Our values stem from our beliefs and ideas. Values can appear in any aspect of our lives, from our careers to relationships.

But do we know the difference between extrinsic values and intrinsic values?

An example of an extrinsic value of our career might be earnings or recognition. However, to determine what makes us genuinely happy, we need to look a bit deeper. Intrinsic values are far more impactful to our overall happiness and wellbeing. These are smaller and relate to how we feel inside as opposed to how they look on the outside. This might be to be a great leader, to be a good listener or to perform a task you find particularly challenging. We know and understand that determining our personal values is extremely difficult. Chances are, trying to express your values to others comes with its own set of challenges.

Today, we’re setting you a challenge to help identify your own intrinsic values. In a journal, answer the following questions:

  1. What’s important to you in life?
  2. Thinking about your job role, what is your favourite part?
  3. When you’re reading news stories, what sort of story or behaviour tends to inspire you?
  4. What type of story or behaviour makes you angry?
  5. What do you want to change about the world or about yourself?
  6. What are you most proud of?
  7. When were you at your happiest?

The answers will work as a guide to determine your personal values.

For some, the values will be easy to figure out. If you wrote “a loving relationship” in response to the question about what’s important to you, then “love” is an important personal value for you. If you wrote “being happy,” then you value happiness.

Others may require a bit more work. For example, if you’re inspired by stories of successful entrepreneurs, maybe you value “determination” or “achievement”. If you’re inspired by activists trying to change the world, maybe you value “courage” or “integrity”, “justice” or “peace”. When answering the questions, try to determine what exactly it is about those stories or experiences that resonate with you.

You can always turn back to this task at any stage when you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed or stuck, to help you move forward.

Values List