Discovering your Core Values

Discovering your Core Values

Core values form the guiding principles of our behavior. They come from our experiences with family, friends, and community. As adults, we develop our best relationships with people who have the same values as we do. When we have similar values to those with whom we work, we will respect and trust them, and we can easily communicate with them and accomplish more. That’s why you need to consider your core values when changing career. Make sure to prioritize your core values when choosing a career path you and the job, company, and people with whom you spend a lot of time.

Having an in depth understanding of your Core Values is essential to knowing yourself for they will remain with you throughout your life. Core Values may appear common to most people, but the relative importance and meaning for each person will differ.

Look at each of the values listed below and ask yourself what each means to you. Think of examples in your own life. For instance, what does Fairness mean to you? In our society, the understanding of Fairness has evolved in recent years. One person might say, “Everyone has the opportunity to do that, so that is fair.” Another might say, “Some people are disadvantaged due to their birth and that is not fair.”

Honesty: truth telling and being open

Integrity: acting consistently with one’s principles

Promise keeping: fulfilling the spirit of commitment

Fidelity: being faithful and loyal

Fairness: treating people justly

Caring: having compassion and being kind

Respect: appreciating the human dignity of others

Citizenship: being a responsible member of the community

Excellence: performing at the highest level

Accountability: taking responsibility

Social consciousness: focusing on the greater good

(Note: This list is just a sample. There are many values beyond these.)

What we think and say are our values may not be what they really are. Since our actions are mostly guided by our values, to know your values, you need to consider your actions. Look at past decisions, especially job changes. Ask yourself, “What were the values that influenced me to make those decisions? How did I feel afterwards?” This will enable you to identify values that impact your important decisions and know what your values really are.

Another way to learn about your values is to consider your relationships with your family, friends, and colleagues at work. With whom do you have the closest relationships? What are the values you have in common with them?

Identify your Core Values, especially the ones that are most important to you.

  1. Think about what your life decisions tell you about your values.
  2. What are the values of your family members, friends, and others whom you respect?
  3. Think about the values on the list above and others that may not be on it.
  4. Identify the three or four Core Values that are most important to you.

This blog is an excerpt from the book, Career Change Guide. You can preview this book on this website or buy it at