Hundreds of reports have been released confirming that millennials are more motivated by personal values and aspirations than by career advancement. If this is true, it begs the question-what are your values?

Everyone has heard the quote, “because if we don’t stand for something, we shall fall for anything.” So I ask of you, dear professionals, what is it that you stand for? What are your personal values? Could you name them all?

I was intrigued by the question: Could you name all of the personal core values that you believe in, and would this knowledge alter the way that you approach your work?  And so, as a dutiful and diligent researcher, I spent weeks drafting and redrafting to define the list of core values.

#1: You will need a thesaurus.

The first thing that I found was that it’s nearly impossible to represent a core value with just one word. Words have certain connotations, and you will find that you need to get very specific. In order to truly get to the heart of the issue and understand the emotion or action, you will need to use a group of synonyms. For example, which is better and more meaningful:

  • Eloquence
  • Eloquence, Expressivity, Cleverness, Quickness, Wittiness

#2: Write now, rank later.

It is hard to write down your core values, and even more impossible to write them in the order of importance. It’s like the chicken and the egg question, both family and loyalty are core values–but which comes first? Don’t worry about ranking your core values, just write down as many as you can think of and go from there.

#3: Consider your personality.

If you get stuck, consider taking a personality test online and see what your results are. Often these types of exercises help us to clearly articulate our fuzzy thoughts onto paper.

#4: Put things in categories.

Take a look at your list and begin to place things into broad categories. For example, think of the broad themes such as excellence, integrity, wisdom, beauty, and discovery.

 #5: Refine, edit, and finalize.

Once you have a good solid list and 4-5 categories, go back through and edit everything. Weed out any duplications. Rethink the word useage. Try to rank your categories in order of importance.

Here are some examples to get you started:

Have you taken the time to define your core values? What did you learn about yourself and how did it change the way you approach your work?