By: Tanya Kramer
Everyone wants to “live their best life” in alignment to their values. But to do this, we have to take some time to figure out the value structure so we can make life decisions based on that information.
Here are some simple steps to create your own Value’s Compass. I recommend doing this exercise at least once a year as a self-check-in. Before sharing the steps, here are some definitions to help the process.
Values – “a person’s principles or standards of behavior, one’s judgments of what is important in life.”
Integrity – “quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.”
Compass – “an instrument containing a magnetized pointer which shows the direction of magnetic north and bearings from it.” People use a map and compass to navigate and move over land, sea, or wilderness. It can be used to reach a destination.
So, why do we call this exercise a Value’s Compass? The answer is that we use our personal integrity to identify “our” core values (not necessarily the values of our parents, friends, school, community, etc.), and by doing this, we create a tool which we can use to make important decisions in our life. If we make decisions in our life based on our personal Value’s Compass, then we increase our potential for life happiness and decrease the experiences of regret.
Creating a Value’s Compass:
- Using this website, review the different values listed in the “card sort” list. Write down each one that is a value to you.
- Add to the list characteristics that are important to you (ex. trust, respect, etc.), entities that are important to you (ex. family, friends, pets, etc.), experiences that are important to you (ex. education, adventure, travel, quiet, etc.), and anything else that you value. ***This could be a BIG list.
- Take this list you have created and circle the top 20 Values. This does not mean the other Values are unimportant but take time to discern which ones are most meaningful to you.
- Now, put a star by your top 10 of the 20 Values circled.
- Take these 10 top Values and see if any naturally group together (ex., physical and emotional health, adventure and travel, etc.)
- Finally, identify 4 top Values or groupings of values and fill them in the visual below, but instead of writing “north, east, south, west,” write in your 4 top Values.
- Create an arrow similar to an arrow that exists on a Compass used for navigating, and write the word “Integrity” at the end of the arrow.
- Put this Value’s Compass somewhere you will see it often, and screenshot it for your phone. Whenever you make a difficult decision, consider your top values.