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Discovering Your Values

In the last newsletter we talked about 'Your Reason Why', and how having emotional reasons for doing things gives them real power. To see this article go to

The next logical thing to consider is how do we find our reason why.

In doing this I am aware that everyone is at a different place in their lives. Some have thought about these questions often, and others are only aware of what things they enjoy. The method that I will outline here is just one way that has worked for me. Feel free to take what you want from it, and leave out or change what does not feel right to you. Also be aware that this is not a process that is done once, and is finished. It evolves and changes over time. It is not necessary to do each step until you are 100 percent satisfied with it, before moving on to the next step. However, I believe it is necessary to do each step, and to write down the results of each step, and then to review and update that document periodically.

The first step is to define your vision statement. If everything was perfect, how would the world look?

For a start you may like to just define how your town would look, or how your family would be, or how your work place would be. This works best if your vision is for something bigger than just yourself, so if you need to, reduce the scope from the world, down to a manageable part of the world, or a manageable area of life. You may like to initially limit this to just thinking about something that will make you feel satisfied or fulfilled.

There are a number of questions you can ask to help you in defining your vision. Questions like:

? What do you enjoy doing?

? What are you really passionate about?

? What do you hate?

? What was the time in your life when you were most happy, and why was that?

? What difference would you like to make for yourself, for your family, community, or for the planet?

? What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?

? If you knew that you would die tonight, and everyone came to a big meeting to hear your last words, what would be in your 15 minute speech?

Visualise that you are on the stage at that meeting, see everyone's faces, feel the atmosphere and emotion, and see the effect that your words are having on the people.

From the answers to these questions, and others like them, you can start to see what your real values are. They might be things like self discovery, love, contributing to something, creativity, or adventure. Review what you come up with to see if it is a real value, or a symptom of a value or a need. For example if you had hard work as a value, you may find when you thought about it, that this was a symptom of your desire for recognition, or of a value to be productive. Hard work may not be the actual value, and the real value may be able to be satisfied in another way.

From these values you have discovered about yourself describe your vision. What does your perfect world, or part of your perfect world, look like? You should feel yourself getting emotionally involved in that vision. If you don't, then go back and look at it again, until you have a vision that inspires you. It is not a problem if it takes time to come up with an inspiring vision, but it is a problem to move on to the next steps if you don't have an inspiring vision, that you feel emotionally involved with.

Once you have your vision, the next step is to decide on your role or mission in achieving that vision. How will you bring about that vision, or contribute towards bringing it about. This does not have to be very specific. It's purpose is just to act as a bridge between the inspiring vision and the specific actions and projects that you will be a part of, in contributing towards that vision. As an example, your vision might be to live in your community, where everyone there feels free to express their opinions openly and without fear. You might see your role or mission in achieving that as being to use and teach others effective communication techniques.

Now that we have our inspiring vision and our mission, it is time to define the projects that we could get involved in. There could be any number of these, but I suggest you start with at least 30. These are the things you could imagine that you might do to contribute towards your inspiring vision. They could be things like find a partner, write a book, get elected to public office, progress your career or speak to 100 people about your vision. Have fun with this. Be creative. Switch off your reality checker while you do this. Be as unrestricted and open as you can.

When you have a list of projects, group them together. One group might be career related, and another might be family related for example. This will help you to define more projects that fit in each group. If you find that one of your projects is actually several smaller projects, then record the smaller projects.

Most people that have taken the trouble to go through a goal setting exercise stop at this point and start planning the activities that each project requires. I suggest that this is the reason that many goal setting exercises don't produce long lasting results, or really powerful results. There are still a couple of steps to follow.

To see the complete article go to

Tony McGlinn runs personal development programs, writes and is a life coach and consultant. You can visit him and subscribe to his newsletter at

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