Shape the Right Core Values


We’re all familiar with the idea of core values. In essence, they’re the values we hold that form the foundation on which we perform work and conduct ourselves. Churches have them. Universities have them. Some businesses have them too. But have you ever considered creating a set of core values for yourself?

A few years ago, I took the time to sit down and think about the four or five things I valued most in life. Even today, I can honestly say that it was one of the most beneficial exercises I’ve ever done for growing and developing into the person I want to become. However, I think it would be safe to say that very few adults have ever taken the time to create a set of personal core values to guide their life. If few adults have done it, I’m sure even fewer university students have.

Why should every university student take time to create a set of core values?

While I could use the typical reason—that “university is one of the most important time periods in shaping a person’s dreams, goals, career, and future”—I think the answer is bigger than that. There’s no doubt that core values will help you achieve the goals and dreams you set out to accomplish. However, establishing a set of core values will do more than help you accomplish your goals.

The thing about core values is that they apply to every area of life, not only your career but also your relationships. If created properly, your core values will direct your energies, your time, your thoughts, and ultimately your life.

What are some examples of personal core values?

While your core values need to be specific to you, here are a few common values:

  • Relationships. Healthy and growing relationships are essential for personal growth.
  • Adventure. A life with adventure includes risks, emphasizes imagination, and maximizes happiness.
  • Making a Difference and Giving. Making a difference in the lives of others is a reminder that the world doesn’t revolve around your own life and goals.

If you’ve never taken the time to seriously consider and create a set of personal core values, I highly encourage you to do so. Whether you’re a university student or you graduated 20 years ago, you won’t regret investing time in creating the guardrails for every decision, thought, or commitment you make. If you’re still in school, summer is a great time to get away and spend some serious time considering your values. If you work full time, schedule a weekend for some solitude and think through the things that are most important to you.

If you want to be intentional about your life, creating a set of core values will be an invaluable discipline for you.

Have you ever taken the time to create a set of personal core values? If so, what are a few of yours? If not, what’s holding you back?