How do core values keep us grounded?Oct 12, 2021
The world around us has a way of pulling us in 1,000 different directions at once. We’re inundated with information, distractions and duties. We feel pressure to become the people our bosses, colleagues, friends or customers want us to be.
At the end of the day, all of this pulls us away from our own personal needs and wellbeing, and we feel overwhelmed and burned out.
We know this isn’t the only way to live, and it’s definitely not the way we want to live. But, how do we get to a place where we can stay grounded in who we want to be and feel less distracted, overwhelmed and burned out?
If we were trees, our core values are our roots: they keep us sturdy in storms; they feed us; they keep us healthy and balanced; and when they’re strong, so is the entire ecosystem around us.
Many people think of values as morals or ethics, but values are actually a set of personally defined, actionable principles that guide us in our everyday decisions. Even if two people value the same thing—say vulnerability—they can embody it differently.
This is why it’s critical to know both what our core values are AND how we bring them to life in order to stay grounded in who we want to be.
Let’s put this in practice.
Say one of your core values is vulnerability, as mentioned above. And, to you, vulnerability means being OK not always having the answer and feeling comfortable asking good questions.
So, putting this into practice, instead of feeling pressured to provide an answer you don’t know to your boss or a colleague, you would let them know you don’t have an answer and instead you’d ask the questions you need to ask in order to help you find the answer.
What happens when we do this?
When we show up in a way that is authentic to who we are, we are calmer, more confident, more grounded. And by showing up this way, we also encourage the same authenticity from others, ultimately forming deeper relationships and stronger connections.
When we show up to life guided by our core values, we also know when it’s time to walk away from something or say “no” to something that doesn’t align with them.
Say the example above didn’t yield the mutual respect or authenticity it should have, and instead it yielded criticism for not having an answer and even more pressure to “fake it ‘til you make it.”
You would know pretty quickly that the work environment wasn’t a great fit for you, or that you needed to have a conversation with that boss or colleague to change the dynamic.
In many ways our core values are what help us define our boundaries. Our core values are a set of personally defined guiding principles that we know how to bring to life. And when the world around us compromises these guiding principles, we set a boundary to protect them. And when we set meaningful boundaries to protect our core values, we stay grounded in who we want to be.
Bottom line: well defined, personal core values + meaningful boundaries = you grounded in who you want to be.
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