Passion. Integrity. Equality. Gratitude. Learning. My five core values as chosen at a staff training day today.

I get overly excited about core values workshops. As far as self-awareness sessions go, it’s pretty stock-standard. Choose a few nice sounding words from the list then share with the group.

It’s simple, but I love it. And because it is so simple it’s usually run with new teams and younger groups, which is where the magic lies.

There’s immense power in putting words to the inner fire and feelings that drive you. Being able to communicate to others (and yourself) the qualities you most admire is an important skill, especially for anyone wanting to be more independent and in control of their life and actions.

Your values define you whether you’re aware of it or not. Gut instinct can guide us – we know when things just feel right – but it’s a reaction, an in-the-moment thought. Being aware of your core values puts you ahead of the game.

It’s a list of criteria to check any major decisions against. It’s a justification for not doing that thing that ‘feels off’. Alternatively, it’s a reason to jump out of your comfort zone into something scary and exciting.

We know that our life experiences shape us, that who we are is so deeply influenced by the people we surround ourselves with and the things we do. That’s why taking the time to determine your core values is so important. It gives you a chance to identify the positive influences you want to draw from and decide which aspects of your life you won’t let define you – remember you always have the ability to choose your actions and decisions, always.

Facilitating a session that gets people thinking about the traits and qualities that resonate with them is always a rewarding experience. Today, was extra special as I ran the session with a group of coaches and assistant coaches from the cheerleading and dance studio that I also teach at – which meant I had the extra benefit of hearing the group put words to the actions that I’ve seen and admired this term.

We also created a a set of core values that represent the cheerleading and dance studio (and us as a coaching team) and shared examples of our values in action at training, which was a fantastic way to bring the theory and the practical together.

Now, perhaps in contradiction to my belief that identifying your core values can be a pivotal moment for your personal growth, I can’t remember the first time I did this exercise. Though I’ve certainly done it many times since, from both sides of the table. Passion has turned up as number one every time.

Knowing that passion is my most valued trait is my permission (and challenge) to throw myself into new opportunities head on, embrace uncertainty and show the love, affection and appreciation I have for the wonderful people in my life. Pretty powerful stuff.

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