When I worked at corporate America, I had two very different job experiences within the same company. My first position there was an entry-level job in the finance department. It was fast-paced and competitive. Besides being a top performer, you had to be great at networking with the right people to get ahead in this place. I found out the hard way after focusing too much on high performance and not networking the way I should have from the very start.
However, I had great employee benefits and perks, a secure paycheck that came in every two weeks, and I was surrounded by very talented people, some of them became close friends that are dear to me to this date.
In my hometown Guadalajara we say that working at Hewlett-Packard is like working at Disneyland. You almost forget that there´s a harsh world out there because you live in this perfect bubble. There are very few workplaces and opportunities that are as great as this in our country.
After 2 years of joining HP, I was able to find a different position within the IT department and my experience only got better. My income improved, it was less competitive, my colleagues were even more gifted and friendlier, and my responsibilities were way easier and less consuming of my time and energy. I could work from home, and since I had a lot of free time I could devote more time working on my project of building a full-time life coach career. All while still enjoying a privileged stable job, a secure and generous paycheck, perks, and benefits. It was more than I could ever ask for. To date, I am very grateful that I was so blessed during those years.
It would puzzle my friends that I could even dream about leaving this secure perfect bubble to pursue some wacky dream of mine of helping other people and starting my own business as a life coach and experiencing uncertainty and a big chance of failure that came with such an endeavor.
One of my best friends would tell me how it was too risky, and how he knew about other friends who have tried to start a business on their own and it didn´t work out. I know for a fact that he meant well, he is very successful in the company to date and I am certain that he would have loved to see me become just as successful still as an employee at HP. We could talk about our challenges and growth over lunch, and go for a walk to our special place "the woods" we had on site. It is after all an amazing and privileged place to work at.
This dream job had also been the blessing I prayed for when I asked God for a second chance after my Dark Night of the Soul experience. I almost felt guilty sometimes for wanting something else after I was given this golden ticket. And I must admit he was not completely mistaken. It has been very challenging to leave the comforts and certainty of the perfect bubble and to have experienced the difficulties and obstacles of the real world.
I went bankrupt within a year, trying to market my services, partnering with other experts, and "investing" the generous package that HP gave me when I was laid off with benefits (I did merits to start my business in this way) I was in bad debt after I used loans to try to advance my career as an independent professional when I found myself unable to pay them back.
Living in congruence with your core values
Financial security is nice and a precious value for most people- It is regarded as one of the most important things people look for to decide the careers that they will pursue. I realized that this life did not feel fulfilling to me, it just didn´t give me the passion, power, meaning, and significance that I felt I needed. I felt I had more potential and value to add, and in a way felt limited.
The life I was living, was a good life, but instead, I was interested in living my best life. I wanted to be inspired instead of just motivated. I wanted to be driven from within and feel a passion for my work and my life and this is what I mean when I say "Living a Fulfilling Life Through Embracing Your Core Values"
But don´t worry, I am not suggesting that you should quit your job and embrace uncertainty. It´s just that being loyal to and honoring my personal core values requires that I do exactly that.
I am interested in the kind of success that lasts, the kind of success that gives me peace, and if that is what you are after as well then Living a Fulfilling Life Through Embracing Your Own Core Values is for you.
My second position at HP allowed me to experience a sense of having more freedom. It was way before the pandemic and working from home was not as common as it is today. My new manager would rarely contact me or ask me to report my progress, for the first time I was not micro-managed and it felt so good to be trusted to use my time and resources wisely to fulfill my responsibilities. Most of the time, I would finish my work within a few hours and I could use the remaining hours of my shift to work on my projects. I didn´t know I valued this so much until I had the chance to experience it.
And yet, I wanted more. If I could have the freedom to take vacations without having to wait for a full year as it is mandatory when you have a 9 to 5 job in Mexico, that would be incredible. I could take as many days off as I wanted, and not have to settle with the few days that a safe job restricts people to be able to enjoy. If I could choose my responsibilities, how much money I made, my location, what kind of impact I could make, and who I could serve, then I would truly be living the life of my dreams. That was the promise that a career as a life coach would bring to me, and those rewards were so worth pursuing to me.
Today, I can meet with a friend in the middle of the week. I can go out to do my groceries on any given day and time when everyone else is working. I can sleep in if I choose to. I could work from anywhere in the world where I have a steady internet connection. I decide what my workload looks like, and even though I find myself "working" sometimes more hours than people who have steady jobs, it doesn´t feel like work at all. I am my own boss, I set my own mission, vision, metrics, and values to align to and I get to make my decisions and act on the actions that I consider matter the most.
Being able to do what I want to, without being controlled or limited is one of the most precious things for me. I am a free thinker and a free spirit.
I have a good friend who asked me a few months ago if I missed my life at HP, and if I would ever go back to the corporate world. I said: —No, I don´t. I hope I never have to go back. Like with any business, there are good days, and there are bad days but I would choose freedom over security or certainty again and again. I am willing to pay the price. That is the kind of conviction that knowing your core values gives you.
Freedom is perhaps the most important value to me. Because it enables two other very important values of mine: Changing the World and Positive Impact.
Changing the World and Making a Positive Impact
"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes ... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. ... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things. ... They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."
When I experienced my Dark Night of the Soul I made a promise that I would get myself out of that hole. I had a negative experience going to therapy and decided that it wasn´t for me. It would be arrogant of me to say that I did it alone because books, journaling, and introspection were responsible for my success in finding myself again.
During this two-year process, others were noticing that I was changing. I was no longer interested in going out as much as I used to, and I started losing friends who didn´t understand what was happening to me. It was painful, to see more people whom I thought cared about me leave the moment I decided to improve my life but I had crossed the no-return point and that was not going to stop me.
When I completed this process I felt like I was re-born. What I experienced is what some call: having an awakening. My sense of self-worth was restored, and I felt ecstatic. I had this revelation: What if I could help others experience a transformation like mine? What if I could teach others the principles and steps that helped me to get out of the pothole I was in, from feeling suicidal and hopeless to experiencing joy and finding purpose, and inspire them to do the same? It would give meaning to everything I went through, my story would have meaning, and could actually touch and impact others.
This is when I heard my true calling from within, I would pursue a certification as a professional life coach and learn the skills that would be needed to be able to lead and serve others in their own journeys.
I knew that the first thing I had to improve was my communication skills. So I joined the Toastmasters club that we had in-house at HP. I was so determined that this was what I was going to do, that within a month I was already competing as a speaker.
Since I was training to be a coach and was moving so fast in improving my communication skills, the President of the club named me Secretary of Education, which is the role of the officer who mentored others in their own presentations and speeches. It was the best experience ever. I got to practice coaching early on and every day I just knew in my heart that this was what I really wanted to do. It´s the reason why I love public speaking coaching.
Later in my journey, I learned that the best way we can change the world is by being the change.
"We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
I kept on enhancing my growth and development, and I haven´t stopped since then. That enables me to be able to make a difference in the life of others. And if they too can be the best version of themselves with my support, then I truly feel I am making an impact and changing the world.
Nothing makes me feel more alive than this. When you are clear about who you are and what you care about when you have a clear and meaningful purpose, and when you know where you are going and why you are going there, you have positioned yourself to live an impassioned life.
In a famous conference called Acres of Diamonds, Russell Conwell said: You ought to be rich, you have no right to be poor. To live and not be rich is a misfortune and it is a double misfortune because you could have been rich just as well as you could have been poor.
I´ve always been inspired by nature, its beauty, it´s magnificence are absolutely stunning. Nature is the manifestation of the mysteries and secrets of life. It is the source of inspiration for artists, seekers of the truth, and even speakers. To me, it is also a reminder that there are enough resources and abundance for all of us.
I grew up in California, and although I was not born into a wealthy family, the abundance mindset is found everywhere you go there. When my family decided to move back to Mexico, we arrived at the worst time in 1994 in the middle of an economic crisis in the country.
During those first years back in Mexico, I and my family experienced lack and limitations. It was a true shock for me to experience such a contrasting life, many other families I knew were in even worst circumstances.
Things got better with time, but when things were back to "normal" in the country, I couldn´t help noticing that people, in general, had a lack and limitation mentality. As I grew older, I would be judged for wanting more and would be perceived as pretentious and ambitious.
I never understood, what was wrong with wanting a better quality of life and not conforming to the status quo. When I chose the university I would attend, I prioritized quality even when it came with an expensive price tag. Even my parents thought I was crazy and unrealistic. But it didn´t stop me from getting my degree there.
I guess it was normal for me due to my upbringing in a country of abundance and that mindset never left me. That was another reason why I chose not to be an employee anymore. Why be limited to a salary if today´s modern world allows us to add massive value to the world and be compensated for it in abundance?
Yes, in my pursuit of abundance, I have experienced lack and limitation, but it´s the price you pay. I prefer that over one day being dismissed by a company that no longer values me and then being truly doomed. It happened to me before. And it´s the faith of all employees.
Instead, I am building a career where I can add value for as long as I am living, I can have control over my future and when I reach the age when most companies no longer hire me, I won´t have to worry about finding a job.
Coaches coach until their very last days on Earth, not because they have to, but because they choose to. They make a living on their own terms and leave a legacy. Sounds good to me!
A life of meaningful experiences is a life well lived.
How sad it must be for some people to reach the end of their days and not feel a sense of fulfillment.
To wonder what their life was for and have regrets of not having made more of a contribution must be a "hell" of the worst kind.
If you know what your values are and what your purpose is, you´ll find value and meaning everywhere.
“If a thing is useful they call it work, if useless they call it play. One is as hard as the other. One can be just as much a game as the other. In both there is rivalry. There’s a struggle to excel the rest. All the difference I see lies in attitude of mind.”
― Claude C. Hopkins, My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising
As we grow older we tend to take ourselves too seriously with our important titles, jobs, and responsibilities, but it doesn´t have to be this way.
I truly admire the philosophy of sir Richard Branson "Work hard, play hard" he believes that if you find a career you are passionate about, working hard doesn’t have to ever become a chore.
I am one of those weirdos that speak to myself, out loud. I tell myself jokes when nobody is watching and I am always having a fun time. With my clients, and during sessions, I challenge them, but I make sure I also play, tease them, and I make them laugh.
I embrace my inner child, and that means I have to get a lot of laughter every day. It makes work more fun and days more enjoyable. I refuse to grow up and be a dull and boring adult.
It´s another way to face difficulties and challenges. If you can find humor in a difficult situation, you win. So they say. And it´s worked for me.
The whole reason for getting clear on our values and our purpose is to live a life that has meaning- a life we experience as fun, joyful, and exciting.
Now that you know what my 5 core values are, it´s your turn to uncover yours so that you too can Live a Fulfilling Life Through Embracing Your Core Values.
Uncovering your Core Values
Most of us operate in our daily lives based on our to-do lists or things that need to get done. But deeper, we have a set of core values that drive what we do.
What are core values?
Core values are an individual or organization’s fundamental beliefs and highest priorities that drive their behavior.
You can think of core values as an internal compass of principles that drive a person’s or organization’s decisions.
It’s wonderful to identify the core values driving you and try to unlock the core values driving the important people in your life.
Defining your personal values can help shape who you are and what you do. When faced with certain decisions, you can refer back to core values to ensure that you act according to what truly matters to you.
From the outside, people often perceive core values as your character or morality. These beliefs dig down to the very root of our identity and steer us in the direction that feels aligned with who we truly are.
If you feel stuck trying to figure out what is best for you, honing in on your core values could help you:
Feel more confident in your decisions
Listen to your intuition or “gut feeling.”
Have more conviction in your daily life
Define your version of success
Make choices that match your overall vision
Your values are ultimately what drive your identity and your decisions. Use this master list of personal values and a step-by-step guide to recalibrate your compass.
What is An Example of A Core Value?
Integrity, kindness, honesty, and financial security are typical examples of personal core values. Others often see these values as your character traits. For example, someone who is known for always doing the right thing likely values integrity.
Suppose you have a core value of freedom. In that case, you might avoid traditional work and instead work as an entrepreneur–even if this means working longer hours and having more financial uncertainty.
Another common example relates to money. Pretend like your close friend has a fancy car. When you ride in the car with them, you think, “Wow, someday I am going to buy myself one of these.” But when you get home, remember that you genuinely value financial security for your family more than flashy material items. Even if you had the money to buy that car, you wouldn’t do it because it doesn’t align with your deeper principles about life.
Master List of Personal Values
As proven, personal values affect nearly every decision you make: from your relationships to your profession to the things you buy. While your childhood may have engrained some values in you, your thoughts and actions can also consciously form others. Scientists have found that unconscious beliefs impact our actions.
Use this master list of personal values to narrow down what matters most to you. We’ve included fundamental values, personal values in relationships, values in work, and values for life as a whole.
Basic List of Beliefs and Values
Biologists have found that the capacity for morality separates humans from animals. Animals cannot differentiate between right and wrong, but humans have the power to use their core values to make moral judgments. To do so, each individual must decide what they value most in life. Here are the most fundamental ethics that people identify with:
Personal Values in Relationships
Relationships are scientifically proven to improve our happiness, health, and longevity. However, a happy relationship must be founded on similar values for two people to thrive together. Use these values to define what is most important to you in a friend or significant other.
Traditional Gender Roles
Personal Values in Work
Certain principles guide the type of work you pursue, whether you’re an entrepreneur, employee, or freelancer. Defining your company’s core values can shape your core mission behind selling products or services. They define why and how they conduct business. On a personal level, these values help you determine the broader vision of your career and your daily performance in the workplace.
Dedication to the Excellence
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Hard Work Ethic
Service to Others
Trial and Error
Learning From Mistakes
Personal Values for Life
Whether you’re setting financial goals or taking a big step in your family life, knowing your values will ensure that each decision fits your overall mission. These values are specific to your personal life:
This Too Shall Pass
Health and Fitness
Chasing Your Dreams
Change the World
Pride in Your Work
Trust Your Gut
Peace of Mind
Going with the Flow
Personal Values Examples
Many values may be engrained in you from your upbringing, while others may have established on your own. Values become especially evident when you meet someone raised entirely differently from you.
For example, someone raised to value family traditions may always eat dinner around the table. On the other hand, a family who values sports and entertainment may spend their evenings and holidays eating dinner on the couch.
Similarly, a person raised to value charity may donate their extra money to a charitable cause. In contrast, someone who values frugality and financial independence may think putting their extra money in a savings account is best.
Someone who values beauty will spend their money on clothing or makeup, while someone who values health will budget more for fresh food and supplements. You get the idea.
To understand someone’s core values, you can also look at how they make big life decisions. For example, a person who values freedom and adventure probably spends much of their time and money on travel. Maybe they decide not to have children or buy a house because they prefer to live as a digital nomad traveling the world.
However, someone who deeply values stability, security, and routine will craft their life differently. They may want to settle down, get married, and raise children in a nice neighborhood while working a corporate job. While they may vacation, they are less likely to make radical or spontaneous travel decisions like the example above.
This all comes down to what people want most out of life. None of these examples are right or wrong. Instead, they illuminate how different values play out in people’s daily decisions. Each person will follow their unique path based on their core values.
How Do I Identify My Core Values?
Making a list of your core values can help you determine who and what you want in your life. When your path becomes unclear or you face a challenging situation, you can refer back to your core values and ask, “Is this truly aligned with who I am?” Your list of core values ultimately answers the question: What do I value most in this world? To figure out your “true north,” try the CORE value exercise:
Contemplation: Go somewhere quiet such as a meditative space or a natural area where you can reflect in silence. Turn off your phone and bring a notebook so you can focus. Begin by jotting down random things that come to mind when you ask yourself, “What do I value most in life?”
Openness: On the next page, journal or reflect for a moment on the topic of authenticity. Ask yourself, “When do I feel most like myself?” Is it when you’re with certain people or doing certain things? You should also reflect on when you feel unaligned with yourself. What feelings are triggered in certain situations that make you betray or act differently to fit in? Be honest with yourself and dig into the underlying motivations behind that self-betrayal. Embracing your authentic self is a strong representation of your core values.
Respect: Think about who you admire and respect most in this world. Perhaps it’s a parent, an author, or a celebrity public figure. Write down the names of 3 people you highly respect. Then, jot down words next to their names that describe why you look up to them. For example, if you highly respect Denzel Washington, it may be because he gives back to his community and stays humble despite his fame. These are key clues that you value generosity and humility.
Excitement: Think about what most inspires you to take action. Are you motivated by the excitement of earning enough money to help your parents buy a house to retire in? Or do you feel more inspired by the idea of having your work affect the lives of as many people as possible? Expressing your inner drive can help you tap into what pushes you forward. Is it money, fame, security, impact, charity, or above?
Once you complete the exercise, grab a highlighter and circle the top 5 core values that feel most aligned with who you are. Reflect on what these values mean to you. Make a wallet card, phone wallpaper, or other reminders that you can regularly see to guide you in tough decisions.
Core Values FAQs
Why are core values important?
Core values are the guiding principles that define your identity and your choices. They help you determine which people, things, goals, and decisions align with your true self. At the deepest level, knowing your core values prevents you from betraying yourself in pursuit of temporary or futile distractions. Values give you a firm footing in your beliefs and a solid internal compass to gauge your decision-making.
Can core values be changed?
Core values are at the root of who you are, but that doesn’t mean they are entirely unchangeable. Drastic personal transformation or unsettling changes in one’s life can warrant reevaluating your established values. However, changing those values may require deep self-reflection, personal growth, and daily practice to rewire old habits.
Can core values be negative?
Some people have negative core beliefs about themselves and others. For example, they may fundamentally believe, “I am not good enough,” “the world is dangerous,” or “all men/women are bad.” They may also have negative values that make them believe lying, cheating, or stealing are OK. When these values become engrained in someone’s psyche, it can lead to all sorts of problems in their life. However, personal development and shifting your priorities in life can help you change your values to be more aligned with the best version of yourself.
Key Takeaways: Core Values are Your North Star in Life
Sometimes the broad vision of your life can be clouded by temptations or distractions. Without clear values, it can feel like navigating through a dark, stormy sea. You have no moral grounds where you can firmly root your feet as you make decisions regarding your relationships, career, and life goals.
Defining your core values is essential for guiding you through uncertain times. Deep down, you probably already know what you value, but putting it into words can help give you, even more, clarity as you move forward.
Use the CORE value exercise to find your “true north”:
Contemplation: Go somewhere quiet to reflect on what you value most in life. Take mental notes or jot down your thoughts in a notebook.
Openness: Ask yourself— When do you feel the most open to being your authentic self? What people or situations make you feel alive? Alternatively, when do you feel drained?
Respect: Think about who you admire the most and why. This can clue you into particular values you may share with people you look up to.
Excitement: Reflect on what makes you feel the most inspired. What pushes you to move forward? Is it impact, fame, fortune, charity, family, or all of the above?
At the end of the exercise, narrow down your 5 most important core values and keep them in mind as you move through life. Notice when you are in alignment with your values versus when you are betraying your core.
Ultimately, understanding what people value is the secret to mastering people skills and succeeding in business or life.
Let us know what your core values are in the comment box below!