The Practice of Choosing Three Core Values
Inspiring Courage, Hope and Action for Just Communities
Experience shows that the best way to choose and then commit to your personal values is to choose three that you can hold as your core values.
Three is a handy number of values to remember. The power of core values lies in being able to recall them in an instant. Having only three core values allows you to cultivate a working relationship with each of them, so they can influence your decision-making in the moment.
Over time, those three core values come to represent all the principles that you value. The values choosing process also encourages this. For example, love as a core value might also encompass for you other values like friendship, family, and joy. In this way, three values might stand for ten or twenty. It is difficult to remember twenty, but you can remember your top three, and when you do, the others come along too.
The following Activity is a tool to help you choose your three core values
The first step is to add other values to the list, using the three blank lines at the end of the right-hand column. The words on the list represent common values, but they may or may not be values that resonate for you.
Therefore, the first step of the exercise is to add any other values you like to the list. Feel free to add more than three if you prefer.
As you consider which values to add, reflect upon all aspects of your life at work and also your life at home and in the community. You may also want to consider values suggested by your culture, your ancestors, and your family traditions as well as your life¹s defining moments. Give yourself two to five minutes for this portion of the choosing process.
Step two is to reduce your list of values to ten.
Step three is to reduce your list to five.
Step four is to reduce your list to three.
Give yourself two to three minutes to complete each of these three steps. If you need less time, that is fine.
Reducing your list of values step by step is not an exercise in abandoning some of your values. You don¹t have to give anything up. You only need to consider which values are more important to you than others.
This part of the exercise can be challenging. As you make your choices, don¹t just consider what your intellect has to say. Consider also what your heart says, listen to your intuition or gut, and if it works for you, consider the voice of Spirit. Each one offers its own form of wisdom and can aid you in this activity.
When you have finished step four, look at the three words that remain.
Congratulations! You have just discovered your three core values.