Discovering Your True North: A Guide to Finding Your Core Values


Hey, awesome peeps! I’m thrilled to embark on this journey with you, and I’ve chosen this blog post as the starting point because I believe that discovering who you are and what drives you is a game-changer for living your best life. Personally, I didn’t uncover my core values until my thirties. Before that, I allowed my surroundings and family circumstances to shape my path, leading to unhappiness and a sense of living a life that didn’t quite fit. My mission is to help you learn from my experiences. Don’t wait until your thirties or forties to uncover your core values. Life can often feel like a maze, and your core values act as the map to navigate it. They serve as the compass pointing you toward genuine happiness and fulfillment, grounding you in the principles that define who you truly are. If you’ve ever pondered, “What are my values?” or felt the urge to understand what truly matters to you, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’re embarking on a self-discovery journey designed especially for you.  This will be one of my longer posts because there’s a lot of information here to help you discover who you are, and it’s just that important!

First, what exactly are values, and why should you care about finding them? Let’s break it down. Think of values as your life’s GPS – they guide you in making choices that align with your true self. When you have a clear understanding of your values, external factors and other people are less likely to sway your daily decisions. You’ll be firmly grounded in knowing who you are, what’s important to you, and what your non-negotiables are. Values are basically the things that mean a whole lot to you deep down inside.

Why are they a big deal, you ask? Well, values aren’t just fancy words. They’re like the superpower that helps you decide stuff, figure out your friendships and relationships, ace your work or hustle, and basically live life in a way that feels completely you. Imagine knowing what truly matters to you and what you stand for – it’s like having a secret shortcut to make every decision, big or small, a breeze. So, values aren’t just cool concepts; they’re your trusty sidekick in the game of life!

Alright, here’s the deal – I’ve got five steps that’ll help you uncover your values. But here’s the thing, it’s not a quick-fix kind of deal. Think of it as a journey, not a sprint. It might take a few weeks, and you’ll need to dig deep and get real with yourself. This is all about you and what you want in your life, so take your time and enjoy the process.

Step 1: Time to Get Reflective:

Find your zen: Start by chilling out in a calm spot with a notepad or you can use the notes app on your phone. I personally like to use my phone to take notes as it’s always with me so I can refer to it whenever I want.

Life highlights: Start by thinking about those times when you were genuinely stoked or proud of yourself. What were you up to? What made those moments epic? These could be those big milestones like graduating, nailing your dream job, or even moving out on your own and taking charge. Remember that marathon you ran, or that award you bagged for being a total superstar?

I remember doing this exercise when I was in your shoes, and at first, it felt like drawing a blank canvas. I was going through a rough patch, and happiness felt like a distant dream. But as I dug deeper, two things emerged as my shining stars: my two amazing daughters and my close-knit sisters. That’s when it hit me – family was a core value I held close to my heart.

Role models: Think about people you admire – whether it’s someone you know or a superstar from afar. What’s so awesome about them? Their qualities could hold hints about your own values. What values do they have that you’d love to call your own? For me, it was the big hitters like Oprah, Tony Robbins, and a bunch of personal development authors who fired me up. Their incredible journeys from humble beginnings, conquering life’s challenges, and using their gifts to make the world a better place really resonated with me.

Feel the vibes: What gets your heart pumping with excitement? What principles are you ready to defend no matter what? For me, it was all about freedom – the sweet taste of being able to do my thing, whenever, with whomever I choose. Back then, I didn’t quite have it, but the sheer intensity of this feeling became my driving force. I hustled my way to self-employment, crafting a life that embodied this core value. And guess what? I’m there now!

Turn off the noise:  Sometimes, it’s just as vital to know what you don’t want in your life. Think about what freaks you out, what you can’t stand, and what you’d rather keep miles away from.

In my own journey, I grew up in a challenging environment where I faced daily emotional and physical abuse. I had this cute Snoopy piggy bank, a cherished gift, which one day mysteriously vanished from my room. To my shock, I found out that my mom had broken it and used the money for groceries. It wasn’t about the piggy bank itself; it was the fact that she made that choice without even talking to me.  As I reflected on my childhood experiences, I realized that disrespect was a major trigger for me. It is a complete deal-breaker.

Then came my early marriage experience, marked by anger issues and several frightening incidents. In hindsight, I can see that my ex-husband displayed anger issues long before we even tied the knot. There was a physical altercation with my sister’s tenant and another with his own father. He constantly raised his voice at his sweet mom, and on another occasion, he forcefully grabbed my arm to remove me from a situation. Regrettably, I didn’t fully recognize these red flags until well into our marriage. After the divorce, it became crystal clear that I had absolutely no tolerance for unnecessary irate anger. This realization was a pivotal moment, guiding me to steer clear of individuals who exhibited such traits. Here’s a pro tip: Pay close attention to how your new friends treat their moms and interact with restaurant wait staff; it can reveal a lot about their character.

Step 2: The Big List of Values:

Let’s make a list: There are heaps of values, and I have listed the top values that I thought of with a brief explanation of it. Google for more!  Write down all the values that’s important to you.  Are there any values that you really aspire to have, but currently don’t possess?  Include those values in your list too.  Don’t worry if it’s a long list; we’ll trim it down later.

Adventure: A desire for new experiences, challenges, and excitement in life.
Authenticity: Being true to oneself, genuine, and not pretending to be someone else.
Belonging: A sense of being connected to a group, community, or loved ones.
Bravery: The courage to face fears, take risks, and stand up for what is right.
Caring: Showing empathy and compassion towards others and their well-being.
Change: Embracing and adapting to new situations, opportunities, and growth.
Community: Valuing connections with others and actively contributing to a shared group.
Creativity: Expressing originality, imagination, and innovation in various aspects of life.
Curiosity: A strong desire to learn, explore, and understand the world.
Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
Equality: Believing in fairness, justice, and equal opportunities for all.
Family: Prioritizing close relationships with family members and their well-being.
Freedom: The pursuit of personal liberties and the absence of constraints.
Friendship: Valuing close relationships, trust, and camaraderie with others.
Fun: Enjoying life, laughter, and leisure activities for relaxation and pleasure.
Gratitude: Recognizing and appreciating the good things in life and expressing thanks.
Growth: A commitment to self-improvement, learning, and personal development.
Happiness: The pursuit of joy, contentment, and a positive outlook on life.
Honesty: Truthfulness and a commitment to ethical and transparent communication.
Independence: The desire for self-reliance, autonomy, and self-sufficiency.
Individuality: Embracing one’s uniqueness, distinctiveness, and personal identity.
Integrity: Adhering to strong moral and ethical principles and doing what is right.
Innovation: The drive to create new ideas, solutions, and improvements.
Kindness: Demonstrating compassion, generosity, and benevolence towards others.
Learning: A passion for acquiring knowledge, skills, and personal growth.
Love: Deep affection and care for oneself, family, friends, and romantic partners.
Loyalty: Faithfulness, dedication, and commitment to those one values and trusts.
Openness: Willingness to consider new ideas, perspectives, and experiences.
Resilience: The ability to bounce back from adversity, setbacks, and challenges.
Responsibility: Being accountable for one’s actions and obligations.
Simplicity: Embracing a straightforward and uncomplicated approach to life.
Spirituality: A connection to one’s inner self, beliefs, and a higher purpose.
Teamwork: Collaborating effectively with others to achieve common goals.
Tolerance: Acceptance and respect for diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and opinions.
Trust: A strong belief in the reliability and honesty of others.
Understanding: Efforts to comprehend and empathize with others’ perspectives.
Vision: Having a clear and inspiring long-term goal or purpose.
Wisdom: Applying knowledge and experience to make informed decisions.
Zeal: Enthusiasm, passion, and energy in pursuing one’s interests and goals.
Adaptability: Easily adjusting to changes and new circumstances.
Balance: Maintaining equilibrium and harmony in various aspects of life.
Determination: A strong resolve and persistence in achieving objectives.
Fairness: Treating others impartially and equitably.
Grace: Exemplifying elegance, poise, and dignity in actions and interactions.
Harmony: Creating a sense of peace, balance, and unity in relationships and environments.
Patience: Demonstrating tolerance and calmness in challenging situations.
Respect: Showing consideration and esteem for oneself and others.
Self-Expression: The freedom and ability to convey one’s thoughts, feelings, and identity.
Well-Being: Prioritizing physical, mental, and emotional health and happiness.💪

Step 3: Sorting Your Values:

Now, it’s time to rate your chosen values. Place a “1” beside the ones that are non-negotiable for you, a “2” beside the important ones, and a “3” beside the values that are kinda important or more like “nice-to-haves.”

I vividly remember going through this very exercise myself, and there were two values I grappled with throughout my entire life: “honesty and integrity.” My admiration for my father, as my mom was abusive towards me, presented a complex situation. You see, my father engaged in financial misconduct and believed that lying and cheating were the keys to success in life. He amassed a significant fortune by deceiving others.

I chose a career as a real estate agent and dedicated a decade to it, and it was during this time that I learned the importance of always doing what’s best for my clients, even if it meant making sacrifices for myself. As a new agent with no prior experience, I understood that my word was my most valuable asset. I deliberately included “honesty and integrity” in my list of values and committed to becoming a person of integrity. It was immensely rewarding to receive affirmation from my clients, who often said, “You consistently follow through on your commitments.” Their words served as a validation of my personal growth and my commitment to this core value. In fact, many of my clients referred me to their friends, family, and neighbors because they appreciated that I consistently prioritized their best interests. So once again, don’t hesitate to write down core values that matter to you, even if you’re still working on living them fully.

Tough choices often arise when values clash. For example, you might cherish both adventure and stability. In such situations, which one wins the battle for your heart?  You want to end up with between 6 to 9 core values that you’re genuinely passionate about.

Step 4: Making Life Match Your Values:

Time for a check-up: Take a look at your life, your choices, and your friends. Do they match up with the values you’ve chosen?

Make changes: If you notice any differences between your values and your life, don’t be afraid to mix things up. This could mean adjusting your goals, changing some of your habits, or re-evaluating your friendships. And remember, your values might change over time. For instance, as you grow older or experience new things like marriage, your values may shift.

Let me share an example. One of my core values is gratitude and generosity. 15 years ago, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was grateful for, and I thought, “How can I be generous when I don’t have any money to give away?” So, I started a gratitude journal where I listed three things I was thankful for each day. Surprisingly, I found something to be grateful for every single day. It could be landing a new client, getting a referral, spending quality time with one daughter, or even learning something new from a friend.

These days, I still write down my gratitudes, but I use a free app called “5 Minute Journal.” Tony Robbins once said that when you’re grateful, you’re not fearful, and I truly believe that now.
Through this process, I also discovered that generosity doesn’t always mean giving money. Since I didn’t have a lot of extra cash as a single mom with two young daughters, I decided to share my expertise in finding great investment properties. I coached people to become successful real estate investors, which positively impacted their lives. They gained passive income and assets they could sell in retirement. Over the past ten years, I’ve coached people of all ages on financial independence, budgeting, and smart money management because, let’s face it, schools often don’t teach us about financial smarts. That’s where I come in.

These are just two examples of how I adjusted my habits and rethought my goals. I hope these stories inspire you and help you on your journey.

Step 5: Be Your True Self:

Every single day matters: Once you’re done with the steps above, write down your core values and stick them somewhere you’ll see them daily, like your bedroom wall, bathroom mirror or your phone’s home screen. Try to make choices that match these values each day.

Discovering your core values is like an ongoing adventure of getting to know yourself better. It’s not a one-time thing but something you do every day. As you live by your values, you’ll find that life becomes clearer, more exciting, and filled with a sense of purpose. So, don’t wait – let your values be your guide through the exciting journey of life! 🌟💪

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