Perspectives 17 – Making Choices from Our Center: Using Core Values to Find Clarity

Issue 17: July, 2019

In This Issue

• Making Choices from Our Center: Using Core Values to Find Clarity

• Upcoming Couples Workshop, Labor Day weekend, with Thai massage therapist Rissa Wray

• Fall workshops at PCC

• Interested in a Coaching Group this Fall?

Know somebody who would benefit from reading this eNewsletter? Please forward it to them using the link at the bottom. Thanks!

. . . . .

Making Choices from Our Center: Using Core Values to Find Clarity

Many of the people I coach with come to me wanting a clear way to make “good” choices – choices they won’t regret, choices that will bring them joy and fulfillment.

We all want to know we are doing the “right” thing, making the best choice we can. The dominant culture usually tells us to do thorough assessments, and have a vision and a “plan”, or, it tells us what we need is to be clear about our “life purpose” and then these decisions will… just make themselves? And that even sort of works, when we have that upfront clarity; then choosing is relatively easy, and we are likely to find a good path, as long as we are right about our purpose. But often, we don’t have that clarity. So, then what?

For me, making good decisions starts with core values. If we are reaching for a fulfilling life, we are reaching for a life lived in ways that are deeply resonate with our core values—that is, with the qualities of being that are most important to us. Once we are clear about our core values (much easier for many of us than being clear about our “life purpose”), our markers for knowing whether we are on the best path can be found by asking “in what ways will doing x or y support me in living more deeply into my core values?”

If you’ve worked with me, you likely have a list core values and have spent some time exploring them. If you need to identify your core values, here is a link to a way to make your list.

Once you have that list, here is one structured way to use those values in making decisions.

Evaluating Options Using Core Values

  1. List all of your core values vertically on the left side of a sheet of paper (or two). (Again, here is a link to an exercise for identifying your Core Values.
  2. Make two (or more) other columns on the rest of the page – one for continuing to do what you are doing (or some other default choice) and one (or more) for either “not that” or some other, more specific option. (The latter is “better,” in the sense that it will create clearer results, but only if you have a vision of what that option or options would be.)
  3. In each column, rate on a scale of 1-10 how fulfilling this choice will be for you in terms of living in/expressing authentically each core value, with 1 being “not at all” and 10 being “completely.” You are rating each value independently on that scale, not rating them relative to each other. (So “security” or “discovery” might be a 9 in one column and a 3 in another.)
  4. Once you’ve filled it all in, step back and see what it shows you.

The assumption here is not that you can just “do the math”—totaling up each column and just choosing the one with the highest total—but instead that this work will help clarify which of your core values you think will be deeply supported by each choice, and which will either be actively compromised, or will need to be supported in other ways to thrive in that environment. This should help you understand the complexities, and think in more specifics about what you want.

A next step that is often useful is to back up and ask yourself what’s driving some of those key assumptions, and whether they are actually true. Sometimes we make assumptions about who it is ok for us to be in a given environment, or what is likely to happen, which may or may not be real.
Another good step is to ask yourself how you might strengthen your capacity to live in the core values that might be compromised by a particular decision in other ways. We don’t need any individual job, relationship, etc. to be the primary space for expressing all of the things we want to be in the world.
Keep exploring, get curious about what you uncover, and see where it leads you. And, if you want some support around a particularly thorny choice or dilemma, coaching can be a great way to get clear about a particular situation or choice and build your ability to make other choices later. You’ll find info on my coaching work at the bottom of this newsletter, and on the website.


Related Articles


Navigating Change Together


Working with Shoulds


Join the Conversation


  • What was your experience trying this out?
  • What other tools do you that help you make choices you feel good about?

You can ask questions, share your experiences, and be part of the conversation at the bottom of the page.

. . . . .

[There was info here about upcoming workshops and groups that I’ve pulled because it is no longer timely.]

Lake Shore by Shamsah Ebrahim

Photo by Shamsah Ebrahim

I wish you a lovely summer.


PS: Pass it on
If you know someone who’d benefit from this newsletter, please pass it on to them. Thanks for helping me connect with the people who want what I’ve got to offer.

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