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Navigating Life with Your Core Values as a Compass

Updated: May 25

Values Compass

Looking at values is a regular theme across the Phoenix Coaching pages on social media.

This isn’t the first time I have blogged on this, and it most definitely won’t be the last because values are fundamental to how we live, make decisions and the direction we move forward.

You may have a good sense of what your core values are, and what is important to you, however, can you be specific in telling someone what is important to you?

Do you know what you are assessing decisions against and what you are setting your ‘moral compass’ on?

I know that for me, my values have changed as I have grown, as my circumstances have changed and as my priorities in life have changed.

It is a chicken and egg situation as my life experience has helped me determine what is most important to me, and my values have helped determine my direction and are my ‘life and moral compass’.

The more I experience life, the more I get clarity on what is most important. The more clarity I have, the more I can be proactive in making decisions to ensure that they align with my values and the principles and standards of behaviour that I want to live by.

Reflecting on Our Core Values

One of the questions I get asked most frequently when talking about values is how often people should reflect on them.

While there is no specific timeframe, I suggest that if your situation has altered, your life is taking a different path, or you are navigating a challenging situation, it is beneficial to assess how well your current actions align with your values and requirements.

When we are out of sync with ourselves, we experience a sense of unease, a gut feeling that something is amiss, a sensation of being adrift without a clear path.

Having a clear understanding of your values acts as a compass, guiding you in setting the course for your journey and making decisions that align with your desired life path.

Reflecting on Other People’s Values

Understanding the values and needs of both ourselves and the people we are closest to is crucial. This understanding can enable us to empathise and take into account their perspective in various conversations and situations.

There is no definitive set of values that is right or wrong. Having three specific values does not guarantee success or happiness. Your values are shaped by your life experiences and the people you have encountered or who have influenced you.

We can all live in a family home, be raised together, have similar life experiences and influences and each have a different set of values. Understanding the values of those we are closest to can really help develop those relationships and have that deeper understanding.

What about work colleagues?

Although individuals may have different values and work styles, the majority are motivated to perform well in their jobs.

Achievement/Competency – vs Meaningful Work / Contribution

These are all important values and will be held by very competent and high performing colleagues. It will however mean that they are likely to approach tasks differently.

A colleague who values achievement and competency is likely to approach a work task with a successful outcome in mind. Potentially they will look at quantity or speed of the task, being able to prove that they can ‘do’ the allocated task to those around them.

When a colleague appreciates meaningful work and contribution, they are inclined to tackle tasks differently, prioritising the process of 'how' the task is accomplished. Their motivation stems from the method rather than the end result. Instead of emphasising a proven track record, they place greater importance on feeling that they have contributed to the outcome rather than solely being accountable for it.

All these values are important, one is not more important than the other and both colleagues will be a valued member of the team. Both will successfully complete the task they have been given, how they approach the task will be different, and will depend on their individual values.

Reflecting on Organisational Values

Does the place where you work have a set of organisational values?

Are they in alignment with your personal values?

Does the organisation hold the same values as when you started working there?

Organisations need to adjust the services they provide or their operational methods in order to align with the demands of their service users and customers. When organisations undergo changes, it can lead to a transformation in their mission, vision, and values. If the newly adopted values no longer resonate with your own beliefs, it might be necessary to reassess your alignment with the organisation's revised values.

For example, you join a company known for its exceptional customer service, which is a value that is important to you as well.

Initially, the focus was on providing quality customer care, with an emphasis on service delivery, and dedicating time to a customer was not an issue as long as it resolved their enquiry or complaint. However, due to changes in demand and budget over time, the company shifted towards a more quantity-driven performance approach rather than prioritising quality, this would necessitate you to adapt your work style, which might conflict with your personal values.

This situation presents you with the choice of either trying to reconcile your personal values with the company's objectives or exploring the possibility of seeking employment elsewhere.

  • Understanding our own values is important.

  • Understanding other people’s values is important

  • Understanding the values of where we work is important.

Listen to what people say – really listen. Listen to understand not respond

Ask people what is important to them

However, first...

Ask yourself, what is important to you?


Are you clear on your values?

Download your FREE Values alignment assessment HERE

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