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Discover Your Top Core Values To Get Your Life Out Of Low Gear

Susan Henderson

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Often in coaching, I assist clients to discover their top five core values and why the knowledge and appreciation of those values can give such great guidance in orienting their lives and work. Some values may have traveled with them and been apparent since childhood. And some values may have become less important while a new awareness of a value that was quietly waiting in the wings comes to the forefront later in life.

An example of a continuing value in my own life is Independence. I don’t know if being the oldest of three lively children spaced closely together had anything to do with it, but it kept my mother's head spinning as I went about my little independent ways. One day I decided I needed to go to the store, which was several blocks away with one fairly busy street to cross. About three blocks from our home, a friend of my mom’s chanced to look out her window and spotted my 3 ½ year old self jauntily strolling down the sidewalk pushing a doll carriage wearing nothing but a little skirt… and I mean nothing! Ah… sweet freedom. You could not fence me in.

And I continued to challenge and fight for my independence my whole life. Working for myself, doing what I love is an adult example of happily honoring this value. Ironically, the value that was quietly waiting for the noise to die down and has come to the forefront is the love and abiding friendship of my funny, quirky, independent Family, which extends to friends and clients.

As many of my family, friends and clients are people with multiple interests, I help them identify their top five core values so they will have a guide in choosing and prioritizing their interests. You can do it all. Just not all at the same time. Running your latest passion against your values meter can assist you in deciding whether to pursue this interest now, later or even at all.

Values are simply those things that you must have in your life to make you your best self. A good way to start the discovery process is to do a short writing exercise. Take one sheet of paper and write out what your perfect day looks like from the moment you awaken to when your head hits the pillow at night. Describe your surroundings; whom you are with; what kind of work you are doing; and so on. Just walk through your most ideal day. Don't hold back or limit yourself. This day belongs to you and no one else. Then set it aside for a bit. When you are ready to read through it, circle those things that mean the most to you. You will see a pattern or theme. You will probably come up with more than five. That's okay. As you think back over the happiest times in your life, you will gain even more clarity about what values rise to your top five.

Life is so much sweeter when everything you do is in tune with your core values.

Susan Henderson is a career and life redesign coach for creative multipreneurs seeking a sustaining and meaningful life that includes their multiple interests. For further information, visit:

You may access all issues of her twice monthly ezine, The Successful Dilettante, which contains guest interviews with people who have created satisfying lives rich in their own multiple interests and talents and willing to share their process at:


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