Your Personal Values

“Life’s up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals – Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want” – Marsha Sinetar

the flag of values

What Are Values?

An idol of mine, a man called Jim Rohn, once said that, ‘For every promise, there’s a price’. In other words, the reason he became successful was because he gave something to be something…  The price of his time. The price of his money. The price of his energy.

But never his personal values.

And why? Because it’s our individual values that motivate us towards achieving our successes in the first place. The reasons behind why we want to write that book, or be a great parent, or even help save the Koala bears.

The reason why Rohn wanted to become a millionaire was because he wanted to keep the promises he’d made to his family, to make them feel safe and stable. So he used them, what he valued in his life the most, to give him the drive to change his life. And he did.

The core personal values of any person - integrity, teamwork, commitment, community, responsibility, etc

Our personal values are our core principles, the standards that we set ourselves and use to shape our lives. We may inherit values, and they may change, what’s important is the fact that any decision, when led by what we truly value in life, can only be the right path to take when moulding the future and deciding who and what we spend our time, money and energy on. These are the qualities that bring character and colour to who we are, how we live, what we dream about… an inner guide for us throughout the day and throughout our lifetime. They determine what ‘Being Successful’ means to us.

Where Do Values Come From?

You tell me! Look around you, what idols have shaped your life? What values do you parents have? Did you learn from their successes or their mistakes?

Exercise: Write I am… twenty times on a piece of paper and finish the sentences without thinking. How many of these were social roles? Personal traits? Physical characteristics? What does this say about the standards you have set for yourself?

Discover Your Personal Values

“If we are to go forward, we must go back and re-discover those precious values” – Martin Luther King

Someone who values simplicity might not aim for the same life as someone who values recognition. That’s the reason why it’s possible for an “ordinary” person to feel more fulfilled than a millionaire by just being a good mother to her children.

So why is it important to know what these values are? There are many answers to this question.

1) Living by our values generally makes us a happier and more fulfilled person, because when we are aware of what’s truly important to us in life. We find it easier to be motivated towards achieving success and find it easier to value our achievements more, because they do mean more to us. For example; A promotion will mean more to someone who is work-orientated than someone who values family-life over all else.

2) Not living by our values can have the opposite effect. For example, if your someone who, like me, values honesty; not telling the full truth, or being around someone who exaggerates makes you feel quite un-comfortable in your own skin.

3) Knowing our values helps us manage time better too. It helps us to understand who we are and what we should be spending our time, money and energy on.

4) When planning or changing our route in life, it’s important to have discovered ourselves in this way because it enables us to make more quality decisions. Decisions beneficial to us as individuals and the life we lead. We are not robots. It’s important to remember this when deciding where to go next in life.

By considering our values, we can learn how to make ourselves more valuable and to how we can leave the world having achieve the promises you made to yourself, whether that’s to help the elderly, move to America or to change the world.

People together, valuing each otherLook at celebrities. These are the people who have achieved fame and fortune and are idolised because of it. We all know how they got there. Because they made decisions. But we don’t always know what they sacrificed and how they prioritised when making the decisions. Infact, we often hear of people who have achieved fame and fortune but have still been thrown off the rails. Why?

Because they aren’t living life by their values. They have sacrificed something that meant something to them. Their decision was poor. This page is here to make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes because whatever they are, our values are the backbone to our fulfilment, and awareness of this backbone will add strength and structure to our decisions and plans. In life we are faced with decisions everyday. Some decisions are quite obvious to us, others not so much. But there is always a trend and that’s down to who we are.

Think: Think about the decisions your going to make in the not so distant future. It might be time for you to pick you’re a-level subjects, time to climb up your work ladder, time to figure out what to save for or what you want the next character in your book to be like. Remember that you have free will. Generate all the possible options and look at them as anticipated opportunities rather than apprehended decisions.

It’s fine not to want to change the world… but if you do then why the hell are you choosing to watch cartoons instead of writing that book/making that business plan/ learning about astronomy?

How to Discover Your Values

“The moment you give up your principles, and your values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period” – Oriana Fallaci 

As humans we can give:

  • Money
  • Energy
  • Time

To whatever and whoever we please. Sometimes, what’s really important to us, can be echoed through analysis of our car, friends, dreams, behaviour and jobs; but not defined by them. Studying these echoes can tell us a lot about who we are…

You might say to me, well, it was my parents who chose my career or, my partner was the one who chose the house, they decided. All I have to say to that is that this still shows us that you value appeasement of others over appeasement of yourself. You could have told your parents no. There was nothing stopping you getting a pink mini over a blue one. You had the choice. You always have the choice. Life is too short to live by someone elses personal values! It’s your time, money and energy at stake so use it wisely.


Cash, one of the biggest things we valueRemember that when we do good, we feel good. So sometimes it’s nice to dust the cobwebs off your wallet from time to time and give something back to the world. After all the world does give you an awful lot don’t you think?

I once found a child’s video game in a local library when I was out with a friend. The event didn’t particularly reveal a lot about the both of us, only that we enjoy quiet time in the company of science-fiction novels, but the decision making that day sure did.

I learnt that, although my friend, unlike me, was a practised Christian, she valued her own interests in music and experience over honesty. I learnt that I was very different and handed it in before she could change my mind. I’m not saying that either of us were right or wrong, I’m just saying that it was that day I learnt just how much decisions reflect who we really are. Even the small ones.

Honesty, is a great value of mine. It’s brought me troubles and tantrums living by the rule but it’s a moral that I have always, always, always had and was defined that day by money.

It’s alright being a millionaire, but how did you become one; as Rohn said ‘It’s not what you get, but what you become’. It’s not what we buy that makes us valuable. It’s what we read, what we see, what we learn… Consider this question next time you get your pay check… Would I be remembered for buying this? Or would I be better of buying a book?

Exercise: Money


At sixteen, we are launched head first into the world with a handful of values, building bricks for the future. It’s easy to loose track of what’s important, to loose direction; putting too much energy into one thing and not enough into another. But it’s simple; Your life is yours. If you don’t believe in something, don’t waste your energy on it.

Exercise: Energy


The value of time

Time is precious. That’s drilled into us every day. It’s more precious than the energy we use, than the money we spend. You can drink caffeine, you can earn a raise but time… that’s something we will never get back. And that’s why I left this one until last. Because time is like a currency, except you can’t buy more of it. When your time is gone, it’s gone, so surely it’s best to spend it on the most important things.

Often we don’t realise how precious time is until it is gone. The loss of a loved one, a near death experience, an illness. These can all provide us with a sudden insight into what life is all about for us. It’s an awful experience, but the past is something we must all learn from.

I had a great grandmother. She was insane, but everyone remembered her when she was gone. She often embarrassed herself but I tell you something, everyone remembered the time she rode around Asda in the trolley, even today. And, from hearing these stories, I learnt a lot. I learnt that we should always make the most of our time, giving as much of it as we can to the people we love and the things we love. That we should always be ourselves to be remembered as ourselves.

I wished I’d spent more time with my great grandmother.

Exercise: Time

Your Ten Commandments (Exercise)

“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself” – Wayne Dyer

Exercise: Your ten commandments

Living Life by Your Personal Values…

Your current life is the way it is because you chose it to be, or even you did nothing to change it. Values are the reason why someone might not pick up their bags and move to New York City tomorrow, the reason why we would or wouldn’t strip bare for a million pounds.

It's not hard to make decisions, once you know what your values are

I want to move to New York City. For a while it has been a great desire of mine. What does it say about me? I think it says that a life of value to me, is a life that’s inspired. I can’t go yet for aboitic reasons, but when the time comes to truly decide I will have to consider my values once more.

It’ll be easier for me to move away, than a middle aged mother of two, because consistency is not a great value of mine. Our desires are shaped by our personal values. Whether or not we persue these desires is also determined on what is important to us.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s not easy. It’s a tough job. It takes maturity, guts and a whole lot of perseverance to live by what you believe in and accept the setbacks. But it’s worth it. Living by your values helps you to shape your life and yourself into the shape you want.

Whether it’s a teenager deciding not to drink or a politician declaring world peace. The moment your views are clear to you, keep them close and never let go. So if your goal, is like me, to go to New York. Don’t just be able to say ‘I went to New York’ say that I lived by values to get there. I was determined; I saved up the money to go on my own. I was inspired; I used what I saw to create something beautiful.

  • Manage your money, time and energy according to what’s important to you…
  • Create a bucket list with your values in mind… Keep Rohn’s philosophy on mind ‘It’s not what you get, but what you become’
  • With every decision you have to make, picture pathways. Always make sure you take the one that is defined by your own standards.
  • Assess the situation
  • Generate opportunities and options
  • Consider the advantages, the values on your list that they nourish
  • Consider the disadvantages, the list of qualities you don’t want your life to take
  • Think about the effect it will have on the people you value

Remember your values can change. If your past didn’t include your personal values… make sure your future does.

If something is important to our life, if it is important to us; we should never ignore them. Particularly not if we want to make the right choices in life and achieve the success we want.

Next Page: Frame of Mind

Wrote by Aimee Hall