What are your core values? Have you ever written them down? I know, you probably are going to tell me you have them “up there” <—- pointing to head.

The thing about having them “up there” is that they are easy to change. No one knows for sure what they are unless you tell them and chances are they will forget what you said by tomorrow.

I know you like it that way – it is hard to keep you accountable.

Here is my challenge to you – write them down. When you take the time to write them down, it might surprise you how long it takes to capture what is “up there”.

You may struggle with the exact wording or which values to choose. If you are experiencing this – you are on the right track. When you write something down, something changes.

Writing it down creates a sense of permanency and commitment. We cannot run from it. It is right in front of us – staring at us. We have to believe in it to put it writing.

The good news is – there is no right or wrong answer, each of us are unique individuals with a different outlook on how we want to live our life.

I think though, at a minimum, you will challenge yourself to:

  • Establish your personal standard
  • Critically think about the implications for selecting those values – understand how they represent you socially and professionally
  • Feel positively about them – enough to share them openly
  • Demonstrate your personal commitment by consistently acting upon them
  • Create a mechanism for self evaluation

Start with a short list. Create four to five personal core values. If you find yourself with a list of 10 or more, prioritize them. It is better to be consistent with fewer than to execute more with mediocrity.

If you are stuck trying to develop your core value list, you can visit Selecting Personal Core Values or check out other individuals or organizations who have openly shared their core values:

Your core values provide your personal framework for making decisions. Think about how you would “walk the core value” in a variety of situations.

It is easier to live up to your core values when everything is going smoothly in your life. The test of “walking the core value” is when you are facing adversity, such as stress.

Do not fret if you fail, recognize the hurdle and remind yourself how you want to demonstrate it the next time.