Leading a values-driven life

Core beliefs are not likely to change over time. Photo: Anon.

WASHINGTON, August 1, 2013 – Here is a challenge: Can you answer the following questions? 

  • What is the key to having a higher success rate for accomplishing your personal and professional goals?
  • What drives the decisions you make?
  • What does not change in life except for their priority?
  • What impacts whether something resonates for you or causes a feeling of dissonance in your life? 

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The answer to all these questions: your values.

Why are values important? 

Values help define who we are. They point us in the direction that, if we choose to follow, can lead us to discover our life purpose, accomplish our goals, and find what we are passionate about. 

Here are some definitions of values: 

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Our values are who we are at our core. They don’t change over time. They do change in priority, depending on what is going on in our lives. For example, freedom is one of my top values today, whereas, ten years ago it was lower on my list. Freedom has always been a value of mine but has changed in priority over time, because of situations. 

Personally, I make it a point to review my values quarterly. It helps me with clarity and makes it easier to navigate through each day. 

Once you have clearly identified your values, write your personal mission statement. It serves as a great guide that will point you towards what you desire in your life. 

Sitting down with your partner or spouse and comparing your values is a good exercise. You can see what you share and where your values differ. Sometimes you can have the same value but it can have a different meaning for each of you, so it’s recommend that you dig deeper than merely identifying the given value. 

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For example, for me the value of freedom means independence, financial independence, and doing things on my own. For someone else the value of freedom can mean patriotism, the flag, or our military. Check in with each other. It is a fun way to connect. 

Our values are our principles or standards of behavior. They are our judgment of what is important in life. They are principles that you hold to be worthy. Our values represent who we are right now. They are not chosen. Our values are intrinsic. 

Here is a word of caution. Often we internalize our parents’ rules and values. Therefore, it is important to be able to distinguish between our parents’ values and our own. 

So who are you? 

What makes you tick? What are you passionate about?  Spending quality time to get a better grasp of your values, interest, personal style, and skills will allow you to better assess your personal and career wants and needs. Ultimately, the assessment process will allow you to make better-informed decisions and judgments on situations in your life, be they big or small. Our choices and decisions are made easier when they are in relation to our purpose, values, and what is important to us. 

Currently seeking employment? 

Here is a tip if you are currently seeking a job. 

Understanding your values will be helpful. Make sure during the interview process to listen for the values of the interviewer. In order to be truly happy in the workplace, the organization’s values must be aligned with and support your personal values. Otherwise, the variance will create a feeling of dissonance in you. 

For example, if you are working with someone who is not honest, and one of your core values is honesty or integrity, it will create a feeling of dissonance for you that you will actually feel in your body. The reason is that person who is not honest is stepping on your values; or, put another way, violating what you believe in. 

When you know your values you can use them at any time to help you make decisions, determine what your priorities are, and guide you to the best direction for you and your goals.

For a Complimentary Values Worksheet and Values List, or to get more information contact Susan:



twitter: @SelfTalkCoach

Susan is a Certified Business, Life & Leadership coach working with individuals, any size business and the government. Her focus is life/career transition, business/leadership, and confidence/resilience strategies and techniques. Susan’s passion is helping people reach their personal and professional goals. She wants you to wake up excited and go to sleep fulfilled.


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Susan Samakow

Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, is a Certified Business, Life and Leadership Coach. Susan focuses on life and career transition, business and leadership, and confidence and resilience strategies. Susan is also a speaker and facilitator, as well as a Community Content Producer for WUSA 9 TV. She is the former president of the ICF Metro DC Chapter, the largest in North America. Susan’s clients are individuals, any size business and the government. Visit Susan’s website: www.selftalkcoach.com. Susan is on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.


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