Values, why they are important, and how to use them

What does the word value mean to you? How do you define it? 

Your values are what you believe matters most in life. Knowing your values is an essential part of knowing yourself better.

Everyone’s values are different. As children, our parents, teachers, and elders pass values on to us and we live our lives based on what they’ve taught us.  However, as we grow older, we must determine what is of most value, based on our experiences, knowledge, and understanding of ourselves. 

Some of the values from childhood may stay the same, but it is natural that other values change and become more important than others depending on where you are in life. 

Here’s a list of some general values to get us started:




balance (home/work)




community involvement



continuous learning



ease with uncertainty


enthusiasm/positive attitude




financial stability



humour/ fun






making a difference



personal growth











The Importance of Knowing Your Values

Now that we have a better understanding of what values are, let’s delve into why it’s so important to know your own set of values. 

One thing to note is that values are not the same as goals. As compared to a goal that you can check off of your list, values don’t have an endpoint. You live your life according to your values. They may evolve and change over time, but there will never be a time when you check a value off your list as “done.”

Values help you find your life’s purpose

You can’t expect to know what you want out of life or what your purpose in life is, if you don’t know what is important to you. Knowing your values is like having a life compass. It guides you in the direction you want to live your life.  

Values help us grow and develop

The more we understand what matters most to us in life, the more we pay attention to those values. Knowing your values helps you grow as a person.

They help us to create the future we want to experience

You can’t create a fulfilling life if you yourself don’t know what makes you happy and fulfilled. By understanding your values, you get to know yourself better – your likes and dislikes, which helps translate in all aspects of your life.

Values help us make more sustainable decisions

Knowing your values is just another way to know yourself better in order to make decisions that are more sustainable.

How to apply values in all aspects of your life

If you are feeling stuck in life, work, or your relationships, one of the first places to start is with your values. This is mainly because this quantifies what you need to be looking for and it makes it clearer on what you need to align with. 

The closer you can align your job, relationship, or life with your values, the more fulfilled you’re going to be and have more purpose in life. 

Let’s take for example feeling unfulfilled in your job. In order to know why it is, you feel unfulfilled, first, explore your values. List down your top ten values and look at how they do or don’t show up in your work. Now, from the top ten values, choose the top five most essential ones. If for example, your top values are communication, ownership, and responsibility, try to observe what aspects of your job are not aligned with these top values of yours. 

Do your teammates lack communication? Does your employer micromanage you which hinders your value of responsibility and ownership?

It’s the same as relationships. If you are not feeling fulfilled in a relationship, check out your values. Do you have communication as one of your top values, but is a nice-to-have for your partner? Then it’s time to look for opportunities where you can be aligned. 

This doesn’t mean that your relationship has to end if one of your values is not reflected. This just means that you need to find a way in which your values are reflected. It requires a conversation or an adjustment of some kind from both parties. 

Looking at your values is an awareness-building exercise. It’s not something that people often do but when you understand how you think and operate, then there is a deeper understanding of why you may be feeling unfulfilled and the steps you need to take.

To Conclude

Knowing our values is important because it helps us make decisions, take action, and focus on moving towards the life that we want to live. Take some time to think about what is important to you. What do you value?  Does your current life reflect your values?

If you need help understanding your values feel free to reach out. I’d love to help.


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