: Survival, Relationships and Self-esteem, are about our self-interest. We aim to satisfy the needs for security and safety, love and belonging, and the need to feel like ourselves by developing a sense of pride in who we are. We don’t experience a deep sense of satisfaction that lasts when we satisfy these needs, but we feel a sense of anxiety if we don’t fulfill them.
The 4th level of consciousness, Transformation, is about overcoming fears. In this stage of development, we lay the foundation of personal authority and find our own voice. We now choose to live by the values and beliefs that resonate with who we really are.
The common good
Truly successful people are those who maintain balance on all levels. They trust others, they cope in times of great complexity and they react and adapt to any situation.
The last 3 levels of consciousness: Inner Cohesion, Making a Difference and In Service to Others, represent our need to live a life of meaning and significance, which we find by trying to make the world a better place and by living a life dedicated to selfless service and purpose to others.
When we meet these needs, we feel deep levels of motivation and commitment. We are now learning to create our own internal compass to guide us in making lofty decisions.
In reality, people do not operate at one level of consciousness. We tend to focus around three or four levels. Normally, individuals are focused on the first five levels, especially Internal Cohesion, level 5, where they search for meaning in their lives.
Personal Values Questionnaire
There are several exercises and tests that can help you identify your personal values.
One of the tests is Richard Barrett’s Model which we have talked about and which you can find here:
Step 1: Take turns answering the questions below to find out your top 5 personal values. Only after you have answered the first question go on to the next one and so on.
👉 In what situation in your life have you felt happy, fulfilled, energized? Write at least 5 situations.
👉 In what situation in your life have you felt unhappy, like something important in your life has been touched? Write down at least 5 situations.
👉 What value lies behind each situation in the 2 categories? Notice what is repeated in your case. What are 5 values that shone through in happy cases or were achieved in unhappy cases?
My values are…
👉 Now write one value on each note after tearing a sheet into 5. Give up 1 of the 5 values, then give up another one of the 4 and so on I know this is not an easy process as this is the weight of values in your life. Make the last choice. The value that is left is the most important right now.
This is the top of your values according to the order in which you gave them up. How do you feel about them?
Tips for living in harmony with your values
The moment you become aware of your values and start living your life in accordance with them you start to see opportunities around you, you feel happier, you find it easier to meet the right people to help you grow and reach new levels of awareness.
I mentioned that values are like a compass that guides us through life. But if we don’t know them, we have no way to clearly identify our path in life. We can’t answer questions like: who are we in essence, what really inspires and motivates us, what is it about the actions of others that contradict our values that make us explode and get angry?
When we are not aligned with our values we are not happy. We can be sullen, angry at everyone and everything not understanding exactly why or believing we have no good reason for our state.
If, for example, you have a very well paid job that you like, a house, a car or other possessions that you want, good friends etc, but you feel that you are not in balance with yourself and happy check what core value is not being met. Maybe at the moment the most important value for you is your family, and if your job takes up most of the time you could devote to your loved ones it will probably be easier to make the right decision for you so that you can be happy and satisfy your most important need right now.
The important thing is to discover and contain your values, and then act accordingly to make the right decisions for you.
How values have personally helped me make decisions in life
As I mentioned, my personal values are courage, positive attitude, ownership and responsibility.
When these values were clear to me and I understood their importance to me, it was much easier for me to make decisions like these:
👉 To give up a job I loved for entrepreneurship and the opportunity to just do what I love, coaching and training. It took courage, assumption and responsibility, but so far, I could say it was one of the best decisions of my life.
👉 To write books for children about Attitude and its importance in our lives. It took courage, positive attitude, assumption and responsibility to launch in one year 2 volumes of the “Attitude Girl” series.
👉 To accept that an illness (I have been dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome for a few years) is not an impediment to achieving my professional and personal dreams. So I talked about the challenges and benefits of chronic fatigue in my life in a TEDx talk. It took courage and a positive attitude to be vulnerable in front of people.
👉 To start a show “Conversations with Oana” on an online TV where I talk to cool people about education and personal development. It took courage and a positive attitude to do something I had never thought of.
How to harmonise your life with your values
When I became aware of my values I came to understand that people’s level of awareness is different and their actions, if in contradiction with my values, can trigger strong reactions in me. I just need to identify what value they have violated when I get angry and see black in front of my eyes to calm down.
And the moment I became aware of this, it was easier for me to accept that behind every action I perceived negatively is a positive intention on their part. And sometimes I even have to give people up to move forward in life and make room for others who can help me grow personally and professionally. And I have given up people in time to be happy in my own life.
Next to beliefs, values are the natural factors that determine how we make decisions. Work with your limiting beliefs and be aware of your values to guide your compass in the right direction for your journey through life.