Know Your Core Values: 4 Tips to Help You Do the Right Thing

I am a big believer in the importance of knowing your core values as a compass for making major decisions. The more that you align with your core values, the clearer you can be when it comes to making choices in one’s career, personal life, relationships and creative activities.

This month, I am honored to be featured in an article in Reader’s Digest where I talk about the importance of values in making those difficult life choices and give 4 tips on how to find your core values.

In my own career, I chose to step away from a prestigious legal career to pursue a purpose-driven path where I could help people in the arts. After much meandering and exploring different possibilities (from being a non-profit executive to starting a consulting business with a partner to doing pro bono legal work for a domestic violence organization, chairing an orchestra board and joining a series of other boards), I finally discovered career coaching and found my sweet spot. That decision set me up to form my coaching company and eventually led to my fabulous position at the Yale School of Music where I head the Office of Career Strategies and teach a course on innovation and collaboration.

The driving force throughout my career search was the desire to give back and be of service to musicians and arts executives, continue on my path of learning and creating, as well as to feel that I was being true to myself. These represent the values of relationships, authenticity, life-long learning and creativity which serve as my own filter for deciding what work to take on, how to prioritize my time and what to say no to (a very important part of managing a busy life!).  Knowing my value has helped me navigate difficult decisions which is why I introduce values into my work with students and clients.

To help you find your values, here are 4 tips that can help you tap into your core and set you up to feel good about your life choices:

  1. Recall the situations in your life where you felt most alive and joyful and figure out what values were present in those experiences.
  2. When faced with difficult situations, put yourself in situations that inspire you to remind you of what is really important.
  3. Surround yourself with people who share your passions as another reminder of what you truly value.
  4. Honestly assess what values are important to you and get rid of the expectations of your family, your organization or your profession

And as a bonus, here’s my Values Assessment so that you can begin to zero in on your top core values.