“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” ~ Roy Disney

The light-bulb moment that changed the direction of my life for ever, was when a fellow trainee coach read out to me the core values he’d just elicited from me. I thought he was reading from someone else’s values listing, because the ones he was reading out didn’t align with my perception of who I was.

I’d been a chartered accountant for twenty something years, and the values I was hearing included – creativity, curiosity, making a positive difference in the world, were a complete surprise to me, to say the least.

Needless to say I had to take away the information away and process it. The outcome being that three years later, I left my accounting career behind and became a mind-set coach helping people to change their lives for the better.

What are Values?

Values are words which embody what is important to us. The words convey our ideals and beliefs about what matters to us and what will make our lives the best they can be. While everyone has a different set of values, everyone values the things they perceive will promote their ability to thrive – to be healthy, successful and happy.

Our values act like a compass

As I discovered, our values act like a compass that helps us stay on track and remain focused on the most important things in our life. They give significance and meaning to our lives, and influence the decisions we make, the actions we take, and the life we lead.

When “what we do” and “how we behave” is consistent with our values, then life feels good, we feel good, and everything seems perfect with the world. However, when what we do and how we behave is not aligned with our core values (priorities for life) then that is when things begin feeling somewhat uncomfortable and painful. We feel unfulfilled, dissatisfied and maybe just downright miserable, and we can’t understand why we’re feeling this way.

Looking back to the time before I became a coach, I always felt there was something missing from my life but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Getting to know my core values enabled me to identify what was missing.

Core Values

We all have many values however at any point in our lives, some are more influential than others. These are our core values. They are the fundamental drivers behind our decisions and actions. They are the things that people will, and sometimes do, die for.

Our core values are not specific things but qualities or emotional states such as security, love, happiness, achievement, contribution. So for instance we might value family, however what we really want is love; or we might value money however what we really want is security or freedom.

When it comes to life, it doesn’t matter what we have or don’t have, it’s rather how we feel about what we have or don’t have. And that in essence is the key to happiness.


Where do our values come from?

Our values are determined and shaped over many years, by our experiences and outside forces. We’ve acquired many of our values through exposure to a million and one different things during the course of our lives including our family, our friends, television, politicians, cultural influences, books, incidents (both positive and negative) we’ve seen or been involved in, the country we were born in, conversations we’ve had, schools we attended and much more.

Our core values do change over time, depending on our experiences. For example, as a teenager ‘fun’ may have been one of your core values but now as a parent it’s slipped down your values hierarchy and ‘security’ has become a core value.

Eliciting your core values

Identifying and then understanding our core values is one of the most powerful things we can do for ourselves.

Values are highly personal because, when we express a core value, the word we use represents a whole set of experiences and emotions.

We can elicit our values ourselves but it's easier with the help of another person such as a trusted friend or coach.


Knowing and understanding our core values can be life changing. The knowledge helps us:

  • answer some of the big questions in life such as ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What is the difference I want to make?’ 
  • shift what we do and behave – so we spend more time doing the things we value – this in turn creates feelings of empowerment and gratification as we engage in activities that give our life purpose, richness and fulfillment.

What Next?

If you would like help in exploring your core values give me a call me on 021 056 8389, email tony@tycoaching.nz or use the Book Now button below to schedule a values elicitation coaching session.

REMEMBER - "When you change your mind you change your life."

Have a healthy week.

Go well


Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise lies in helping people to 'change their minds' so they overcome limiting beliefs and unhelpful habits and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).