I attended a sales kick-off recently, and one activity in specific really changed the way I view business, relationships, and life in general.
This was different than learning about emerging technologies and sales strategies which are more typical at these events.
Instead, this was an investigation inward, into the core values that make us who we are. And I found the results to be extremely valuable.
I want to share this with you so you can benefit from it as well.
This will take about 10 minutes of your time, but I believe it has the power to guide your business, the activities you’re involved in, and also put you on a path of gaining more fulfillment in your life.
It’s really quite simple, but telling.
The results are black and white, and even if you think you already know what your core values are, I encourage you to try it as you might surprise yourself. This is also the perfect exercise to give you direction if you’re just starting your side hustle journey.
You’ll need a couple of things to get started…
1 x pen (or pencil – whichever you prefer).
42 x pieces of scrap paper (large enough to write 3 words on each).
Write out the following core values, one on each piece of paper. I’ve included a brief description but don’t worry about writing these out. You can refer to this post as you go along if you need some guidance.
1. INFLUENCE PEOPLE (To be in a position to change the attitudes or opinions of other people).
2. JUSTICE (To promote fair and equal treatment for all).
3. AUTHORITY (To be in charge of and responsible for others).
4. CONTRIBUTION / UTILIZATION (To make use of my skills and talents and make a lasting contribution).
5. WORK ALONE (To do projects by myself with little contact from others).
6. SECURITY (To have regular and secure employment/lifestyle).
7. PRESTIGE (To be admired).
8. STABILITY (To have a work routine and job duties that are predictable and not likely to change).
9. WORK UNDER PRESSURE (To work in situations that are deadline driven and/or the quality of my work is held to high standards).
10. PRECISION WORK (To work in situations where there is very little tolerance for error).
11. GROWTH / KNOWLEDGE (To keep changing and growing, and contribute valuable knowledge).
12. ADVENTURE / EXCITEMENT (To have new and exciting experiences and have a life full of thrills and stimulation).
13. FAMILY / FRIENDS (To have a happy, loving family and close supportive friends).
14. SPIRITUAL FULFILLMENT (To contribute to or live by a set of important moral standards).
15. INDEPENDENCE (To be free from dependence on others).
16. GENEROSITY / HELPFULNESS (To give and be helpful to others).
17. COMPETITION (To engage in activities against others).
18. AUTHENTICITY (To act in a manner that is true to who I am).
19. ACHIEVEMENT (To have important accomplishments).
20. LEISURE (To take time to relax).
21. LOYALTY / DUTY (To carry out my duties and obligations and be loyal and true in relationships).
22. FLEXIBILITY / FREEDOM (To adjust to new circumstances easily and have flexible responsibilities which I can work to at my own schedule).
23. CHANGE (To have a life full of change and variety).
24. INTEGRITY (To be regarded as an honest and forthright person who consistently does the “right” thing).
25. SELF-KNOWLEDGE (To have a deep and honest understanding of myself).
26. MASTERY (To be competent in my everyday activities).
27. PUBLIC CONTACT (To have a lot of day-to-day contact with people from a variety of backgrounds).
28. SELF-CONTROL (To be disciplined in my own actions).
29. DEPENDABILITY (To be reliable and trustworthy).
30. CREATIVITY (To have new and original ideas).
31. CHALLENGE (To take on difficult tasks and problems).
32. COMPENSATION (To be well paid in comparison and have a high standard of living).
33. AUTONOMY (To be self-determined and independent).
34. AESTHETICS (To be around a pleasing environment and make things more beautiful).
35. FUN (To play and have fun).
36. COMPASSION (To feel and act on concern for others).
37. DECISION-MAKING (To have the power to decide the courses of action, policies, etc.).
38. HEALTH (To be physically well and healthy).
39. COOPERATION (To work collaboratively with others).
40. RECOGNITION (To be visibly recognized for the quality or results of my work).
41. TEAMWORK (To have close working relationships with others).
42. COMMITMENT (To make enduring, meaningful commitments).
Take all of the pieces of paper and go through each one individually and thoroughly. Use the added descriptions listed above to help you separate the core values into three piles.
Those which are:
- NOT AT ALL IMPORTANT TO YOU
- SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT TO YOU
- VERY IMPORTANT TO YOU
Now that you’re done creating your three piles, get rid of one and two entirely. You won’t be needing those.
Here’s where it gets a little tough.
Take the “Very Important To You” values, and narrow it down to your TOP FOUR.
You’re done – these are your core values.
Mine look like this:
What Surprised Me About My Core Values:
Friends / Family didn’t make the final cut!
Compensation didn’t either!
My desire for Flexibility and Freedom made my final four with barely any thought.
I fully expected money to be one of my main drivers. After all, I’ve been side hustling for over a decade and have planned out several other business ideas in the process. It has to be for the money, right?
What I learned while doing this activity is that it’s actually my desire for freedom and flexibility that drives me. The compensation element, what I believed to be a strong core value of mine, is actually just the vehicle to achieving what is actually important in my world.
How To Use The Results To Master Your Business…And Your Life:
For starters, post your core values near your workspace, where you can’t miss them. I’ve done this myself, and in doing so, I’ve made a lot of connections between the way I operate, and why.
Learning your “Why?” is a whole new level of self-realization.
Take a close look at your business goals, your relationships, and the activities in your life, and ask yourself if they are satisfying your core values.
You’ll probably find that the ones that do, you also find the most fulfilling.
If one or more of your “priorities” don’t completely line up with your values, you don’t have to remove them from your life entirely.
Sometimes you can’t, and that’s life.
But what you can do is understand your reasons for prioritizing the way you do, which after this exercise, could be much different than you had thought.
For my fellow side hustlers, is your business aligned with your values? Are you satisfying your inner most needs at a core level? I truly believe this is the only way to achieve fulfillment, success, and mastery in your work.
Share your FOUR core values in the comments below – I’d like to know if you were surprised by your results and found this exercise useful, or whether or not your results were exactly as you expected.