“Integrity is not so much a value in itself; it is rather the value that guarantees all the other values. “ Anonymous

Your core values govern the way you live and the way you respond to life. They govern the way you react to situations that present themselves. Your core values help to guide your decision making. They govern the way you react to your friends and to your non-friends.

We are in harmony when we act in alignment with our core values. We can consciously act outside of our values. This brings on dissonance because our true values are still there at our core. Your core values act like a compass that sets your direction initially and then keeps you heading in the right direction over time. Your core values represent your authentic self.

If you are not a generally “aware” person, your values can sometimes be more apparent to others than to yourself. If you are more in touch with your values, you can make conscious decisions by applying your values in real time to assess the right course of action. You can pre-judge an appropriate course of action by the way you would feel about the immediate decision itself and about the downstream consequences of the action.

Living in Congruence with Your Values

According to Stephen Covey: “Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them.” You are in control of your life. Really, you are - although at times, it may not be apparent to you:

• You are in control of your actions
• You are in control of your choices
• You are in control of how long you hold on to your thoughts
• You are in control of your feelings.

Taking charge of yourself by being accountable and accepting responsibility for your actions are hallmarks of a strong character – and your authentic self. Living your life in alignment with your core values is not always the easy course to follow – many difficult decisions must be made along the way. We can ask ourselves: Will I do the expedient thing or will I do the right thing? You know in your heart that you know the difference.

When you live according to your core values you are in balance; life moves freely. When you stray from your core values, stress can build beneath the surface. Over time, you can come back into alignment with your core values or you can rationalize your values away. By not following your core values, you can begin to lose your moorings. You can shift your value set point; another weaker value can overtake an existing one if followed repeatedly.

This can be a slippery slope as one decision eventually leads to another of questionable integrity; this in turn builds on and leads to other decisions which are out of alignment with our core values. Each decision chips away incrementally at our core values.

Where does it end? It ends when our integrity steps in to re-assert the power to define our core values and behaviors. Our integrity will begin the realignment back to where we started or else to a new core values set point depending upon the transformation process and triggers; the new set point can be either more or less strident than before. Chart and observe this process of alignment with core values in your own life.

Three-Step Call to Action

1. Identify five core values that are very important to you.

2. Consider how those values define your character - either who you are or who you want to become.

3. How did you respond the last time your core values were tested? How did you feel after you acted?

Just Say No to the Status QuoTM

Author's Bio: 

website: http://www.BouncingBackFromLoss.com
twitter: BouncingBackNow

Donna Marie Thompson, PhD focuses on bouncing back, empowerment, personal growth, overcoming obstacles, happiness, joy, hope, energy, faith, and spirituality.

She is co-author of the book "Bouncing Back:Thriving in Changing Times"(March 2010). She is author of the book "Bouncing Back From Loss" (August 2010).

Her blog and podcast topics are Happiness & Joy, Faith & Forgiveness, Hope & Help, and Living Your values.

Donna Marie is a Certified Professional Coach and a Master Practitioner of the Energy Leadership Index.

website: http://www.BouncingBackFromLoss.com
twitter: BouncingBackNow