How to Uncover Your Core Values

How to Uncover Your Core Values

One aspect of authenticity is being true to our personal and spiritual values–sharing our true self with the world. Have you ever considered what your top five core values are?  Businesses frequently review and post their core values to remind employees and customers of the guiding principles of that company.  But have you ever considered what core values govern your life and business?

Many times we decide to start our businesses because we want more time,  freedom and perhaps flexibility. Yet, some of us find that we are experiencing anything but those things.  

Why not make a conscious decision to build your business around what is most important to you?  In order to do that, you will want to identify your core values. Living by your core personal and spiritual values will fuel your quest for an abundant life.  They are at the root of who you are–your true essence. While many of the values listed below are appealing and viewed with high regard in our culture, be honest with yourself about which ones have meaning for you. They are the values for which you would likely fight, quit a job, or leave a relationship. You may or may not be living a particular value at this moment, but the aim is to identify those values that are most significant to you.

There are 32 values listed; however, feel free to add to the end of the list if something you value is missing. Also, feel free to adjust the definition of a value to fit your interpretation. 

There are three steps to this exercise:

  1. Identify 10 values that resonate deeply with you.
  2. Of your list of 10, reduce it to the five that are most important to you.
  3. Of your list of five, rate each value on a scale of 1 to 10 based upon how well you are living that value today (with 10 being optimal). 

Achievement/Excellence: ­ to accomplish important things; mastery

Abundance: ­ to believe that the universe provides enough for everyone

Adventure/Excitement: ­ to explore new frontiers and discover new things; to find excitement; to take risks

Aesthetics/Beauty: ­ to enjoy or be inspired by the beauty in things, ideas, surroundings

Affluence: ­ to pursue high income, financial success, prosperity

Authenticity: to be yourself and behave in a way consistent with your ideas and values; authentic

Autonomy/Freedom: ­ to act on personal priorities and time schedule; self-sufficient; self-reliant 

Balance: ­ to have a lifestyle allowing balance of time for self, family, work and community

Challenge: ­ to be involved in interesting and challenging work; to face complex tasks continually

Community: ­ to participate actively in a community; to have a sense of belonging

Courage: ­ to have faith in yourself and tackle difficult situations with confidence

Creativity: ­ to express yourself; demonstrating innovation and imagination

Expertise/ Recognition: ­ to be respected for your competence; to be a known authority 

Family: ­ to spend time with your family; to have strong family ties 

Friends/Relationships: ­ to have strong and meaningful relationships with others 

Fun: ­ to enjoy life; fusing each activity and each day with joy/laughter 

Generosity: ­ to share yourself, your gifts and your possessions with others 

Honesty/Integrity:  to act within your convictions; to be honest and sincere; to stand up for your beliefs 

Humility: ­ to be grateful and modest; lack of pretense 

Leadership/Power: ­ to be in charge, motivating and influencing others 

Life-Long Learning: ­ to be constantly learning and developing; the pursuit of knowledge 

Loyalty/Commitment: ­ to be faithful; dedication and commitment to individuals, traditions and/or organizations 

Novelty: to seek out new situations, meet new people, and have new experiences 

Order/Organization: ­to have a need for structure and a routine; to have things in order 

Passion: ­ to care deeply for something; to live/work your greatest passion 

Personal Growth/Self-Realization: ­ to develop to your full potential personally and professionally 

Privacy: to keep to yourself, to be on your own and not to rely on others 

Respect: ­ to earn the respect of others; to value others and honor their individuality 

Romance/Intimacy:  to be intimately and romantically connected to another person 

Security: ­ to achieve a secure/stable home, work and financial situation 

Self-Care: ­ to take exquisite care of yourself physically, emotionally and/or spiritually 

Service: ­ to help other people; make a contribution to the well-being of others; help improve society 

Spirituality: ­ to be strong in spiritual or religious beliefs; inner peace and harmony 

Trust: ­ to be able to rely on others and have others rely on you, knowing that you will be true to yourself and to them


Do all that you can to orient your life around your values.  Values give our lives meaning, joy and happiness.  Ideally, our values should guide every decision we make–especially those around how we will spend our time, energy, money and other resources.  As you set your goals for your life and business, make sure that they are aligned with your values and you will find yourself feeling more alive, energized and fulfilled than you may have in the past.

If you are not living by these values in your business, you will not have integrity with what is important to you and ultimately will not be happy. So, pay attention to these. Post them somewhere you can see them all the time. And choose to make choices that are in alignment with them.









About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.


  1. Wow, these are so lovely thoughts. I can’t live without any of these.

  2. I love this list.. and I would certainly be able to choose some over others. However it is a great list!! Now to take the time to make my values list!! I’m working on it! Thanks, Rachel!
    Holly recently posted…The Biggest Loser… Loses!My Profile

  3. Love this! Very useful exercise, and hard to narrow down the list of values that resonated with me…but good for getting back on track and realizing what I need to change to accommodate these values! Thanks for the great post!
    Catherine recently posted…A Quick Trip Around the World With Catherine: Lille, FranceMy Profile

  4. Nick Catricala :

    how did you know I was working on this precise topic today?? wow, when I read all your tips to get to it easily.. I say to myself,, I should have come here this mornin haha 🙂

    You are a great leader Rachel.. I love to thank you for all you share for us to learn and practice.. Wish you well in every way.
    Nick Catricala recently posted…World Health Day Celebration…My Profile

  5. Hi Rachel,
    What a list. I don’t think it will be easy for me to prioritize them but of course some would be higher on the scale than others.

    Great post to share. Have a great evening. Monna

  6. Helene Martin

    Hi Rachel This is a nice list I thing everything mention here is important to me they all have a similar importance I cannot really prioritize them But it can be a good excercise to do. Thanks for all those values…
    Helene Martin recently posted…Average Ordinary Boring or Elite Success LEADERMy Profile

  7. That is an amazing list. I can’t live without any of these, but all my core values spring up from my deep faith and love for God. <3

  8. Hi Rachel, I can just about identify my top ten but narrowing down to 5 is difficult.

    Do you have a view of which are the most important when running your own business successfully?
    Sue Bride recently posted…Pulse Hover WordPress PluginMy Profile

    • Hi Sue,

      That is the difficult part. You may want to do the following to take the exercise further:

      1) Grab 10 index cards and write down one value on each card.
      2) Take the first two cards (doesn’t matter what the values are) in your stack of ten and compare them.
      3) Which of these two values feels more important to you?
      4) Place the one that best describes your heart in a pile to your left. This will be your “A” pile.
      5) Place the other card in the pile to your right. This will be your “B” pile.
      6) Pick up the next two cards in the master stack and repeat.

      Continue this process until you are left with five cards in the “A” pile and five cards in the “B” pile.
      Pile “A” will be your top 5 values.

      If you are uncomfortable with the piles you have created, make any final changes and move a card from Pile “B” to Pile “A”, as Pile “A” will ultimately be the top five values you feel define you.

  9. I am not sure I could narrow that list down to only 5. I take so much into consideration when I make a decision based on my core values. Loved the list, puts it right out there. Thanks for your great article, it made me think.

  10. Lori Gosselin

    Hi Rachel,
    Funny, I wrote about authenticity today too! I’d like to invite you to participate in the community-building exercise I introduce in that post! I hope you will!
    Lori Gosselin recently posted…Do You Know Who You Are?My Profile

  11. Personal reflection is always a good thing. I like to take inventory pretty often help me stay on tract and have a servants heart. Thanks for this great post!
    Dawn Golden recently posted…Wireless Logitech H800 HeadsetMy Profile

  12. Rachel, this is a great idea. I know how important it is to have a “WHY”, because without a good why, I will flounder and fall away when met with obstacles. But formulating a “WHY” is so abstract. Your list is so practical, and will help a person formulate a why that is truly unique and important to him.
    Willena Flewelling recently posted…Mirror MirrorMy Profile

  13. NailCentric

    I must admit the values exercise was a bit hard to do but I see the point and absolutely relate to it!
    NailCentric recently posted…Zoya Tickled and Bubbly new summer 2014 nail polish collection: PreviewMy Profile

  14. Yorinda Wanner :

    Hi Rachel,
    it is so great to have this list to choose from and the brief descriptions.

    Your simple and easy to follow suggestions make the process a ‘piece of cake’!

    Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Love and Light!
    Yorinda Wanner recently posted…Super Better introduction to the Game for getting betterMy Profile

  15. Hello Rachel, How to uncover your core values? Well you sure id make it easy for us with this wonderful list as well as a detailed explanation of each here! You are truly an amazing leader! Thanks for sharing.. Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…Impatience? Feeling The Need To Control?My Profile

  16. Knowing your values is so important. I totally agree! I take my clients through a values exercise as well. It’s an essential part of who you are and living according to your values makes a huge difference. So many people live according to others’ values, but don’t necessarily realize it until they start doing an exercise like this.
    Leanne Chesser recently posted…3 Steps to Kick Ass & Live on PurposeMy Profile

  17. I had this discussion with a like-minded individual at my job just the other day. He was avid about having core values determined before he pursued whatever was next in his career. He stated that is was important to know what you will stand for before a situation presents itself that may cause you to make a poor business decision. By making the decision beforehand, it makes doing the right thing for your business that much easier. Thank you for being a confirmation to this lesson I was just taught today!
    Frank recently posted…The Essential Guide to Set Meaningful Priorities in LifeMy Profile