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  • Ali McNab

Do you live by your Personal Values?

Our values are the things that are true to us that we hold paramount in our lives. Our truths and standards. Our fundamental beliefs. They help define who we are.

Everyone’s personal values are different.

In the everyday interactions we have with each other and the world around us, our values influence our behaviours and impact how we show up to ourselves and to others; what we say and do and how we say and do it!

When a situation arises that contradicts or misaligns with our values we might feel uneasy, dissatisfied and frustrated.

If we don’t understand our own system of values, we will not recognise when they are being compromised, so we feel confused by our emotions and reactions. We may respond in a way that we feel is "right" or "expected" but which in fact conflicts with our values. This can have a significant impact on our well-being, self-esteem and self-belief.

Understanding your own personal values and how they complement or rub against the values of others can help you to;

  • interact and work with people and your environment in a more healthy, positive way

  • make sense of why you view yourself and those around you in a certain way and why others may react to situations in a different way to you

  • increase your awareness of why you feel joy or frustration in particular scenarios and help you make choices that will steer you through your life in a satisfying way

  • strengthen your self-confidence, self-belief and trust in your own beliefs and opinions

Identifying your personal values - 30 minute exercise

This is an exercise I do with my clients if they are feeling a conflict with their values or uneasiness about an area of their life that they can't quite put their finger on.

I suggest you set yourself 30 mins somewhere you will not be disturbed to follow these steps - it's all about self-reflection!

1) Brainstorm: Write down what you already think your values are. What is really important to you? Write as many things you can think of.

2) Now, think about the questions below and add to your list anything that resonates that isn't already there:

a. What are your desires or passions? What makes you happy or brings you joy?

b. When do you feel most confident, happy, content or fulfilled. What is it about those moments that make you feel like this? What values are ignited?

c. Think about times you felt uneasy or frustrated. What was it about those moments that made you feel like that? What values might have been compromised in those situations?

d. Imagine someone you respect. What do you admire about them? What traits do they possess that you value?

e. What are the 3 things you would never want to give up about your life?

3) Now sit back and look at all the words you've written down.

Where you see similarities; group them under a word or phrase that resonates with you.

4) Pull out the 10 words or clusters of words that you feel most strongly reflect how you would most like to live your life.

5) Now try honing it down to the 5 that are most important to you. Take time to really feel what they each mean to you. If you had to leave 5 behind what would you be left with?

6) Got your top 5? How do these feel?

Write them down and stick them on the wall or somewhere you will see them every day!

Simply knowing what your values are can be eye opening and empowering, you will begin to see how these play out and impact your day-to-day interactions with people and the world around you.


To take this one step further; think about where you spend your Time, Effort and Money in your day-to-day life. Notice to what extent your values align or misalign with this. What might you do More of; Less of; Stop doing; Start doing; to better live by your values?

Set yourself some actions or goals! Small steps!

Remember: When it comes to your Values, there is no right or wrong - only who YOU are!


Ali McNab works with people who want to make positive change in their lives and experience a more balanced, fulfilled and meaningful life or career. Ali supports them to build confidence, self-belief and self-awareness so they can do this with purpose and clarity.

Ali works directly with individuals and with charities and social purpose organisations supporting their approaches to staff well-being and growth.

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