cover art for CBaS Identify and Clarify Your Values for Better Decision-Making

In this segment, we’ll delve into the role of values in decision-making and how they can help us make choices that serve us in our lives.

Values are the guiding principles of what’s important in how we live our lives. They shape our beliefs, our behaviors, and our priorities. They reflect the core of what truly matters to us, and we use them to measure fulfillment in our life. This makes values critical as part of the decision-making process. When we make decisions that align with our values, we tend to feel more fulfilled and satisfied with the outcomes.

Identifying and clarifying our values is an important step in mastering the art of decision-making. It allows us to make choices that are in line with who we are, not what society expects or what our loved ones want us to do.

Clarifying Values

There are various ways to identify and clarify our values. Reflecting on our childhood experiences, considering our core beliefs and principles, and examining our passions and interests can all provide insights into our values. An important lens is to ask yourself what truly matters to you and what you want to prioritize in your life. There are lots of quizzes on the internet that you can take. In season 4, episode 38, Dr. Karin shared a resource that you can use to clarify your values.

Values in Decision-making

Our values guide our behaviors, or at least should guide them. Sometimes, we can live in a state of dissonance, where the way you act does not match the values you say you have. That’s a tough place to be, and you either need to change your values or your actions.

If you value diversity and exposure to different cultures, that will affect where you choose to live. You’ll likely choose a place where there are people of diverse backgrounds or belief systems. City living might be more attractive to you, for example, because of greater access to cultural events, restaurants, and other forms of entertainment that cater to a diverse population.

Growing up, I always lived in the countryside. Living in Ottawa, this meant that I rode the school bus to school, and needed drives from my parents any time I had to go anywhere. Eventually, I had to get a car to be able to get around. For the past few years, I decided to live in a place that’s walkable and with great public transport because I value the efficiency, environmental, and cost-effectiveness of mass transportation, and the ability to know my neighborhood. Safety is another important value for me in choosing where to live. This has made Prague a winner. I live in the city and have access to great public transport, I can walk around my neighborhood and feel safe doing that.

Once we have a clear understanding of our values, we can use them as a compass to guide our decision-making process. When faced with choices, we can evaluate how each option aligns with our values and make sure that our actions are in alignment. Knowing your values is important in deciding where to work, how and whom to date, where you live, and how often you call your parents, all those small and big decisions.

In season 4, episode 42, Blase Grinner talked about how his values change over time. It’s important to realize that your values may evolve, so it’s important to reassess and update them as needed. When you’re beginning your career, you may value money over job security, but when you have a mortgage and a family, you may decide job security is more important. Some people like to do a values exercise once a year or more to make sure that their actions remain in alignment with their values.

Your first invitation in this episode is to get some clarity about your values. You can listen to one of the two episodes I shared, and you find many great resources online. To get you started, if all you do is listen to this episode, reflect on these questions or journal on them:

  • What makes you happy?
  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What makes you feel fulfilled or proud?
  • What motivates you to take action?

Then, look through your answers for common themes and patterns. What answers connect together to identify a value? Remember, a value is a guiding principle for you of what’s important in how you live your life.

Once you have your list of values, select the three that are most important to you in the context of the decision you’re facing (that you wrote down yesterday). Reflect on why these values matter to you and how well they align with your desired results. Share your values with us by tagging @ChangesBigandSmall on social media or leaving a comment on the show notes.

By making decisions that align with your values, you’ll live a more fulfilling life. That’s it for this segment! In the next segment, we’ll explore the pros and cons decision-making technique. Stay tuned for more tips and strategies on mastering the art of decision-making.

For more on this topic, Brené Brown has a video on Clarifying Your Values). There is also a great article by Mind Tools on How to Identify Your Personal Values for Better Decision-Making.

You can connect with Damianne on the Changes BIG and Small website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. You’re also invited to join the Changes BIG and small Facebook community.

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I'm a curious problem solver.

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