Understanding and communicating your highest values attracts the right people and helps your business succeed.

Take a closer look at your life to see exactly which highest values it reveals today. This is a multistep process in which you keep refining your answers until your hierarchy of values finally emerges with crystal clarity.

Step 1: Answer the following thirteen questions with three examples for each. For each answer, choose the three examples that are most important to you.

1. How do you fill your personal or professional space?

Have you ever noticed the way things that are really not important to you go into the trash, the attic, or the storage closet? You might believe that you value your prized stamp collection, but if you have it packed away in the attic where you never see it, the collection is probably not as important to you as those things that you see and use every day. In fact, you usually keep the things that are important to you where you can see or touch them, either at home or at work.

What does your life demonstrate through your space? When you look around your home or office, do you see family photos, sports trophies, business awards, books? Do you see beautiful objects, comfortable furniture for friends to sit on, or souvenirs of favorite places you’ve visited? Perhaps your space is full of games, puzzles, DVDs, CDs, or other forms of entertainment. Whatever you see around you is a very strong clue as to what you value most. Which three items do you fill your personal or professional space with most?

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2. How do you spend your time?

Here’s another value determinant you can count on: people make time for things that are really important to them and run out of time for things that aren’t. Even though people usually say, “I don’t have time for what really I want to do,” the truth is that they are too busy doing what is truly most important to them. And what they think they want to be doing isn’t really what’s most important. You find time for things that are really important to you. Somehow, you figure it out.

So how do you spend your time? I personally spend my days researching, problem solving, talking with people and finding creative ways to communicate key messages. Those are my four highest values. I find time for doing them . . . and I am too busy to ever find time for things which are low on my list of values. How you spend your time tells you what matters to you most. Which three actions do you truly spend your time on most?

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3. How do you spend your energy?

You have energy for the things that inspire you-the things you value most-even while you run out of energy for things that do not inspire you. That’s because things that are low among your values drain you, whereas things that are high among your values energize you. In fact, when you are doing something that you value highly, you have more energy afterward than when you started because you’re doing something that you love and are inspired by. So which three actions do you spend your energy on-and where do you get your energy?

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4. How do you spend your money?

Again, you find money for things that are valuable to you, but you don’t want to part with your money for things that are not important to you. So your choices about spending money tell you a great deal about what you value most. Now at this point, you might be noticing some overlap: some similarities between what you fill your space with and how you spend your time, energy, and money. That is a great sign. It means that you have already aligned a lot of your highest values, goals, and daily activities. If you notice a lot of divergence between the answers to these first four questions, you might be writing answers that are not exactly true. Perhaps you are writing what you wish or hope your answer would be, or what you think it should be according to some external authority or social idealism. The key is to identify where or how you truly spend your money. So, what are the three items you spend most of your money on and always find money for?

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 5. Where do you have the most order and organization?

We bring order and organization to things that are important to us and allow chaos and disorder with things that are low on our va1ues. So look at where you have the greatest order and organization in your life and you’ll have a true sense of what matters most to you, It could be your social calendar, your dietary regimen, your clothes and wardrobe, your business, your finances, your spiritual ritual, your cooking area, or your house.

Everyone has some item or area of life that is most organized. In my case, I see the most order and organization in my research and business planning materials, and in my task lists for my projects. This helps me see that my values involve researching, planning, organizing and structuring. Which three items or areas do you have most organized?

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6. Where are you most reliable, disciplined, and focused?

You don’t have to be prodded from the outside to do the things that you value the most. You are inspired from within to do those things . . . and so you do them. Look at the activities, relationships, and goals for which you are disciplined, reliable, and focused-the things that nobody has to get you up to do. For me, again, that’s researching, planning, organizing and structuring. I love those activities! Which three activities are you most reliable or disciplined at doing?

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7. What do you think about, and what is your innermost dominant thought?

I’m not talking about negative self thoughts or the things that distract you. I’m not talking about the fantasies, “shoulds,” or “oughts.” I’m talking about your most common thoughts about how you want your life-thoughts that you show slow or steady evidence of actually bringing to fruition. Which three things are you thinking about most?

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8. What do you visualize and realize?

Again, I’m not talking about fantasies. I’m asking what you visualize for your life that is slowly but surely coming true. In my case, I visualize helping people solve complex social problems all over the world and creating a safe and happy environment for everyone. That is what I visualize. And that is what I am realizing. Which three outcomes are you mostly visualizing and realizing?

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9. What is your internal dialogue?

What do you keep talking to yourself about the most? I am not asking about negative self-talk or self-aggrandizement. I want you to think of things you say to yourself about what you desire, internal dialogues that actually seem to be coming true and showing some fruits. Which three outcomes about how you would love your life to be, do you talk to yourself about most?

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10. What do you talk about in social settings?

Okay, now here’s a clue that you’ll probably notice for other people as well as yourself. What are the topics that you keep wanting to bring into the conversation that nobody has to remind you to talk about? What subjects turn you into an instant extrovert? You’ve probably noticed that there are topics that immediately bring you to life and start you talking . . . and others that turn you into an introvert who has nothing to say or who wants to change the subject. You can use this same insight to analyze other people’s values. If you go up to somebody and they ask you about your kids, that means that either their kids or your kids are important to them. If they say, “How’s business?” they value business. If they ask, ‘Are you seeing anyone new?” then relationships matter to them. Topics that attract you are a key to what you value. Which three topics do you keep wanting to talk to others about most?

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11. What inspires you?

What inspires you now? What has inspired you in the past? Who inspires you? What is common to the people who inspire you? Figuring out what inspires you most reveals what you value most. Which three people, actions, or outcomes inspire you most, and what is common to them?

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12. What are the most consistent long-term goals that you have set?

What are the three long-term goals that you have focused on that you are bringing into reality? Again, I’m not talking about the fantasies that nothing is happening with. I want the dreams you are bringing into reality slowly but surely, the dreams that have been dominating your mind and your thoughts for a while-the dreams that you are bringing into daily life, step by step by step. So which are the three most important goals that you keep focusing on that are gradually coming true and appear in your reality?

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13. What do you love to learn about most?

What topics of study inspire you the most? When you enter a bookstore, which section do you make a beeline for? Which magazines and newspapers do you subscribe to, and which sections do you turn to first? Are there nonfiction TV shows or film documentaries that you seek out? Are there topics that you find yourself thinking about or asking questions about? The three answers to these questions will help reveal your highest values.

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Step 2: Identify the answers that repeat most often

Once you’ve given three answers for each of the thirteen questions, you’ll see that among your thirty nine answers there is a certain amount of repetition-perhaps even a lot of repetition. You may be expressing the same kinds of values in different ways-for example, “spending time with people I like,” “having a drink with my coworkers,” “going out to eat with my friends”-but if you look closely, you can see some patterns begin to emerge.

So look at the answer that is most often repeated and write beside it the number of how often it repeats. Then find the second most frequent answer, then the third, and so on, until you have ranked every single answer. This gives you a good primary indicator of what your highest values are. You can even start making decisions based on this initial hierarchy of values-and you can see how your life is already demonstrating your natural commitment to these highest values.

Step 3: Summarize and Prioritize Your Values

Based on how often your answers appear and repeat, create a list of your five most important values in priority order, with the most important value first and the least important value last:

This list gives you a good indicator of what your hierarchy of values is, a structure that you can start building your life around and making decisions from. The hierarchy of values on this list helps you see which values your life demonstrates to be most important.

Step 4: Double-Check Your Hierarchy of Values

To ensure that you have accurately determined your hierarchy of values, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When I have a choice between the first and second of the values on the list, which do I most often choose? Which one does my life most commonly demonstrate as most important?
  • When I have a choice between the second and third of the values on the list, which do I most often choose? Which one does my life most commonly demonstrate as most important?
  • When I have a choice between the third and fourth of the values on the list, which do I most often choose? Which one does my life most commonly demonstrate as most important?

Continue questioning in this way until you have examined every one of the values on your list. Then proceed to Step 5.

Step 5: lf Necessary, Revise Your List

Write your final hierarchy of values in the space below:

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Welcome to your most important values! These highest values determine your daily perceptions, decisions, and actions. They are leading you to your current destiny and determining the evolution of your life’s journey.

Step 6: Continue to Re-evaluate Your Values

Because your highest values keep evolving, I suggest that you re-evaluate your hierarchy of values every six months. Follow the five previous steps every six months and keep records of the evolution of your highest values along your life’s journey.

LIVING YOUR HIGHEST VALUES

Now that you have a sense of your highest values, you have the opportunity and power to reshape your life to ensure that your goals, your actions, your relationships, your career, and your highest values align.

Notice how the people that you find it easiest to be with often share these same values, and how the people you just don’t seem to get along with have very different values that you.

It is important for the smooth running and overall success of your business, that you have shared values with your business partners, senior managers, staff, suppliers and customers.

I highly recommend that you clearly articulate your values to all staff, suppliers and customers to create and maintain an excellent working relationship with you and your organization. This provides the best possible outcomes and highest chance for your business to succeed.

CREDITS

This exercise was taken from a book called “The Values Factor” by Dr John DeMartini which can be purchased at www.amazon.com/Values-Factor-Creating-Inspired-Fulfilling/dp/0425264742

Based on his landmark research and teachings, Dr. John Demartini has discovered the key to fulfilment in all aspects of life.

What is the most important step you can take to achieve the life you’ve always dreamed of? You might think the answer is something like, start saving money, get a better job, find my soul mate, or improve my marriage. Solutions like these might offer temporary satisfaction, but none of them can provide true, lasting fulfilment or help you achieve your unique purpose in life.

The Values Factor shows you how to create a life in which every minute can be inspiring and fulfilling. The first step is to identify what you find most meaningful—the values in life that are most important to you. Once you understand your own unique values and align your life accordingly, you can achieve fulfilment in every aspect of your life: deepening your loving relationships, creating an inspiring career, establishing financial freedom, and tapping into a rich spiritual life.

Dr. Demartini’s provocative thirteen-part questionnaire will reveal to you what you value most. The answers may surprise you! Then, each chapter of this book explains how to align every aspect of your life with your true values, so that you can finally achieve the success that you were capable of all along.

Download the worksheet pdf

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