What's Your Number One Value?

I had a meeting with my life coach last week to discuss what I valued (and a whole slew of other things). First thing she pulls out are these value cards. There's 45 of them - all listed with the most popular values of human beings. If you'd like to pick up a pack, they're available here. (Or you can't print out a similar version for free). My first task: Select my top 16 values.

This wasn't too hard. The first card I picked up was "fitness & health". I picked a few others and then decided to go in reverse. What didn't I value? I eliminated what wasn't important to me, removing several cards, like religion, without hesitation.

After narrowing down the list to 16, I (you guessed it) had to narrow the list down to 8. It's funny how the elimination in step 1 became easier in this step. It was easier to eliminate values that all of sudden were less important when compared to others.

Here are my top 8 values:

(Note: These are in no particular order)

1. Trust 2. Humility 3. Fitness & Health 4. Honesty 5. Family 6. Creativity/Innovation 7. Growth 8. Simplicity

My coach told me to write my top 8 down because, when I do this exercise again in ten years, some of my top 8 are likely to change. I could see a few of these changing, but I have no idea where I'll be or who I'll interact with in ten years, so you never know.

As I worked to narrow down my cards again (my top 4 were Trust, Family, Fitness/Health, and Growth). I arrived at my number one value. Can you guess what it is? If you've known me for the past few years, it's probably obvious.

My number one value is growth.

How did I choose growth?

I felt everything else in my top 8 fell under an umbrella of growth. I've learned to trust people which has helped me grow. My family has helped me grow through life lessons. I've dramatically improved my health. And for the rest of my top 8, they all fall under personal growth. I would have never gained those values had it not been for growing as a person.

What does growth me to me?

In this particular instance growth meant become better personally and professionally.

Growth for me personally means working on something where I'm constantly improving. Where I'm better today than I was yesterday. And I have a plan to grow throughout the year. Certain things I want to accomplish (remember those goals I set for myself?). Personal growth also means meeting more people - both around my age and business connections - and seeing how I can help them grow.

I'd like to help more people grow, too. And more people learn - to become better human beings. I try to do this through speaking at different high school business classes to get students interested in entrepreneurship and personal improvement. But, it's also why I'm choosing to take on interns with Gredio. The number one thing interns can walk away with is a ton of learning. Learning to apply to another internship or to help them in their job hunt. And it's what I intend to share with my interns. To help them become better people and improve their skills. To pay it forward, if you will.

Growth for me professionally means constantly challenging myself. Applying what I learned from my last business venture to the next. Building a network that rivals the city of Burlington. Engaging with people who will help me move my business forward. I finally feel like I have something to grow and nurture. My two business ventures, Green Mountain Mustard and Gredio, are both growing. Sure, they come with different challenges, but that's part of learning. How do I solve problems? How do I work with others to get where my businesses need to go. It's a complex web, but the only way to get there is to take it one step at a time. And that's growth.

It's an exciting time for me. I'm happy to have growth as my number one value.

Now, for the biggest objection: Why isn't family your number one value?

Family is incredibly important to me. As I wrote in an earlier post, my business would crash and burn without my Mom. I try to call my siblings every once in a while, but I don't make enough of an effort to go see them. I have a small extended family - not a gaggle of cousins. Should I be communicating more with my family? Probably. Should I see them more than I do? Yes. It's important (heck, it made top 4), but I don't have a family of my own. I'm single. I don't have kids. I'm sure this will change over the next few years, but it's not number one right now.

I'd like you to try this exercise. Print out the cards above. Narrow the values down to 16, then, 8, 4, 2, and finally your top value. What is it? Does it makes sense for where you are in your life? Let me know in the comments below.