What is most important to you, the things that have to exist in your life?

In #NLP there is one of the best activities I have found for eliciting your values around any area of life.

Personally I have done this multiple times around relationships and for work…. And as I write this, I can feel I am due to revisit my values for health and fitness (feel, as in, my gut is on my belt right now).


If you want to find out your values for work, fitness, relationships or any other are of life, try the following script and do some writing.


Values are broad concepts that guide decisions in life; they determine what is important, and they are the foundation of character. Significantly, what the conscious mind deems important is not always the same as what the unconscious mind values. Values can be detected by what people are attracted to or repulsed by people’s actions. Values determine how humans spend their time. Because individuals have different hierarchies of values, they experience life differently. For instance, individuals whose top value is wealth will invest time and effort in that area. Their experience of life will reflect that focus. If some of those same individuals do not also value honesty, then their route to wealth would be very different from others who highly value both wealth and honesty.

Recognising, reprioritising, or aligning conscious and unconscious values, are major steps toward getting what one truly wants.


Beliefs are the second set of internal filters. Beliefs are convictions, what is held to be “true” in life. For instance, if someone believes that she can learn anything that she puts her mind to regardless of age, then her experience of life is going to be very different from someone else who if he believes he is not that smart and can’t possibly learn something new.

Beliefs often form the boundary conditions of thinking. Depending on how much individuals are willing to believe is possible, beliefs can either keep them boxed in or allow them to live a bigger life. Small possibility thinking has little chance of giving anything other than small results, whereas big possibility thinking leads to big results. When transformed, beliefs allow people to fulfil their highest potential.

The Intrapreneur Podcast

Finding your values:


Values Elicitation Script
Write down Your answers to:

“What’s important to me in the context of___________?”
Remember what motivates you:

“Remember a specific incident when you were totally motivated in the context of______ ? Go back to that time in your mind, step into your body, see what you saw at the time, hear what you heard and feel the feelings of being totally motivated (in what ever context you chose). Then, rewind what you saw like a movie just a bit and take notice of the feeling or emotion that was present just prior to the feeling of being totally motivated?”

“So is ____________________________ important to you in the context of ___________?” (if yes add to values, No repeat 2-3 times)

What will break your values:

“Look at the Liston have written, and if all these values were present, is there anything that would have to happen that  would cause you to leave? Or stop?”

“So is ____________________________ important to you in the context of ___________?” (May be a Not statement)

“Now if all these values were present and _______ occurred, is there anything else that would have to happen that would cause you to stay (or continue)?” (repeat 2-3 times)

Numbering your values:

“Number the values according to their true value to you ? Not how you wish they were, but how they really have been up until now. So in light of the results you’re getting in your life right now what’s the most important? Which is next?”

Define your direction of focus:

“Why is X value important to you? Why else? Why else?”

Next step:

“Go inside and pay attention to the pictures, sound, feelings, tastes, smells and self-talk when you think why that value of __________ is important to you in the context of _______ and ask your self, what percentage of your motivation/focus is towards what you want, and what percentage is away from what you don’t want?”

Towards and Away Conflicts: “Are there any of these values which are in conflict with one another?”

If you have gotten to this point, you have created a list of your values, ranked them and should have a good idea if they are being met, or broken.

The next question is, does something need to change?

What else

In this artical I wrote for ‘The Shaker’ I explore the values topic in a little more detail. Read below, or check out the original article here.

How do you know if a company is a good fit for you, or if you are for the company?

Knowing your values makes it very easy to identify what you will and won’t accept at work or in business.

Over the years I have worked with people and business to identify their values. For individuals it mostly comes back to finding what is most important to the individual in the context of their career. For businesses it comes back to culture and defining the values of the business, the guide for hiring and firing.

The company I am helping at the moment has a set of shared values they agreed too. They are their guide on they want to interact with each other.

Values are such an important part of business and finding work you love, you would think people could easily state their values.

Can you list your top 4 values? If not, please read on.

The good news is, you unconsciously know your values, they are what guided to leave the job (or boss) you hated. They are the reason you are so happy in the job you love. They are the thing that has guided you in all your decisions to date.

Morris Massey (sociologist) identified three major periods of our lives that our values come from:

  1. The Imprint Period – Ages 0-7
  2. The Modeling Period – Ages 8-13
  3. The Socialization Period – Ages 13-21

It is through these stages of life that we learn our values, behaviors and beliefs. The lessons we learn shape who we are and the way we show up day to day. It is our environment, family, schooling, religion and friends that shape our values.

The Dunedin Study, where two psychologists have been following 1000 New Zealanders since 1972, identified five distinct personality types that form between the ages 0-4:

  • Well-adjusted
  • Confident
  • Reserved
  • Under-controlled
  • Inhibited

They have made the observation that the first three types tend to have better life outcomes and the last two tend to have worse physical and mental health.

If believed, from  0-4 you form your core personality type and by the age of 21 you have set your core values.

While it is nice to know how they are formed and where they came from, it still does not answer exactly what YOUR values are.

Some examples of values from different philosophies and religions include:

Norse MythologyBushidoVirtues of Stoicism10 Paramis (Virtues)Christianity
HonorHeroic CourageJusticeMoralityRestraint (or Temperance)
FidelityHonorCourageEffortCourage (or Fortitude)
DisciplineCompassion Strong Determination 
HospitalityHonesty and Sincerity Wisdom 
Self-relianceDuty and Loyalty Truthfulness 
Industriousness  Tolerance 
Perseverance  Pure selfless love 

*A quick read through and I am guessing you will notice some similarities across the board.

Now if a theologian reads this article, I am sure they will poke some holes in this list. They would be right to do so. Instead of relying on an unreliable list, what other activities could you complete to figure out your own values?

The following three activities are examples of how I have helped people identify their values.

Activity 1: Identify your strengthsMartin Seligman, author of the book ‘Authentic Happiness’ and creator of one of the largest positive psychology survey platforms can help you start figuring this out.If you check out you will find a heap of surveys you can take. The one that will give you some amazing insight into who you are is the VIA Survey of Character Strengths.This would be my first recommendation to figuring out more about yourself.
Activity 2: Find your valuesIf you want to go deeper you could check out this finding your values activity. In short you ask yourself the following question until you have exhausted every thing you can think of.Q“What’s most important to me in the context of…….”.Repeat this over and over again, followed by the subsequent ranking of your top ten values. You can then go past that and also figure out your threshold values too.To properly complete this style of activity I use the following template to complete it.Values TemplateFinding your values template.
Activity 3: The story methodThe final approach for identifying your values is the story telling method. This is by far the most exciting way to do it, with the most reusable personal value, outside of just identifying your values (more on that in another article).First step is to think through every memorable event in your life, what are the personal positive/successful/powerful stories you remember? Give each memory a title.You don’t have to worry about triumph, tragedy, tension and transition for this activity. I will go into that in the storytelling piece I am planning.With your list of stories you can remember you want to pick three positive stories that you can remember the most details about and one negative or challenging event.Once you have picked your stories you want to start writing. Write everything you can remember. Who was there, what was happening, what could you see, hear, feel, taste and smell. What were your actions, what were people’s response to you and how did you feel about how you acted or reacted in the story. Complete this for your three positive and one negative memories.Then, once you are done, take everything you have written and add it into a Word cloud generator. In an instant you will see all the keywords you use to describe you, to describe what is important to you and how you operate.From this you want to take the things that stand out the most and you will have your values list. Now all you need to do is list them out and order them, likely the things that are the biggest will be your top values.

Regardless of the activity you choose, you should be left with a list of 4-10 values that accurately represent you.

With your list in hand, use it to choose where you work:

  • Go to the companies website and check out the about us section, their values should be there.
  • Ask your boss for the companies ‘Vision Summary’, it will tell the whole story for sure.

The people you work with, in conversation, ask ‘what is most important to them as a team’…. Does their list align with yours?

By now I am guessing you can easily imagine why you left the place you hated, and why you love the place you love.

Once you have completed at least one of the activities and you feel you know your values you are set to go.