Discover What’s Important

Last night I was teaching to a group about values.

After running through a technique to discover values one person said. “I find this uncomfortable”

My response was “Good”.

Here is the reason why…


Values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization. These guiding principles dictate behaviour.

Our values therefore direct our behaviour however, there’s a few things to know about values.

  1. Firstly, rarely do we sit down and ask what it is we truly value and deem highly important in any given context such as, work, relationships, health or personal development for example. Without discovering (or rediscovering) your values, you can find yourself meandering through life without attaining what’s most important to you.
  2. Secondly, values have a hierarchical structure in your mind. You may value making money for example, but you may value time with your family more. If this where the case, you would be unlikely to take a highly paid job, or enjoy that job, if it meant having far less time with your family. Values have a subconscious structure and sometimes they can be in a helpful or unhelpful order. For example, an individual may value their career progression above family (believe me, it happens) and their family relationships may suffer as a result. Conversely, a person may highly value job variety, use of skills and autonomy above money and is therefore likely to leave decent paid employment if the role doesn’t fulfil their priority values.
  3. Thirdly, when discovering values via the fairly simple technique I used last night, we can discover that key values are missing.  I recall working through this technique with a client to help discover what they valued in the context of career. Their list contained things such as, variety, helping others, working with like-minded colleagues, fun etc. After going through the entire process to refine these core values, we discovered that money was no where on their list. It was no surprise to find out that this individual was constantly broke and in debt. It’s also important for managers to understand the values within their team because if they are not met, they are likely to have a high staff turnover.

Discovering values can be very illuminating and often uncomfortable too. Values dictate behaviour and if we discover high-level values which we don’t have in the relevant area of our life or have not been focused on something we deem important, it means we must change behaviours and that can be an uncomfortable realisation.

Feeling uncomfortable in this context means there’s a mental shift or realisation occurring which is psychologically pushing comfort boundaries.


This is good because it’s likely to motivate positive behaviour change to accomplish more of what’s important in your life.