Why are values so important to us?

Imagine that it’s Christmas Eve: You just heard that your best friend’s daughter needs to go through an urgent and unexpected operation to remove her appendix.

The operation finished around midnight. You get into the car and drive to your friend’s house to collect some essentials for her to sleep in, shower, and change as they left the house with just a handbag, not before you cook your friend a delicious gluten-free nutritious meal. You arrive at the hospital around 01:00 AM and stay with them till around 03:00 AM.

You are driven by what’s important to you, which is clearly friendship, care, and offering support.
These are your values.
No one gets out of bed on Christmas Eve, leaving their family for the night unless they are driven by their values.

This, by the way, is based on a true story: My story. I was the mother, and I’m lucky to have friends like this.

My friend coming to visit at the hospital


So what are personal core values?
Personal values are our guides to help us distinguish between what is “good” and what is “bad” in our personal life, community, culture, or society. They represent the standards and the norms of behaviour.
Personal values are a set of beliefs and principles that guide our behaviour and decision-making. They reflect what is most important to us, and when we live according to our values, we experience a greater sense of fulfilment, purpose, and well-being.
Personal values by which we live can be family, love, honesty, justice, spirituality, and many more.


Does everyone have the same values?
Not at all.
In fact, as an international institute, we often see not only that values change from person to person, but they also change from one culture to another.
For example: While in some cultures people’s top values will always include independence and money, in others these values will not even reach the top 20 important values. In other cultures, modesty will take the top place every time, while in others it won’t even be mentioned.
The set of values differs from person to person, and is usually determined by the beliefs around which we grew up, the circumstances of our life, and the environment in which we live. This means that values can change throughout our lives, according to the events we experience or according to our age and personal situation.
For example, it is possible that for a very young person, the value of family will be less evident in their lives than for an older person. Or, the values of order and organisation can be very important to someone in their workplace, but less important to the at home.

We’re different, and we have different values, both as individuals, but also as groups


Why is it important to connect to our values and test that connection all the time?
Connecting to our personal values is essential for a fulfilling and truthful life. Our personal values represent the things that matter most to us and guide our decisions, actions, and behaviour. They give us direction, motivation and a sense of meaning and purpose.
When we live in accordance with our personal values, we experience a sense of meaning and purpose. We feel motivated, energised and focused. We are more productive, creative, and resilient to challenges.

That is why it is important that we actively search and ask ourselves what our personal values are since they are the ones that guide us along the way. The more we live a life that is in line with our values, the more satisfied and comfortable we will be.
Connecting to our personal values is a process of self-discovery and reflection. It involves examining our beliefs, experiences, and priorities to identify what is most important to us. Once we have identified our personal values, we can use them as a compass to guide our decisions and actions.


What happens when we do not live according to our personal values?
In such cases, we can experience feelings of dissatisfaction, confusion, and lack of motivation. We may feel lost, unfulfilled, or disconnected from ourselves and our lives. This can lead to a lack of willpower, poor productivity, and creativity, as well as feelings of tension and internal discomfort.

Not being connected to our values can leave us confused


OK, but how do you do it?
Coaches have several ways to find out what values guide their clients.
This can be in a conversation in which one finds out what is important to the client, examining and getting insight into what is restricting or disturbing to the client in a particular situation or in the relationship with a particular person.
Al this can also be done in a playful way: for example, to choose values from a list, look at cards, or imagine which celebrities we meet and what we tell them.
The coach then knows how to extract from these conversations and activities the values that guide the client and talk to them about it.


What are the other advantages of searching for personal values?
One of the key benefits of connecting to our personal values is that it can help us build stronger relationships. When our personal values are clear to us, we are able to better communicate our needs and desires to others. This can help us build more authentic and meaningful relationships with the people in our lives: the more our set of values is similar to that of the people around us, the more we enjoy their company, and we feel safe, calm, and relaxed.
The second big advantage is that it helps us make better decisions. When we are faced with a choice or decision, we can use our personal values as a guide to determine what is most important to us. This can help us avoid making resolutions that are inconsistent with our values and can lead to feelings of regret, disappointment or dissatisfaction.
In addition, connecting to our personal values can help us prioritize our time and energy. When we know what is most important to us, we can focus our time and energy on the things that matter most. It can help us achieve our goals and live a more purposeful and satisfying life.

Coaching can help

As coaches, it is important that we know how to help our clients connect with their personal values through a variety of tools and techniques. We work with our clients to identify their core values and create a life plan that aligns with those values. This may include setting goals, creating action plans, and developing new habits and behaviours that support their values.
We need to help clients identify who the value in question actually belongs to (whether it is a value of theirs, or of another person who influences them like a family member or friend), identifying limiting beliefs or negative self-talk that hinders them. Coaches help clients to develop strategies for overcoming any obstacles and staying focused on their values.


In conclusion, connecting to our personal values is essential for a fulfilling and purposeful life. Our personal values provide us with direction, motivation, and a sense of meaning and purpose. They help us make better decisions, prioritize our time and energy, and build stronger relationships. And when it is not clear to us what our values are, because it is not always transparent or clear, it is worthwhile and desirable to use another examining and supportive eye, such as the coach’s eye.


Noa Brume
Founder of The International Coaching & Counselling Institute

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