What are your core values?


I’ve been wanting to write this blog for months. It has been sitting in my head and in a half started document but instead I ‘lived it’ for a while and a lovely hot shower at 10.43pm on a Wednesday night has cleared things up.

Around 4 years ago I did a course in Wellington with Rural Women called ‘Growing Dynamic Leaders’. I was also asked to speak on it around the benefits and uses of social media especially in terms of community and rural women with Farming Mums NZ being the case study. Long story short, it was my first ever presentation, it was shit, it was interrupted for dinner, it was late.

Fast forward 4 years and I again met fellow attendee, Jenny Malcolm who is based in rural Oamaru. This was at the July ANZCO women’s conference and after catching up there and filling Jenny in on all that was happening in my life, she came back to me a while later and asked if I would mind going through a process with her to identify my core values. The things that, if not met, mean that the situation is perhaps not the right one for you, you may not be happy and/or you may struggle to see it through.

Now in numerous courses over the last 5 years I have done values exercises that look a bit like this on the right. You are asked to circle the words that stand out to you essentially.

Every time, I look around the room and see people thinking and circling when all I see is a jumble of words, many of which seem to mean the same thing! How am I supposed to choose 3? 6? 10? How do I choose some but leave others that are also important to me?

What Jenny proposed really interested me, but I still went in slightly ‘unbelieving’ and I reckon she saw me as a challenge too.

On a day in September I dropped the kids to school and made my way to Jenny’s house where for three hours I got the interrogation of a life time! (It wasn’t as bad as it sounds ;) ) Jenny sat opposite me and got probing. She wanted to know what made me tick, what words jumped out when she spoke, how I think, what I like to do, how I see myself, how I think others see me, what gets me passionate. She wanted stories of times I felt happy, frustrated or unsure.

Admittedly, this WAS an exhausting process but one I really needed and one I am very grateful for!

NOW, to share my findings. Values are usually quite a private thing but in order for you to understand how knowing these could benefit you, your decisions and your relationships, I’m going to be transparent.

Here were my 6 identified values, in order of importance.

  • Growth

  • Freedom

  • Accomplishment

  • Connection

  • Support

  • Collaboration

We talked about love, honesty, integrity and all those other noble words but I felt as those all went without saying. They are at the centre of my being already. They are non-negotiable, built in factors. I wanted to know the more particular ones that are tied into my personality and choices.

To give you some context to there words:

Growth - I love learning, up-skilling, absorbing information to strive to be the best version of myself. This also means I’m not very good at staying still, meaning I do lot’s of different things - but also it appears mad to others, this is what I love and how I thrive. Growth and continued education also gives me a feeling of freedom over my life and a sense of accomplishment.

Freedom - This word covers many areas. Freedom of speech and choice. Freedom to explore my ideas. Freedom to take risks. Freedom to be confident and unique, The desire for monetary freedom so I have the time and opportunity to grow and accomplish all the things on my long (long) list.

Accomplishment - I love to achieve my goals. Don’t we all? What I lack in singular focus and specialisation, I make up for in a wide array of interests, passions and skills AND the desire to achieve each one of them. What I have also come to learn is - ‘fail’ quickly. Don’t waste time on things you can’t accomplish - BUT don’t give up on them. Bank them for when you have the time, money or people to collaborate, support and achieve with. In fact I don’t at all like the term fail more like, know when to stop pursuing and know when to revisit.

Connection - I never thought, before Farming Mums NZ, that this was a necessity of mine. It turns out, connection is a huge huge part of my life. I don’t like being disconnected, I like sharing my time, I like chatting, I love supporting and helping others. This is often a core value in all my ideas. Connection is why I have a blog and why I do what I do.

Support - FMNZ again, has really highlighted this for me. I love being in a position to be able to help, support and communicate with people in their time of need. The fact people trust me daily with such personal information is really special and I will never turn down a request for help - I just can’t. If not me then who? I guess I can also flip this around also - having people who support my ideas and thoughts is also important to me.

Collaboration - One thing I sometimes get stuck on when it comes to business concepts and goals is collaboration. Looking back, there is a clear link between successful endeavors and having other people along for the ride. (FMNZ, Half-marathon, Book etc). On the flipside, the ideas that are still sitting in limbo are purely there as I haven’t found the right person or company to collaborate with! Never underestimate the powder of collaboration. As a business mentor of ours once said:

‘It’s better to own 50% of something than 100% of nothing’

Another way to look at all of this is, say you have a business idea, a job, a decision to make, a relationship that isn’t quite feeling right, you are unsatisfied or unhappy. What values are missing from that situation? Am I feeling supported? Do I have freedom over choices or hours or my role? Do I feel like I am accomplishing something or am I on the rats wheel of life? Can I change this? How?

So here is my challenge for you, in January 2019 you are going to discover what your core values are. You are going to write them on a piece of paper. You are going to put them on the fridge and every time something doesn’t feel right to you - ask yourself, what value isn’t being met?

If you would like to be walked through the process, give Jenny a call - 0274 477079 or visit her website to she who she is and what she is about. Read her ‘About me’ page - honestly, she is the loveliest lady!!


So what are you focusing on?

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Chanelle O'Sullivan1 Comment