Values Exploration and Alignment

By Danielle Siegel, PCC, LCSW

Many of my clients are so consumed by their work that they are struggling to see the bigger picture of life. They are like little gophers working underground and every once in a while, they pop their heads up to see what is happening in the world. What seems to be consistent with them is that this is not what they want. They want to be more balanced and feel more in control of their lives. To help them get started, we do some values work, and I have been amazed at the way these tech folks, engineers, busy executives have appreciated this process, so I want to share it.

Look at and think about the answers to the questions below:

  • Life would be unbearable if I couldn’t have or do….
  • I get upset when….
  • I could spend hours…
  • I want to interact with people who…
  • I work best when…
  • I feel most myself when…

From these answers, identify 10-15 words that represent what you care about most or the ideas you live by. If you are struggling with this, go online and google “core values list.” You will find lists of value words.

Now prioritize those values. Here are some ways to help prioritize. Use one or all of them:

  1. Categorizing- Categorize your values as Critical, Important, Desirable
  2. Forced choice: If you had to choose between 2 values, which would you chose? Which ones wins the most bouts?
  3. Progressive elimination-which would you drop first, next, next, etc.

Finally, it’s time to align with your values.  Make a chart with the following:

  • your top 10 values in a list down the left side
  • the following titles on the top: Importance, Honoring, Gap, Is this ok?, Action
  • fill in the chart by following the instructions below:
  • Values: List your top 10 values on the left from most important to least important
  • Importance: How significant is each value to you, right now, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest? Rate each value.
  • Honoring: Rate each value on what level you are currently honoring/living by that value from 1-10.
  • Gap: What is the numerical difference between the level of importance and your honoring of it?
  • Is this OK? Are you ok with this difference?
  • Action: If not, what is one action you can take to increase the difference by at least by one rating? Two ratings?


Small action steps can lead to significant change. As you begin to make changes in your lifestyle, to align with your values, re-evaluate and see what else you can do.




For more on bringing awareness of your values into action, contact Danielle today.