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These are tough topics to come to grips with, especially if you aren’t into introspection. It is however, necessary to explore these and try to identify the values you want to live by which are the foundational blocks that undergird your purpose and  your why.

Values are the principles that give our lives meaning. They allow us to make choices when faced with a dilemma- should I do A or B. They help us decide how to handle adversity, determine how we deal with people when we make a commitment and then something comes up that perhaps we would rather do. We have probably never really directly thought about our values because we learned them from our parents and from our experiences growing up. But, it is important to identify your core values.

There are many lists available that invite you to select your values. You can also observe how you are spending your time and see what they are. If you go to the gym or out running 3 or more times per week, then one of your core values is health and fitness. If you are into financial security as a core value then you are very careful how you use and save your money.

One way to figure out what your values are is to consider who you admire and consider your heroes. Ask yourself what do they believe in that made you chose them. Another way to start your list is to think about your past week, month or year and think about what was important to you. These two activities should give you a starter list. You can add or delete from this list over time as become more mindful of what you are doing and think about why you are doing it.

Here are my current core values:

     1. Keep my word

     2. Help others.

     3. Family

     4. Charity

     5.  Respect

     6. Balance

     7. Resiliencehave

     8. Creativity

     Prepare your value list. Once you have your initial list. Let’s move on to a slightly more difficult task- determining what your Purpose Statement will be. A personal Purpose Statement defines who you are. It reflects your values and your passions. It clarifies for you and the world where you are going and how you are living.

My purpose Statement is to be the best writer, father, financial advisor and creative person I can be while helping others find and achieve the greatness within themselves while respecting the opinions of others.

So this purpose statement tells you where I am going, how I will treat others and embodies my core values. Now that I have my purpose statement I can define my goals more, determine the monthly, quarterly and annual projects I want to undertake to help implement these goals in the coming year consistent with this purpose. It also becomes a touchstone for decision making throughout the year. It helps me answer questions about accepting other responsibilities- I don’t just automatically say yes or no, I now think about whether this new responsibility is consistent with my purpose, values and goals. This makes my answer much more thoughtful and reasoned.

Here are some steps to help you develop your purpose statement:

     1. Brainstorm ideas for your direction: just write anything that comes to mind and you can test it later against your core values.

     2. Compose your first drafty asking yourself -Who am I? What do I want to do? How do I want people to remember my life?

     3. Begin editing your draft and make sure you chose words that are action- oriented and positive.

     4. Put it away for a few days or a week.

     5. Come back and read it out load to yourself and see if it still resonates or does it require some changing.

     And there you have it: Core Values and a Purpose statement. Print it out in bold capital letters and post it near your work area so you can always see it.

     Next we will talk about goals and dreams and then work on those things we will measure to see how productive we are.