In this week’s post, we feature advice from Frank Kuijsters, Director of Digne Consult APAC, on how young professionals can identify and accentuate the values they believe in. Armed with more than 30 years of experience in learning and development and coaching, Frank has supported thousands of successful individuals worldwide in achieving their professional and personal goals.


Values represent what matters most to us and form the foundation of what is important for us in our daily life. They are the source of our passions in life and they determine where we want to focus our energies. Our values should be the driving force behind virtually everything we do and all of our choices and decisions should spring from these same values. If not, there will be a crack in the foundation of our life’s monument.

Interestingly, when I ask people what their values are, most of the time they don’t have a clear answer. When given some time most mention the values they think are important for them but these are not at the forefront of their mind and probably not the drivers of their actions or decisions in their daily life.

Values are more than skills; they are the concepts, ideals, and beliefs that define us. Identifying and clarifying them gives you a foundation and helps you see your highest priorities in life. It helps you make the right choices.

So in case you haven’t defined your values here some steps to help.

6 Steps to identify your core values

Step 1: To get started, take some time to reflect on your core values and list them on a sheet of paper. What could help is asking yourself:

  • What does working give you besides money? Money is only a monetary value, so better to ask what does money give you?
  • Looking at your life, what moments can you remember that made you truly happy / sad and what value could these moments represent?

If you are really stuck in define your values, take a look at the list at the end of this article. Initially take a brainstorming approach and generate quite a long list.

Step 2: Go over the list and be more selective and narrow it down to your top five or six. You might find it helpful at this point to create two separate lists – one for work values and one for life values, though there is usually an overlap between the two.

Step 3: Then take each value and spend a bit of time summarising what it means to you personally and why it matters. Write your definition alongside each value.

For example if you have chosen creativity, write down what being creative means to you; I stress the importance of creativity. I make time for brainstorming. Allocate time for new ideas to emerge. I actively solicit for new ideas. I challenge myself to come with new ideas to do things differently. I am supportive to people that come up with new ideas. I tolerate mistakes because it helps in being creative.

Step 4: The next step is to prioritise these five values. You can do this by asking yourself “if I could only have one thing from my life and work, what would it be?”. This helps you decide what really matters to you. My recommendation is to select less than five core values to focus on—if everything is a core value, then nothing is really a priority.

Step 5: Now ask yourself how far your life and work is allowing you to honour these values. Rate each one on a scale of 1–10 to indicate the extent that these core values are present in your life and work. Where the ratings are low, gives you a focus for exploring new career ideas that will enable you to live these values more fully.

Step 6: Finally, think of a symbol that could represent your values. Take a picture of this symbol, frame it and hang it in your office to remind you on a daily basis of your core values. Keeping your values visible will help you in really living them and they will guide your daily choices and actions.


Below is a list of core values commonly used. This list is not exhaustive, but it will give you an idea of some common core values (also called personal values):

Authenticity – Achievement – Adventure – Authority – Autonomy – Balance – Beauty – Boldness – Compassion – Challenge – Citizenship – Community – Competency – Contribution – Creativity – Curiosity – Determination – Fairness – Faith – Fame – Friendships – Fun – Growth – Happiness – Honesty – Humor – Influence – Inner Harmony – Justice – Kindness – Knowledge – Leadership – Learning – Love – Loyalty – Meaningful Work – Openness – Optimism – Peace – Pleasure – Poise – Popularity – Recognition – Religion -Reputation – Respect – Responsibility – Security – Self-Respect – Service – Spirituality – Stability – Success – Status – Trustworthiness – Wealth – Wisdom


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