Understanding your own values

We believe that understanding your own values is a critical aspect of leading.

We hope this values exercise will help you consider what is personally important to you, not because it “should” be, but because it intrinsically is.

This is a typical exercise designed to explore your values derived from Acceptance and Commitment Theory and the work of Susan David on Emotional flexibility (2017). We will give you the opportunity to further explore the values you select during the Big 8 development days.


  1. Download and print the values cards.

  2. Cut up the activity sheet into individual values cards and place them in a pile in front of you and put the three title cards in front of you: NOT IMPORTANT TO ME, IMPORTANT TO ME, VERY IMPORTANT TO ME*

     *If you’re unable to print the values cards or would prefer not to, you can download and open it on your screen and write the three title headings NOT IMPORTANT TO ME, IMPORTANT TO ME, VERY IMPORTANT TO ME on a piece of paper or in a spreadsheet. 

    You have a stack of cards in front of you or on your screen. Each card describes something that may represent a personal value for you.  

  3. One at a time, look at each value card and place/write it under one of the three title cards. 

    The only rule is that you can have no more than 10 cards under the VERY IMPORTANT TO ME title. So if it gets “full” and you want to add another there, you’ll have to move one card over to the IMPORTANT TO ME column instead. 

  4. Once you have finished, take a moment to review your values cards and make any changes you’d like to. Then collect up all the values cards in the NOT IMPORTANT TO ME and IMPORTANT TO ME piles and put them to one side (or fold your piece of paper so you can only see the VERY IMPORTANT TO ME values). 

  5. Next, I would like you to focus on the top ten values you chose. Sort or number them from 1 to 10 from most to least significant. Then put aside the five lowest scoring values (i.e. values 6 – 10), or if you’re working on paper, circle your five most significant values. 

  6. Look at your top five values. These are the values that feel the most significant and important to how you would like to live your life.  

    NB: There is a brief description of each value on the list, but it’s also fine for you to define your values as you wish. For example, rather than holding ‘friends’ and ‘family’ as separate values, someone might choose ‘love’ or ‘connection’ as a value that they feel encompasses other components.

    Again, there is no right or wrong with values, as long as they are genuine to you and not short-term goals.

    If you are still feeling unsure about your values, you can use these questions to help you to identify them:
    • Deep inside, what is important to you?
    • What do you want to stand for in life?
    • What sort of person do you want to be?
    • What qualities would you like to cultivate?
    • If you were celebrating your 80th birthday with friends and family, what would you want them to be remembering and celebrating about your life? 
  7. Now, take a moment to reflect on how you found the process of working out your values, whether or not they changed as you went along, and any struggles or lightbulb moments you had along the way.

    Please do share your thoughts on the Big 8 reading you have done so far with your fellow adventurers on our community discussion board.

Thank you for completing the pre work for the Big 8, we look forward to seeing you at the workshops!

Staff login

Your courses

You are not yet enrolled in any courses. If you opted to Pay by Invoice on checkout, you will be enrolled once we have received payment, details of which can be found in your original order email.