I have worked over 9 years in the field of nursing. I have witnessed individuals on their worst days: injured, sick, in pain, and at the end of life. You learn a lot about what is really important by watching loved ones grieve. Things that you were stressing about are irrelevant when you see a mother lose her child, or a teenager in a coma. When we set core values, understand why we set them, focus on them, and understand what happens when values are not in place, we can become better people.
The purpose of this article is to make you rethink what really matters to you. Hopefully, you will focus more on the type of person you want to be, and the type of person you want your children to be. Re-evalute your definition of success by placing core values in your life.
What are values?
When you think of values, what do you think about? Do you think about material possessions? Or do you think about things that money cannot buy? If your answer is things that money cannot buy then you are on the right path to setting some core values. The definition of values is described as one’s judgement of what is important in life. Values help set principles, and standards for behavior. They tie into a set of ethics that help foster growth and emotional prosperity. Most companies that you have worked for have a value-based system in which help the guide employees, and set the behavioral expectation for them. If companies take the time out to set these values, why shouldn’t you? Having set personal values, you are able to have a clear goal in mind, and a standard set for you on acceptable behavior. The best part is that you are in control of which standards you set. You know yourself best, so why shouldn’t you be the best person to manage your behavior?
Why should I set values?
Values are extremely important for everyday life, as well as for the work place. In your everyday life, if you have a set of values in place, you will cultivate lasting relationships that are filled with trust, and understanding. This then strengthens bonds between co-workers and family members. If you have children, your values may become a standard in which your children will follow. Some examples of values include: integrity, discipline, trustworthy, independence, honesty, family, love, success, reliability, and consistency. Although most values here are perceived as positive, some values, or over indulgence of one value in particular, may be negative. For example, if you focus too much on your personal success, you may tramp over other core values such as trustworthiness and honesty.
How do I set values and keep them?
The great thing about life in general is that it is never too late to start to do what you want to do. 😉 A core value-based system can be placed at any time in your life. Some people had the benefit of growing up with parents that set examples of values that are beneficial to personal growth. If you are one of those lucky individuals, kudos to you. When approaching the subject of value setting you should think- what do you want other people to say about you at your funeral? I know this sounds kind of dark and gloomy, but this exercise puts you in the right perspective to set individual values that give your life meaning.
Once you set your values, it is also important to focus on them. For me, I wrote my values on index cards and placed them by my workstation in my office. This way, when I plan out my day, I am able to look at them, and fit time into my schedule to make sure that I actively participate in keeping my values. Daily reminders of what I value most work best in this manner. If you have had set values before and lost them to the chaotic mess of life, then this may be beneficial to you. Other ways to keep a focus on values include: daily memoirs, weekly planning with set time aside for each value, guided imagery, etc.
What happens when values are not set?
So let’s say that you read this article and was like, you know what Yaritza? That’s all fine but I’m gonna pass. Okay. When values are not clearly set, or not set at all you are pretty much capable of anything. Your behavior is not set on any solid foundation and it is reflected in the relationships you have around you. You end up hurting the ones that care about you. Some relationships will be so damaged that it will take a lot of time and effort to fix. Let’s face it. Most people look for easy fixes. When the problem shows that it will take too much time to fix, they bail. You will end up with no defined purpose, which in turn will create a state of perpetual chaos. Setting values brings balance to your life, and you will be a better person for taking the time out of your day and setting them.
If you take the time to look around you and reflect on behavior exhibited by others, you can estimate what drives individuals to behave the way they do. With the correct core values set and followed, I believe that our behavior will mirror that which is truly important. We all dream of becoming an individual whose life impacts the world, let’s start impacting those around us first. This is the beginning step in doing so.
Yaritza Ellison has been an nurse since 2010. She has been essential to the healing process of many and seeks to continue to do so. Her passion for mental health and self help literature has lead her to launch justyari.org, where she aspires to coach young ladies navigating through work-life balance.