Why And How To Find Your Values: A Step-by-Step Guide (& a list of 120+ values to choose from)

Our values are like the North Star (or – if you’re younger – a Sat-Nav). They guide our decisions, help us see clearly, and ultimately define our lives.

They are the essence of who we are. Yet, if we don’t know them, we can—and often do—shoot ourselves in the foot. How many times did you—in the heat of the moment—say or do something you later regretted? You know, those questions swirling in your head:

“Why did I do THAT? I am not such a person? Why?”

The realization and self-bashing afterward is painful, but it cannot change what happened. In my life, I felt this way many times. It changed when I spent time finding my main values. Since then, I use my values to steer my life and actions in the right direction.

They are my compass, and today I’ll help you find yours.

The Quest Begins: What Are Values and Why Do They Matter?

So, what are values?

Imagine them as the fundamental building blocks of our psychological DNA—the blueprint guiding our decisions and actions. While needs dictate our immediate requirements for survival and thriving, values address the meaning behind our actions; they are the WHY embedded into the depths of our souls, shaping our dreams, aspirations, and desires.

Now, let me ask you this: have you ever found yourself at a crossroads, unsure of which path to take? Deciding which job to take or how to act in some situation? Thinking, “Should I say something or keep quiet?”

That’s where values come in. If we know our values, they offer clarity and enable us to make decisions based on our true selves. More than that, they enable us to PLAN and LIVE an authentic life. The number one regret of dying people is:

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Bronnie Ware, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

Knowing our values is the first step to avoid that regret.

When you know your values, you can use them to create a Life Vision—a tangible description of how you want your life to look like. When your Life Vision is based on your values, it’s not just a day-dream. It is attainable. Once you have the Life Vision, you can use it to create a Life Plan—a Roadmap mapping out how you will turn your Life Vision into reality.

That’s the ultimate goal of finding out who you are and what are your values—to create an authentic, value-based life which expresses to the world the true you.

So, how can you find your values?

How to Find Your Values: A Step-by-Step Guide

The following is a step-by-step process to discover your values and prioritize them.

It’s important to understand that our values change over time. I delved a bit deeper into this topic in the article about Life Balance. There you can learn 4 reasons why our values change and what to do about it. In short, you cannot expect to create your list of values once and be set for the rest of your life. The list you are creating is for this part of your journey, not for the whole life. So don’t be afraid of it. You can always improve, modify, add, or remove things.

The process of discovering your Core Values spans several days, with break days in between. During break days, you should not actively look at your values but let your SupraMind sort through them. What is SupraMind?

Understanding the Supra-Mind and Intuition:

Instead of “subconscious mind”, I use the term “supraconscious mind”—SupraMind for short. SupraMind is in many ways superior to logic*.

The logical mind works with heavily filtered data relying on a fragment of what is going on around us. On the other hand, SupraMind has access to raw signals and thus can offer insights that logic may overlook. By engaging with our supraconscious mind, we tap into intuition—a powerful tool for self-discovery and decision-making. SupraMind is not something outside of you. It is a part of your being, just working on different frequency levels than your body or your logic. It’s like a camera which records both an image and an audio. Each input is different and works in different ways, but they are both a part of the camera recorder.

*Don’t take me wrong, logic IS important. But for some jobs, SupraMind’s intuition is a much better tool. Of course, we have to learn to use it. And the only way to get better at using it is to test, evaluate, test, evaluate, etc.

Intuition, uses the spirit-mind, spirit-body, and mind-body connections to guide our decision-making beyond logical analysis. By paying attention to bodily signals—e.g. the sense of contraction in the belly while thinking about some topic usually signals that this is a wrong path or there is some danger ahead—and emotional responses, we access deeper insights into our values and authentic selves. Handwriting, in particular, creates a unique connection between body, mind, and spirit. Transferring our thoughts from mind through hands onto paper and back through eyes into mind creates a clarifying loop which writing on the keyboard cannot replicate—unless you can write with your eyes fixed on the text and not on the keyboard.

That loop—mind-hand-eye-mind—enhances the imprint of written thoughts on our consciousness and unveils depths we cannot access while pondering thoughts without writing them down.

Step 1: Get the Lists of Values into SupraMind

The first task is to familiarise your SupraMind* and yourself with the list of values. Nothing else.

*If you feel that the following is too woo-woo for you, you can just skip it and continue with paragraph 1.b). However, bear in mind, that self-talk is a valid part of psychotherapy practiced by psychologists, psychiatrists, coaches and other practitioners all around the world with amazing results.

1.a) Before you read the list, take a moment to communicate your need for guidance and understanding to your SupraMind. Then, allow it to process the information while you are reading it. If you never talked to yourself, it might feel a bit strange at first. But it’s actually very easy. When you sit down to read the list of values—before you start reading—just say aloud what you are going to do and what is your desired outcome. For me it went something like this: “Now, I want to find out who I am and what are my values. I will read this list and I would like to get advice. Any signs to help me better understand who I am and what are my values are appreciated.” If you feel like it, you can thank yourself. It’s always nice to feel appreciated and who is going to thank you for things you do for yourself if not you? Am I right?

1.b) When you will read the list don’t overthink it, don’t try to select the right values. Just browse through the list and see what naturally stands out to you. Take note of any emotional responses or intuitive nudges you experience. Sometimes, our subconscious mind recognizes truths that our conscious mind overlooks. Trust these instincts—they can be powerful indicators of your deepest values. If something jumps out from the page as particularly relevant or meaningful, mark it. I used a [*] for values that resonated positively with me—they belong in “That’s Me” category. For things that felt cringe, I used [x]—they went into “That’s NOT Me” category. And when I felt a surge of “Oh, I’ve would love that!” feeling, I marked it with a [•]. Those emotions of pure desire—not greed or envy—are the soul’s way of telling you what it longs for, not just in this exercise but in everyday life too.

But don’t try to make up the feelings. For now just read the list and mark only if something really stirs something inside you.

You can either Download the list in .pdf format or view the List of Values online, whichever option works better for you.

Step 2: Engage Your Supraconscious Mind

Before you put the list away, talk to your SupraMind again. Take a moment to repeat your need for guidance and understanding.

Then, take a 1-2 days break and allow your supraconscious mind to process the information. This is something you should do every time when you put the list aside and take a conscious break. It allows the conscious mind to disengage from the task and get rid of the biases created during the session. Our conscious mind has a feature and—a bug—which causes it to focus on things it deems to be most important, which could lead to overlooking something more important hiding in the background. When you return with fresh eyes to your list, the pause will give you a better insight into the situation. This break is not for the SupraMind, but to avoid biases created by the conscious mind.

After two days, revisit the list with fresh eyes.

Step 3: Narrow Down Your List

Your goal now is to select values which resonate with you, aiming for 6-15 values in the “That’s me” category and 3-12 values in the “That’s NOT me” category.

If you already have more values in both categories, read only the values you already marked. Otherwise, read the whole list again.
Again, it’s good to start with engaging your SupraMind by talking to it.

If you created a list of defining moments from your past—as described in the Growing Tree of Life newsletters #053-#055—now it’s time to use it. As you review each value, reflect on those past experiences and focus on your emotional responses and feelings in your body. If you don’t have the list of your defining moments, you can either go and create one or you can imagine how you could display this value in your current situation, be it at work or in any other situation. Trust your intuition and pay attention to how each value resonates with you on a deep level.
If at the end you have fewer than 6 values in the “That’s Me” category and fewer than 3 values in “That’s NOT Me” category, read the entire list again—slowly—and mark down what pops up. If after 2-3 readings you still don’t have enough values on your list, take another 1-2 days break and come back later. You spent your whole life without knowing your values, another two days wouldn’t make a huge difference and it’s better to find who you really are than to have a list which doesn’t fully resonate with who you are.

The “I’ve would love that!” category is special. There is no limit on how many values you can have here, but those values are not reflecting how you show up in the world today. The key word here is today. They can and should become an integral part of how you live your life, because those values are part of your inner wiring. If they weren’t, you’ve wouldn’t long for them. Therefore you can use them for your “That’s Me” category. However, because you have to learn how to express them in your life on a consistent day-to-day basis, my recommendation is to use just one at any given time. Otherwise, a constant failing during the initial learning phase might frustrate you so much that you would give up on them entirely. Anything new takes time to learn and we are better at learning new things when at the same time we are good at something else.

At the end of this session, you should have a Shortlist of 6-15 values in the “That’s me” category and 3-12 values in the “That’s NOT me” category. Repeat this step every 2-3 days until you reach that goal.

Step 4: Engage Your Body-Brain Connection

Once you have the shortlist of 6-15 values that represent who you are, 3-12 values that show who you are not, and any number of desirable values; it’s time to reinforce your chosen values through physical action. You can do it immediately or you can take a 1-2 days break, it depends on how you feel and your schedule. Remember, you are in charge.

As always, it’s good to start with engaging your SupraMind by talking to it.

Now take your shortlist and handwrite the values including their descriptions. If some part of the description doesn’t fit exactly how YOU view that value, change it. Write all the values down exactly how you understand them, how you feel them. They are meant to represent you. The point here is to engage the mind-hand-eye-mind loop discussed above. By creating a tangible connection between your mind, body, and spirit, you engage different parts of your conscious brain. That will create a deeper integration of your values into your conscious mind. This process helps solidify your understanding of your core values and it will make much easier to express them in different situations.

During writing, pay attention to any physical sensations or emotions that arise.

Our bodies often provide valuable feedback about the alignment—or misalignment—of our actions with our values. Notice any feelings of warmth, expansion, or resonance as well as contraction, dread or repulsion. Those signs will help you to select your core values and sort them out by priority. If the feelings are strong, mark the priority now. If needed, you can do this in more sessions, you don’t have to finish all at once. When you finished all writing it’s time to take a break.

Give the SupraMind request to sort them out and take a 1-2 days break.

Step 5: Choose Your Core Values

Now it’s time to finalise your list of core values. The goal is to get to 5-6 core values from the “That’s me” category and 2-4 from the “That’s NOT me” category.

Again engage your SupraMind by talking to it and use handwriting to open deeper understanding of the text. Rewrite the values, if needed combine them together to create new definitions—play with them until you will have a list of 5-6 “That’s me” and 2-4 “That’s NOT me” values which all deeply resonate with your soul. The way you describe them on the paper must mean something to you. It might not mean anything to someone else, but to you they have to be the essence of your being poured on the paper. While writing them, do not think about the future. There are no right or wrong answers. It’s about what feels true to you now, in this moment.

When you have the list of your core values, you can either type and print them out or you can write them on one paper by hand. But it is crucial that you will create a one-page list of those core values.

Keep the handwritten descriptions of any shortlisted values, which didn’t make it onto the Core Values List this time. You will look at them in your future values review.

And that’s it.

Discovering and prioritizing core values gives you the ability to turn an ordinary life into an extraordinary journey. It all starts with introspection and self-awareness. By integrating both, logic and intuition, engaging with your SupraMind, and utilizing spirit-mind-body connections, you will unveil values that resonate authentically with your true self.

The next step will be to turn them into a vision of life truly representing you, aligned with your deepest aspirations and principles.

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