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  • Writer's pictureJustin Tilghman, Ph.D.

(Re)Discovering Your Core Values

Are you feeling like something's off in your life, or like your actions aren't reflecting your true self? Identifying your core values can bring clarity and direction, leading to a more genuine and fulfilling life. In today's blog post, we'll delve into the significance of core values, how to pinpoint them, and ways to incorporate them into your daily life.

Woman experiencing the joy of discovery.

I specifically chose to write "(re)discovering" because, in a sense, your core values never went anywhere. They've always been there because they make up who you are. So even if you feel like you're "disovering" them, in reality you're actually "re-discovering" them and finally living into them. So, let's dive in!

What are Core Values, and Why Do They Matter?

Core values are deeply-rooted beliefs shaping our actions, choices, and relationships. They serve as an inner compass, guiding us through life's challenges and opportunities. When we have a clear understanding of our core values, we can live more genuinely and make decisions that are in line with our true selves.

5 Steps to Uncover Your Core Values

How can you identify your values? It's actually pretty simple. Here are 5 steps you can take to start thinking through what your core values might be.

  1. Reflect on peak experiences: Consider moments in your life when you felt exceptionally fulfilled, joyful, or satisfied. These peak experiences can provide valuable insights into what is most important to you. Identify the values present in those moments and jot them down.

  2. Identify your heroes: Who do you admire the most? These individuals can be real or fictional, historical or contemporary role models. Reflect on the qualities that draw you to these individuals and consider the values they represent. This can help you recognize the values you aspire to embody in your own life.

  3. Envision your ideal day: Imagine a day where you're living your best life. What does that look like? Who are you spending time with? What activities are you engaged in? As you visualize your ideal day, consider the values present in this vision. These can be hints to the values that genuinely matter to you.

  4. Reflect on challenges and growth: At times, our most significant challenges expose our most crucial values. Reflect on the tough experiences you've faced and consider the values that were tested or strengthened during those times. These values may be vital to your personal growth and resilience.

  5. Narrow down and prioritize: Select 5-7 values that resonate most deeply with you. Then, prioritize them, ranking them from most to least important. This will give you a clear set of core values to guide your life and decision-making.

3 Strategies for Living a Life Aligned with Your Core Values

Now that you have a set of values, how you can you start using them to impact and guide your life? Here are 3 ways to being putting your values to work today.

  1. Set value-aligned goals: As you establish goals for your personal and professional life, make sure they align with your core values. This will increase your chances of achieving your goals and, at the same time, ensure you're moving in a direction that feels authentic to you.

  2. Make value-based decisions: When making decisions, filter them through your core values. Ask yourself, "Which option aligns most closely with my values?" By making value-based decisions, you'll experience greater satisfaction and fulfillment in the choices you make because they'll resonate with you at a deeper level.

  3. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals: Our environment significantly impacts our ability to live genuinely. Surround yourself with people who share your values and support your growth. This will create a positive environment that encourages you to live in alignment with your core values. This doesn't mean only surround yourself with like-minded people. You can learn a great deal from people who hold other values. Find a good balance in your life between like-minded people and those with differing perspectives.

The Perks of Aligning with Your Core Values

Living a life guided by your core values offers numerous benefits, such as heightened self-awareness, a stronger sense of purpose, improved decision-making, and deeper relationships. Embracing your core values really is the key to living an authentic and fulfilling life.

Concluding Thoughts

Uncovering your core values is an ongoing process. As you grow and change, your values may change or deepen. Regularly revisiting your core values and adjusting them as necessary ensures you continue living genuinely and in alignment with who you are.

Keep in mind that self-reflection and introspection are vital aspects of personal growth. By committing time to delve into your core values and actively incorporating them into your everyday life, you'll start witnessing the benefits as they unfold. These advantages will impact not only your personal life but also your professional one, as living authentically can enrich all aspects of your life's journey.


Justin is a Board Certified Advanced Life Coach with the Board of Christian Life Coaching, a division of the International Board of Christian Care and the American Association of Christian Counselors. He has demonstrated knowledge and application of biblical integration in coaching, the ICCA and ICF Core Competencies, the Code of Ethics, and the ICF definition of coaching.


Justin is a Board Certified Master Mental Health Coach with the Board of Mental Health Coaching, a division of the International Board of Christian Care and the American Association of Christian Counselors. He has demonstrated knowledge and application of biblical integration in providing ethical and competent mental health coaching.

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