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"Values" is a little word with big implications. Having a clear sense of your core values is a prerequisite for living in balance and in harmony with your own needs. If your life is out of balance with your values, you can't be happy. When you talk about your values, you are not talking about something that you happen to enjoy or like to do. You may enjoy music and like swimming in the ocean, but these are not values.

Your values are the things in your life that are the most important to you and that truly motivate you.

There are Five Key Value Drivers that motivate people:

  • ContributorA contributor puts other people or an abstraction such as an organization ahead of himself.
  • LeaderA leader needs to consciously act as a model for others, setting a good example for those she works with, and believes that she can be a source of inspiration to them.
  • WinnerA winner takes great pride in personal success, accomplishments, goal setting, and planning.
  • AdventurerAn adventurer requires a lot of risk in her life. She is not happy unless she feels that she is being challenged. She finds the risk invigorating.
  • CreatorA creator expresses himself through being original. Creators like to be associated with ideas and be at the center of new developments.

You are not one thing or the other. Everyone is made up of a mixture of value drivers to some extent. But each individual has one principle, or dominant, value—this is the main motivating force for the individual. You can recognize your own main value driver by the words and phrases you use to describe what is most important to you.

Each value driver can be expressed in many ways. You may express your main value driver strongly through your job. You may also realize it through an activity, or a combination of activities, outside work.

Your values are what drive and motivate you. One of your values dominates, and your life will only feel in balance if this main driver is fully expressed. Knowing what drives you is an important step to effectively expressing yourself.

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