Everything You Wanted to Know About Personal Core Values

You have a powerful unknown force working in your life.

I'm not talking about a Higher Power, magic, or an Internet addiction. I'm talking about your Personal Core Values.

Your Personal Core Values underline everything that you do in your life. Every decision you make—from who to marry and how you spend your money to how you get dressed in the morning and what you eat for dinner at night—is determined and directed by your Personal Core Values.

If you know what yours are, you can harness their power and point your life more or less in the direction you want to go. But if you don't? It can feel like you're hitting a wall, or you can't gain traction, or you just feel out of sorts.

But what are they?

Let me tell you alllllllllll about them.

The 5Ws + H of Personal Core Values


Let's start with the easy one: what are Personal Core Values?

Officially speaking, Personal Core Values are a unifying set of qualities or feelings that you want to embody and align your life around.

Unofficially speaking, they are the values that matter MOST to you. They're the principles by which you live your life. Personal Core Values are your unique, individual code by which you determine right from wrong.


Why should you figure out what your Personal Core Values are?

Because they direct everything that you do in your life. Every decision is informed by your Personal Core Values. If you know what yours are, you can craft a Grand Vision for your life that is in accordance with your personal code. If you don't, you can feel aimless and ineffective.


Who are Personal Core Values for? Everyone!

Really, I mean it—everyone. Your parents have their own sets. Your children have their own sets. Your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, acquaintances, strangers—they all have their own sets. And while everyone's Personal Core Values are often influenced by their families, religions, communities, countries, neighborhoods, income brackets, sexual orientation, ethic backgrounds, and cultural upbringings (to name a few), they can vary wildly from person to person inside these categories.

Where & How

I combined these two because they are intertwined: the Personal Core Values Resources page is the where, and it contains the how.

Specifically, start by downloading the Personal Core Values Discovery workbook, then scroll down the page and hit play on "How to Discover Your Personal Core Values." The workbook is the main vehicle that you'll use for discovering your Personal Core Values, and the video walks you through the workbook with examples and explanations. (And a snappy intro!)


The obvious (to me) answer to "When should I discover my Personal Core Values?" is "Now!"

However, I know not everyone jumps into things as soon as they hear about them. We have our Quick Starts, our Fact Finders, our Implementors, and our Follow Thrus. (See Martha Beck's story about learning and the Kolbe Index.) So as to when your should discover your Personal Core Values ... 

Additional Questions

Since releasing the Personal Core Values Discovery workbook and "How to Discover Your Personal Core Values," I've gotten some questions asking for clarification on a few points. So, since this post is "EVERYTHING You Wanted to Know About Personal Core Values," not just "SOME THINGS," here are the answers!

Q. How do you define [a Personal Core Value]?

A. A Personal Core Value is defined both technically and within the context of your life. For example, one of my Personal Core Values is "freedom." Freedom for me is about being able to move about freely, without restriction; to use my time as I see fit; and to spend my money free from mandates, among others. Or, I want to do what I want to do how I want to do it without someone telling me what to do and how to do it. Unless, of course, I agree to be told what to do and how to do it, which still gives me a choice in the matter.

Q. What are some examples of Personal Core Values?

A. Two recent examples I've used are from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Brave New World*. In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the eponymous character's Personal Core Values are Adventure, Bravery, and Courage; in Brave New World, the society's Personal Core Values are Community, Identity, Stability.

Ready to discover YOUR Personal Core Values?

Get started at the Personal Core Values Resources page, where you'll find the Personal Core Values Discovery workbook, the "How to Discover Your Personal Core Values" video lesson, and downloadable Personal Core Values wallet cards (coming soon).

*Despite the fact that they're not really Personal Core Values, I use Brave New World as an example because individuality has mostly been bred and conditioned out of people. The society Core Values then, by default, become the Personal Core Values of each individual. But that's another discussion for another day.

Lynn Daue


Hi, I'm Lynn, and I firmly believe in living ON PURPOSE. Because truth moment? We always act in accordance to what we really want (whether we know it or not), so why not get aware and start choosing our own adventures?