How To Know What Is Important

What are your core values? Have you taken the time to write them down? Do you even know what they are?

Core values are what directs us in life. They can be different for everybody. Many of us have some idea of what they are or what we think they “should be”, but many have never actually taken time to investigate what they truly are.


Core values guide us on how to live our most fulfilling lives. Similar to a map offering the most direct route from New York to Seattle.

However, can you imagine driving cross country without guidance? It may be fun and even offer some interesting experiences along the way. With a map however, you two options. Take the direct route as well as the choice to get lost –  but both options are on your terms.

Core values reflect fundamental beliefs. They can be about creation, family, relationships, honesty, work ethics, the environment, etc. Often we go through life confused about where we are going and what our purpose is. This confusion drains us of energy. Taking pause to consider what is essential to our fulfillment develops clarity. It releases the drained energy and makes it available for pursuing a life lived with real meaning, vitality and joy.

If you need help discovering what your core values are, try these 5 steps.

Some practices suggest to write your core values once a year or at some other regular interval. I write them every day. Every morning. I call it my MORE list to reinforce what I want to focus more attention on. I also phrase them as choices to remind myself that I am the one accountable for the direction of my life.

It’s amazing the difference it makes on a daily basis to be acutely aware of what is important and worthy of my attention. It saves time and avoids squandered effort. It alters my decisions and actions in tiny ways as well as with the more significant choices I must make.

An example of a core value written as a choice is, “I choose to respect the inherent worthiness of myself and all others.” Can you imagine how this core value reiterated every day would change someone’s interactions, especially with people they have disagreements with?

As we write these core values down in a notebook every morning, we are constantly refining the words to express them as our awareness grows deeper. Insights are revealed. As we understand more about what resonates with the deepest levels of our being, our core values may even change.

The practical aspect of this practice is that it allows us freedom to act in more spontaneous ways which are automatically in alignment with our purpose. Less distractions and less detours means more fulfillment.

How can we know what is truly important? By writing it down. Everyday.


5 minute action item-If you haven’t already, start a MORE list. Think of it in terms of your core values. Get started by writing down on paper what is important for your life. What feels like success to you. Then reflect on it. Let your own authenticity be your guide as to whether it is on target. You cannot fool yourself too long. By writing daily, you will know your truth. And you will feel more energized.

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