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Get Your Values Together

by TJ Neal 4 years ago in goals
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Stop treating your values like they don't matter.

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

Everyone wants value, everyone wants to be valued, everyone can be valuable. Yet, the truth is we are not who we say we are, we are more of who our values show we are. Your values depict the "WHY" of who you are, and honestly, sometimes those values get fuzzy, like old antenna televisions.

That fuzziness comes because life can get complicated, busy, and just big…so we start doing just for the sake of doing without our values driving us. I speak for myself and encourage you that its time to self-check our values, to keep us growing and making sure they are in alignment with what we want in life. We have to stop treating our values like they don't matter or they don't deserve more attention. Time to let your values drive the car.

You vs. The People: Deriving Your Values

When you were a kid, your parents taught you a ton of things. Some of those lessons included how to tie your shoes, why you shouldn't lie, your faith principles, and how to treat others. Then along the way we all became independent teenage thinkers and made friends, that eventually led to more lessons being taught and shared. Your initial values were crafted through years of interaction, mistakes, tough love, compassion, and other purposeful items over time.

So with our initial values intact, we walk into adulthood, and now our values get more shaken, exposed, and put through real-life tests. Our values become a constant shuffle between what we want and who people think we should be (a game of tug-a-war). The big difference from childhood is that you are now in full control of the values you pick and the pressure to choose what others want can seem daunting. Life can get so taxing, that we don't even know who we are anymore.

This is what I call, You vs. The People. A real choice on whose values will continue to craft your life. Is it yours or will your life resemble the values of others? Either way can lead to success or failure. If we aren't the most consistent or loving and we pick up those values from others then great. However, if our values are solid and helping us get the most out of life and we divert to lower quality values, well then I guess you know the answer to that. You vs. The People… whose values help you get yours together the best?

Find the motivators.

Values and motivators are sisters and brothers. Though different they exist in the same family, your core values drive your motivators. For me, one of my core values is to give something bigger than myself to the world. So one motivation is to keep writing even when I can't just nail it, for the split chance that my writing may help someone else learn something or grow. The key is to match your values to your motivations. This makes your motivations more concrete and less flailing because when motivation wavers (and it does) your core values will be so strong, your moment of slump will be fueled by the core values that matter most. So be solid on your motivations and be unwavering on your core values.

Finding our motivators can be a deep dive into ourselves, but doesn't have to take a lifetime to find out. I mean, get real, who has a lifetime to figure out what we should be doing to live the best lifetime, right. So here is my little hack (borrowed from Warren Buffett) to help you find your top core values and then match them to your top motivators… keep in mind once you find these you have to start living by them, that's the deal.

  1. Take time to write down your Top 25 core values and be honest with yourself.
  2. Then circle your top 5 core values, based on what makes your life the best life.
  3. From here write down what motivates you, tangible or intangible.
  4. Lastly, take your top 5 core values and match them up to your motivators.

When you match up your core values with your motivators you will see where your time, focus, energy, and soul is telling you to be. Whether career aspirations, better family outcomes, or personal relationships. Take these focus areas and throw everything else away.

Something to Live for and Something to Die Over

Listen up, we all need motivators to keep us going. Those motivators give us something to live for. Living for something drives us to keep going, but today I implore you to hold tight not just something to live for, but let us all have something we are willing to die for. You see living means keep going, but having something to die for means that it is so important to your spirit that the ultimate sacrifice is worth it… This is your core values in forever-lasting action.

Trash the demotivators.

I hate cleaning out kitchen pantries but for some reason don't mind filling them up: more and more "stuff" every grocery trip and then one day, that sigh of relief… the day I (or probably my wife) empty out all the items in the back that were never used and no longer provide value. Often less is definitely more or at least not a waste of time or money. Motivations in life that match our values are true allies, but the demotivators we let in can kill our progress quicker than we realize. Clean pantry = motivating, Chaotic pantry = not so motivating.

I would love to tell you all of your demotivators right now, like hey your social media is distracting you from doing what you need to do or hey that eight-hour binge session just pushed your dreams back a full day. Fact is, I don't know what your demotivators are, but I know we all have them and when we don't check them, they control our actions. If we empty out our life's pantry, I am sure we would find things sitting in the back that don't match the values we want displayed. It is time to trash those demotivators and arrange your life with only those things that match your values.

*The hard truth about trashing our demotivators, is doing this right means you may have some people in your life that need new positions. Every person offers value, but every person's value doesn't fit your value system (and they don't always motivate). As amazing as people can be, I've watched how not having the right people around can diminish a person's value and self-worth. I've seen my mother blossom after ending a bad marriage because once she divorced, she was able to live her values and not compromise them for my father. I have also seen friends flourish when they have people as committed to their growth around them. Your support system needs to enhance your values, not detract from them.

Time Value of Your Values

As a finance major in college, I could not go a class without talking about the time value of money. Simply expressed, the dollar in your hand today is better than getting it later because you can invest that dollar today into something that generates more dollars. Who can be mad about that… $1 dollar turning into two? What wasn't clear back in the ivory towers was this time value thing also applies to our "life values" too.

Today we get a choice to clearly define our values (if we haven't already) and match them in detail to our goals, relationships, and current struggles. Using the time value of your values method… if we commit to our values now, we can spend every day going forward reaping the benefits of knowing exactly what we should be doing daily in our lives and understanding with all certainty that those values will push us towards what we want in life.

I mean seriously think about how awesome life would be and how much more successful we all would become as professionals, friends, and parents if we eliminated the BS distractions or had more clarity on our values and them matching what we really cared about. Your time is limited every day and what you value deserves to be center-stage on your priority list. Especially when we have checked our values, and they will help us become better people. What you choose today is an investment in who you become in the near future.

So, how are we getting our values together?

If you are like me, then your values matter so much to you. With that said if you are like me, then you also know your values require consistent effort to keep and grow them. So here are the steps we will take to get our values together and make all those goals and dreams pop open.

  • Define our top 5 values so we can get focused intensely and act with intention—this step creates our mission.
  • Use these top 5 values to outline your motivators in life, relationships, career, parenting, etc.—this step aligns our work with our mission.
  • Next, let's set some clear and measurable goals driven by our motivators. You can pick one per motivator as many as your heart can handle that correlate with your values and motivations—this step gives us the game plan with the activities necessary to stay progressing.
  • Take your defined values and now empty out your life's pantry… time to trash the demotivators—this allows us to get rid of distractions and detractors.

Again stop treating your values like they don't matter. They literally affect everything we do and who we are to become. Hemingway wrote:

Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.

Maybe today we will all get our values together.


Thanks for spending a few minutes reading up.

I love connecting and working with others, so shoot me an email or hit the follow button on Instagram and let’s grow together.

[email protected]


About the author

TJ Neal

-Living life one blog piece at a time👨🏾‍💻

-Creative with a mix of corporate professional

-Millennial leadership developer

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