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Have you noticed how some people just don’t behave the way you would, or the way you expect them to in a given situation? Your best friend, who you thought you knew so well, just doesn’t react the way you thought they would? Do you find yourself wondering if you really know them at all?

It all comes down to their values being different to yours. It’s not a case of right or wrong, just that we all have different values. Many people are not consciously aware of their values – but they still live their lives in accordance with their own personal values. Values are the things we believe in and which we think are important. They are the sum of our life experiences – influences from all around us – our parents, our family, our friends, our education, what we read, and so on.

We make decisions based on our values – and when we act out of alignment with our values, we feel intuitively not right – it’s our in-built navigation system letting us know – and if we ignore the feedback, we feel very uncertain.

If we want to live a rich and fulfilling life, therefore, we need to determine our personal values. There are hundreds of values, but we tend to live our lives according to between 5 and 8 key values. So how do you determine the values that are important to you?

One method is to pick from a list, narrowing down until you end up with around 6 that are the most important to you. In my mind, there is a potential flaw in this approach as, subconsciously, you might pick the values that you think you should have, rather than the ones you truly live by.

A more accurate method is to dig deep within yourself to uncover your values. Think about your actions, the life you are living, the decisions you make – what are the principles you live by that create the choices you make? Still finding it difficult? That’s ok – this doesn’t come easily to everyone. Take a look around you and identify a role model that you admire and write down all the things you admire about them. These are the things you value – the things you want to live by.

When you live by your personal set of values, your life is fulfilling and stress free. You will accomplish your goals and dreams and be able to lead and influence others.