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"Identifying your values" exercise, WYSE ILP Lucca 2013 


Our values are something very precious and often deeply ingrained within us. Like guiding principles they determine how we contribute in the world, relate to the things we care about most and consider worth pursuing in life. Without values we can lack direction and meaning. Values are true motivators and we often base our worth on these.

Values are often at the core of our attitudes, and influence how we behave. In fact they can affect every aspect of our lives:

  • We make judgments according to the priority we give to certain values

  • Clearly identified values are helpful in times of fast change

  • They can become the reference for making decisions

  • Values have a permanence - what we hold on to when everything else is thrown away (e.g., in crisis situations)

Connect to the programme

During your ILP, we dedicated a full- day to explore "Values": you reflected on aspects of your life which matter deeply, are inspiring or act as guiding principles to you. Through brainstorming, refining and prioritizing you identified your key values and were invited to think about how they related to each other.

  • Which values did you select and rank highly?

  • How easy was it for you to identify your key values – was it challenging to prioritize them and did you find out anything new?

We also invited you to select a "Hero or villain" from history, books or movies, who you find inspirational and explore the value(s) this figure stands for.

  • Who did you select and what were the reasons?

  • What insights did you gain from this conversation?

10/10/10 – Doing, reflecting, connecting

Doing – physical activity: Review your own list of values (if you do not have this list at hand, you can find a list of universal values under the section of "further reading") and select one that you would like to express – think of a way to express this value through actions within the next 24 hours (what could you do, to whom could you express this value, what effect do you think this will have for you / the other person?).

Reflecting – thinking, meditating: Think of a person/hero you find inspiring – find a quiet moment for mediation, and invite this person to visit you and have a conversation: what do you admire or find inspirational in this person, what can you learn, what would this person tell you in response to a question asked, what advice would you receive?

Connecting – singing, speaking, sharing with others: Have a conversation with a friend – this could be a fellow participant – and exchange on your and their values. What is important to the other person? What do you have in common, and where/why are there differences?


A Personal Story (by Christian from Austria)
At the beginning of each year I connect with my values. This is more fun than making good year's wishes and it is also a bit more long-term oriented. I have a list of roughly 7 values, which I initially identified and started to work on at my ILP. I have refined these slightly, since I have gained more inner clarity. During this annual review I reflect on how I can express each value in my every-day life (work, family, friends...) - I have also put these values into my smart-phone, so I can access them anytime I need. This list then acts like a compass: when I have to take a tough decision, I let them be my guide. They also help me to confirm that I am going in the right direction and following my purpose.

Further reading