Values Change Everything

July 14, 2021by Linda Fisher Thornton / leadingincontext.com

By Linda Fisher Thornton

I think of values as a critical element in enabling and focusing individual and collective success. Values shape your life, leadership, career and relationships. If you are currently going through life without knowing what your values are, you’re missing out on a powerful force for good that can offer a turbo-charged boost to propel you to where you want to go.

“Personal values are what a person believes to be important. They help prioritize life’s demands and often serve as a compass or guide in decision making and behavior. Yet, many people are unable to verbalize the values that guide them.”

The Arthur W. Page Center, Personal Values: The Foundation of Ethical Literacy, Penn State

This week I’m sharing how values change everything. Take a look at some of the many ways that values are transformational, and if you haven’t identified yours yet, I’ll share some advice on how to get started.

How Values Change Everything

Reduce Your Stress and Improve Your Decision Making

“College students experiencing high stress were better able to figure out a creative problem-solving task under time pressure if they first wrote a few sentences about their most important values. When they identified and focused on their significant values, they were able to solve as many problems as students in a low-stress group.”

Meg Sellg, 9 Surprising Superpowers of Knowing Your Core Values, Psychology Today

Shape Your Story and Career Conversations

“Knowing your values and being able to articulate them will support you as you make decisions about your career. Your values will inevitably shape the story you tell about yourself in email introductions, during informational interviews, at networking events and even on your application materials.”

Daniel J. Moglen, Making Values-Informed Career Decisions, Inside Higher Ed

Deepen Your Critical Thinking

“Good critical thinking is not value-neutral, nor is it merely instrumental; it is intimately connected with both values and attitudes.”

Rick Reis, Rethinking Critical Thinking: Values and Attitudes, Stanford University

Improve Your Willpower

“To activate your willpower, you must remind yourself why it’s important for you to do something.” It is your deepest values and goals that give you that ‘why.’

Meg Sellg, 9 Surprising Superpowers of Knowing Your Core Values, Psychology Today

Increase Your Happiness

“Our actions should be aligned with our values, but you’ll be surprised by how many people haven’t even thought about it, or spend years ignoring the signs, or even doing the complete opposite of what would actually make them happy.”

Jessica Dang, How Our Values Change the Course of Our Lives, Minimal Student

Provide Shared Common Ground

“Values have significant power to unite and energise people. Shared values can connect, where race, religion, politics and gender can divide.”

Why Personal Values Matter, Evolving Leaders

Transform Your Leadership

“By understanding the invisible forces of values, leaders can implement value creation strategies further and faster throughout their organisations, harnessing and unleashing the strongest force in business today: the motivational driving force within each and every employee.”

Scott Lichtenstein, The Role of Values in Leadership: How Leaders’ Values Shape Value Creation, Integral Leadership Review

Provide You With a Sense of Fulfillment

“My experience with people who live unsatisfying lives is that the values they grew up with mostly weren’t unhealthy and that their present values haven’t changed since childhood. They never questioned their values… In contrast, fulfilled people tended to grow up with life-affirming values or had a “crisis of conscience” in early adulthood that caused them to re-evaluate and modify their values.”

Jim Taylor, Ph.D,, Personal Growth: Your Values, Your Life, Psychology Today

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