The secret to building your ideal business and life

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by Dana on January 30, 2014

magnifying-glass-valuesI believe that secret to building your ideal business and life is to get crystal clear on your core values and then to let them guide every decision you make and every action you take. In fact, helping my clients get clear on their core values is something I like to do at the beginning of our work together because ideally you want to design your business around them—from your business model to your day-to-day activities to your systems and processes to your marketing.  No one but you can define them…and it takes careful thought. Find out my favorite strategies for identifying your core values—and ways to integrate them into your business and life—below.

How to identify your core values?

There are a few ways I typically help people identify their core values.

Method #1: Use Coach U’s Value Assessment Tool

I find this tool from Coach U to be the most comprehensive way to assess your core values–and therefore, it’s my favorite method. Now, just to clarify…When I say values, I don’t mean ethical values. What I’m talking about here are the things that are most important to you and the activities you love to do. When you are expressing your top values, you feel most like yourself—alive, energized & fulfilled.

For example, two of my personal top values are family & relationships and to lead & inspire. So for me, when I’m spending quality time with family or friends, or coaching my clients or speaking in front of an audience about the things I believe in, I’m at my personal best.

Check out this blog post, where I share the exact worksheet to use. It includes over 150 values to choose from. Just follow the instructions to come up with your top four.

Method #2: Take a Look at the Green-Eyed Monster 

Most people would say that jealousy is a bad thing—that we should be happy & satisfied with the things we have. And on one hand, I agree. But on the other hand, I also think that there are times when jealousy can be a good thing. When we find ourselves feeling jealous of something that someone else has—whether It’s a material thing, an experience or a specific personal attribute—we should pay close attention. I view jealousy as a personal indicator of what we desire most for ourselves—things that we might not otherwise have realized that we craved.

Check out this blog post where I talk more about this topic and think about a few people you’re jealous of—they could be people in your life or those out there in the public eye. Then think closely about what it is that they have that you wish you had. Once you’ve figured it out, use that as an indication of what you value most.

Method #3: Review the Highlight Reel of Your Life

Think about the top 5-10 experiences in your life–the times when you felt most alive. Now think about what values you were expressing during those times. Everyone is unique, so two people could have the same experience but value different things about it. For example, two people might have taken a trip to Europe in college…one may have most valued the adventure associated with it…while another may have valued the friendships and connections they made when they were there. It’s important to get clear on why those experiences were important to you, personally, so you can determine your core values.

How to integrate your core values into your business and life?

Start small. It can take years to make a fully structure your entire life so that you are living your values all the time, every day. Take a look at our top values and think about which you can incorporate, little by little. For example, if you value creativity and love writing but haven’t done it in years, sign up for a creative writing course at a local college or wake up 30 minutes earlier each day to allow yourself time to journal.

You also want to make sure that what you do in your business in alignment with your values. When it is, you’ll naturally find it personally fulfilling and rewarding. But if what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis in your career is in conflict with your values, you’ll wind up dissatisfied and frustrated–regardless of how much money you’re making.

Next, look at your work environment–the hours you work, your office, etc. If you value freedom, but find yourself chained to a rigid work schedule, you’ll need to address that. Value beauty and luxury, but currently working off of the kitchen table? Might be time to invest in some office furniture and accessories.

Finally, be sure you’re leading with your values in your marketing. This can be one of the most powerful marketing techniques. Check out this blog post where I talk more about why it’s so important to help your prospects understand what’s most important to you and what you stand for. 


I’d love to know what you think…How do you integrate your values into your business & life? Do you have any additional tips? Feel free to share in the comments below.