“Words have set whole nations in motion and upheaved the dry, hard ground on which rests our social fabric. Give me the right word and the right accent, and I will move the world.” – Joseph Conrad
I’m convinced words are more powerful than…
- An entire group of people didn’t have the same rights to vote, buy a house, or even drink out of a drinking fountain just because of their skin color. Words changed that.
- Words inspired an entire nation of German people to commit unimaginable atrocities.
- Words can be used for incredible good and unthinkable evil. Words shape and guide our lives. The words we tell ourselves can inspire us to achieve, or convince us we’re worthless.
- Whoever claimed that sticks and stones will break their bones, but words won’t hurt them was living in a fantasy world.
So, what are the words you live by? Have you ever given consideration to the words that guide your life? Said another way — what are your values?
Our Core Values Are Like An Oil Filter
Here’s a thought, our true core values are like putting oil and a good filter into our car engine, they make our lives run smoothly. But if we don’t put the oil in, the engine seizes. The car is toast, and the only place it’ll be going is the impound lot. If you put the wrong oil in, your car can’t perform like it should.
Words have tremendous importance in our lives. Like the oil in an engine, every part that makes that engine go will be touched by that oil. It is the same in our lives. Every part of our lives is touched by our values, they become part of our identity, we live by. In doing this exercise, you are purposefully choosing which words you are living by.
I say purposefully because sometimes words stick to our hearts that are not true about us. Let me say that again, sometimes words stick to our hearts that are not true about us. So like an engine oil filter, we need to constantly be cleaning out the words that don’t define us and replacing them with the ones we are purposefully choosing.
This is often painful. Often times, my clients recall words from childhood. Those are where some of our deepest wounds can come from. but the reward for this painful work? clarity. Understanding your values is worth the time and energy you will put into this.
What Words Do You Want Sticking To Your Heart?
So what words do you want to stick to your heart and become part of your true identity? The truth is, for life change to start, you need your values to stick to your heart. From there, they radiate out into everything you do.
The Oxford English Dictionary has 171,476 words. That’s a lot of words. That’s a pretty ridiculous list to try and shrink down to 5-7 values. But that is our mission here.
Why personal values? Once your values are set, you now have an oil filter. They provide a way to clean out the junk to prevent damage to your life.
Get Rid Of The Junk
- Junk can be:
- The friendships that don’t fit your values.
- The things people ask you to do at work.
- That new person in your life that keeps rubbing you the wrong way.
- What a parent or sibling said to you 30 years ago
That’s your values filtering out what isn’t good for you. And once you commit to these values, you can use them to measure everything — it becomes an effortless way to measure what to pursue, and what to pass on. In a practical sense, values save you time and effort.
Values Are Often Intuitive
Values are often intuitive. Have you ever had that feeling where you get excited about something, there’s this intuitive push within you to try it or go for it? That’s because it fits you, your values what inspires you and intrigues you to move.
Have you ever felt that twinge in your gut/intuition that is telling you to resist, to not do something? That again is your values, but in this case, someone or something bad is trying to get through your filter.
Do you want to discover your Personal Values? You can with this 7-Step process.
PS: The great thing about having an actual physical values list is it gives you a basis for why your resisting doing something or why you are embracing doing something. Your values give you ground to stand on.
A ruler of sorts, to measure everything against. In your personal life, relationships, work, etc. This isn’t an easy task but the value of this type of life filter is immeasurable.
You’re putting that all important filter into your engine. This 7-Step process for determining your values works and it’s part of the SAGE Program that helps you thrive in life and leadership.