Life Coaching Blog

How to discover your values and live with purpose

In our everyday lives, we can become lost in a never-ending stream of external opinions, societal expectations and misguided ambitions. This can leave us unfulfilled and detached from a larger purpose or meaning. If we remain in this state for a prolonged period, these feelings can manifest into a more severe state of despair and depression. This is why understanding and aligning with our core values is so important. Values are our guiding stars when it comes to living a life with purpose and achieving a sense of fulfilment; they help us to make choices that reflect our authentic selves. So how can we discover our true values and leverage them to live more meaningfully?


Self Reflection

The first step in finding your values seems quite apparent, but it takes effort to become self-aware truly. To engage in honest self-reflection, you must disconnect from external distractions and influences to delve deep within yourself. This involves reflecting on your life experiences, the formative moments, and the principles that have guided you to where you are today. What matters to you most? What do you stand for? Has this changed over time? Why the change? As you introspect, jot your thoughts and emotions down in a journal.

Identify Personal Priorities

After taking time to self-reflect, you can begin to identify your priorities. Relationships, work, hobbies, finance, and health comprise a portion of the priorities competing for our daily time, energy and attention. Reflect on what is most significant to you and provides you with the most fulfilment within these areas. Making a list of these priorities will provide a foundation for your values, it may also reveal a misalignment between your daily activities and your ideals. Are you spending too much time on devices? Is work causing sacrifices in other areas of your life? By identifying your priorities, you’ll find clarity in what needs to change.


Analyse Core Beliefs

Examine the beliefs underpinning your actions and decisions to uncover your core values. Our values and beliefs are intrinsically linked, and play a fundamental role in who we are. To understand one, you must be aware of the other. Which principles are most important to you, and what do you value in others? If you believe in fairness, justice, and equality, your core values will likely include demonstrating integrity and empathy. Paying attention to your beliefs will create a deeper understanding of the values you hold most dearly.


Seek Inspiration

Discovering your values means rejecting external influence and opinion pressures and looking deep within yourself. However, you can still gain inspiration from those who embody the qualities and principles you aspire to have. Positive thought leaders and role models can present new ways of thinking and acting that you may not have considered. These methods may be fundamental in your self-discovery. Read biographies and essays, watch TED Talks or listen to podcasts. Trust yourself to discern what to take on board from external voices and what to let go of.


Test and Reflect

As you start to identify potential values, testing and validating them is essential. Pay attention to situations where you feel a sense of alignment, joy, or fulfilment; likewise, notice moments when you feel a sense of disconnect or discomfort. These experiences indicate if your values are truly resonating with you. Finally, regularly reflect on your values, allowing them to evolve and adapt as you grow and gain new insights.


Embrace Your Values

Once you have discovered your core values, embrace them fully. Integrate them into your life by aligning your choices and actions accordingly. When faced with decisions or challenges, use your values as a compass to guide you. Embracing your values provides a sense of clarity, purpose, and integrity. Once your actions align with these values, you will feel more present in your everyday life and at greater peace.