02. What’s Your Value? Values to Live, Study, and Work By

Once you know what your core values are, you can use them to make life decisions both major—such as what career to pursue—and minor—like which classes to take. This module presents you with a checklist of possible values you can browse to see which resonate with you. Then you are asked to list your top values and to define what they mean to you, so you can keep them in mind when confronting future choices.

Values are the principles that give meaning to your life.  They determine your attitudes, choices, and actions, and help you establish your sense of purpose and direction. If you feel very strongly about your values, you want to make sure that the things you do live up to those values as opposed to violating them.

The quickest way to determine whether a value has been violated is to notice what makes you feel angry. Think about an instance in which something felt deeply wrong to you when you felt someone crossed a line. Chances are, that person violated one of your values.

Your deepest values, and the ones that often stay with you the longest, are your intrinsic values, also known as your core values.

As the circumstances of our lives change, some of our values may change; for example, you may value adventure when planning a long summer vacation, but value relaxation when you’re planning a weekend getaway after having turned in your thesis. Or, you may value travel when you’re single and stability once you have a family of your own. When people are unhappy at work, it is often because their job no longer aligns with their values.

Your deepest values, and the ones that often stay with you the longest, are your intrinsic values, also known as your core values. Intrinsic values are ends in themselves, such as happiness or integrity.

When you’re crafting a personal brand, you must understand your core values because they are the guiding principles by which you lead your life. If you put yourself in situations that require that you don’t live according to your core values, you’re unlikely to thrive.

The following list of values can help you think about what is important to you. Take the time to identify your top 5-10 values from the list below. First, read the entire list and put a check next to all the values that feel like they matter to you. Then read the list again and circle the 5 or 10 that are the most important to you.

Module 2 | What’s Your Value? Values to Live, Study and Work By

Now look at the words you’ve circled. Using the table below, list your top values on the left, and, next to that, add your definition to each one—some people may define fairness as treating everyone with respect, for example, while others define it as no one person having more of a good thing than another. Once you’ve written your list, save it so that you can come back to it later—we’ll use it again when we put your goals, values, and preferences together to define your personal brand.