Two of the issues I often hear from my clients are: what’s the process for figuring out what values I feel accurately reflect what’s most important to me, and how can I pass them along to my children in a way that will make them more powerful?

Our values define our character—the code of conduct that is our compass in the journey of life. Among the values you could embrace are: authenticity, commitment, compassion, courage, creativity, excellence, faith, family, friendship, happiness, harmony, health, independence, integrity, kindness, lightness, loyalty, respect, serenity, and service to others.

To help you get started with the process of identifying your values, think about the three people you respect most deeply, and describe the qualities in them that you admire most. These will be some of your values. To illustrate the point, I’ll share a conversation I had with a client I’ll call Pam.

“Time flies by so fast,” Pam sighed wistfully. “My daughter, Hayley, is already 5 years old. Before I know it, she will be all grown up. I want to help her develop good, strong values to guide her as she makes decisions that will affect the rest of her life.

“But beyond telling Hayley to be nice, share her toys and tell the truth, my mind goes blank. I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and defined my values. How can I teach something to my daughter that I can’t even describe to myself?”

So I asked her, “Who are you when you are at your best?”

She found that commitment to family, compassion, health, integrity, kindness and respecting self and others are the priorities she nurtures in her daily life.

With her values clearly defined, Pam moved on to the issue of modeling her values with her daughter. I asked Pam to create a scenario within her daily routine where she could, as part of the conversation, explain to Hayley the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of her values: this is what I believe is important and this is why.

Here is the scenario: when Pam is in a hurry, she sometimes raises her voice to Hayley. Instead of continuing this pattern, Pam wants to choose ‘calm words’, explaining to her daughter that she is choosing to speak calmly because she respects Hayley. Pam felt her self-respect growing as she contemplated how she could maintain her integrity under in a stressful situation.

Pam discovered her deepest values and linked them in a powerful, positive way with her relationship with her daughter. This will be Pam’s buffer against making choices reactively instead of reflectively.

Our values can be a source of inspiration, because the true measure of our lives ultimately lies in the sum total of the hundreds of seemingly small choices we make each and every day.

The more committed we are to living our values in every moment of our daily lives, the more powerful we become, because we are living in our integrity. It’s this strength of character that will fundamentally sustain us in being the kind of person we want to be for the long haul. And create the self-respect and peace of mind that come from living in our integrity.

Author's Bio: 

Judy Widener is a Certified Life Coach. Her passion is assisting her clients to discover what is most important to them, then use their special gifts to create more balance, abundance and satisfaction in their lives. Empowerment Life Coaching is a comprehensive program that teaches clients simple ways to build their personal power and overcome obstacles to achieving their dreams. The world-renowned Empowerment model, created by David Gershon and Gail Straub, has a 30 year track record of success. Judy has coached more than 600 people in the past 13 years. Her website is