What are your core values?

Your values are what you build your life on. They are what undergird your decisions and your reactions. They cause you to do what you do and think the way you think. They impact the way you interpret the world around you, and how you engage it.

I recently spent a Saturday afternoon with a group of very sharp young people. These young people have asked to be mentored by some successful and socially engaged entrepreneurs to help them plan a future of business involvement and public service. They are very impressive young men and women! I had been asked to bring comments and lead a discussion on "servant leadership". As part of that discussion, I stressed their need to know and understand certain things about themselves. I encouraged them to look internally and see who they are and what values they are living out. Once they understand who they are, then if they want to grow or develop in a certain area, they can work on that specific area.

I emphasized to them the importance of wrestling with at least these seven things:

  1. Know who you are.
  2. Know who you are not.
  3. Know who you serve.
  4. Know why you serve.
  5. Know what you believe.
  6. Know what you value.
  7. Know what you will not do.

I believe that these questions help lead you to what your values are.

I also talked to these young people about being able to articulate their core values. I showed them a wonderful website at Values.com. The Values.com people have some beautiful and powerful videos connected to many good values. The problem is, they list 100 values. I told the group that is like believing everything and nothing. We have to boil things down to some basic, overall values that we know and understand and live by.

So what are your core values?

It is a good question to spend some time on, but the real profit is to live out our values every day!


(If you are interested, here is my current list of core values, which spring from loving God and loving people — the greatest commandment.)