Your core values are your guiding light or your north star. There is one other area that I encourage you to work on identifying.
Core values help you decide to conduct yourself in your life and career. These core beliefs will help you identify if you are making the right decision for you, your life, and your family. These can be aspirational and can represent your highest and best self.
Knowing your core values will help you determine if an employer will fit you well. For example, if one of your core values is leading a healthy life, you will not get a job with a tobacco company because they can’t say that their core value is health when they know that their product causes cancer.
Examples of core values are acceptance, honesty, integrity, fulfillment, love, health, happiness, humor, etc.
Although many people use the single words are their core values, I like to take it one step further. Core values define behaviors and are not just a single word. The single word doesn’t represent who you are; it’s more of a generic term. Remember when we all used to be in an office together? Did you have wall posters around the office with words like “Teamwork,” “Integrity,” and “Customer Service?” Those posters were supposed to represent the company’s culture or core values.
Start working on your core values by identifying an extensive list of potential core values. I recommend using a free resource on the web. Review the list and select the top 20 words you most identify with on your first go-around. You will narrow the list twice more to your top 10 and top 5 words. You will adopt those top 5 words as your core values.
Once you have your top 5 core values, you want to convert them into a simple yet memorable phrase. The phrase will start with a verb and conveys a sense of behavior.
For example, if your core value is integrity, the phrase you come up with could be “Doing what you say you are going to do.”
Another example, if your core value is leadership, the matching phrase could be “Leading by example.”
I will share my core values with you to get an idea of the outcome. My single word core values are:
- Personal Growth
But those individual words are dreadfully dull and don’t speak to who I am or my intentions. I then started thinking about a short phrase that begins with a verb.
- Personal Growth became ‘Learning constantly.’
- Proactive became ‘Taking action.’
- Fulfillment became ‘Seeking fulfillment.’
- Supportive became ‘Paying it forward.’
- Fun became ‘Enjoying the process.’
Therefore, my core values below represent who I am better than the single-word core values.
- Learning constantly
- Taking action
- Seeking fulfillment
- Paying it forward
- Enjoying the process
You are doing this assessment to learn about yourself to articulate your worth clearly. You can earn promotions and salary increases if you can express your value.
If you know what you are good at, you will be able to quickly figure out what you want to do for a living that leaves you fulfilled and energized every day.
These are not the only areas you can or should assess yourself. You can go even further and work on a vision and mission statement. An easy way to distinguish between the two is this:
- Mission statement: focuses on today and what you do
- Vision statement: focuses on tomorrow and what you want to become
My mission is to eradicate the gender gap in the corporate world by empowering women in their careers, which is why you are reading this blog.
My vision is that we don’t even think about the gender gap because men and women are both equal. That is my long-term desire for our society worldwide.
It will be great when one day women are shocked because women of the past used to earn more than $2M less than males simply by not negotiating. What a wonderful world that will be.
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The next installment will cover step 3, which is Advice.
Be Brave, Be Bold, Take Action!