Identifying and living by your core values has more to do with creating sustainable success in life than what most people realize.   Here’s why:

  • True and lasting success is based on who we are way more than on the goals we set or even the goals we accomplish.
  • Sustainable success in all areas of business and life is based on who we are.
  • Character is the creator of who we are. Therefore character is the creator of all true and sustainable success.
  • The foundation of character is knowing what you stand for and standing for what you know.  Therefore, the basis of character is knowing and standing for your personal values.

What are Personal Values?

Our personal values are your standards of ethics and behavior.  They set the boundaries by which you live your life.  They are the overarching system for how you define success in your life.

Our values affect every area of our life:  physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual, financial and certainly our business life.

Values are not practices.  They are guiding principles that effect everything.  Our guiding principles are fundamental, enduring truths that have universal application. Those principles give meaning to our life and a reason for being.

Concepts like integrity, honesty, quality, service, excellence, and fairness are principles that guide human conduct.

What Are the Non-Negotiable Principles that Guide Your Life?  

If you haven’t taken time to define your personal values, now is the time.  If you’ve read many books or gone to many seminars on business success you’ll know that defining core values for your business is foundational to creating a culture of success in your business.  Just like every successful company has clear values that guide decisions and actions, so every successful person has clear individual values that guide their decisions and actions.

What Does It Mean for You to be a Good Person?

When you ask some people what they want out of life, their number one answer is often something like, “I want to be happy.” Or “I want to make more money.” I think our whole world would be in much better shape if the number one answer was “I want to be a good person.”

We’re going to encourage you to take time to write down a list of the values that guide your life…those things that define what it is for you to be a truly good person.

For example, do you value, always doing the right thing, or authentic friendships, or a healthy lifestyle, or continual personal or spiritual growth, or strong family relationships?

Personal values refer to the standards of ethics and behavior that are important to you. They set the boundaries by which you live your life. They help set priorities in your life and draw lines of what you will and will not do to reach your goals. They influence every decision you make.

Values are the guiding principles that affect every part of your life: physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual, financial, and business.

How to Begin Discovering What’s Really Important to You

One way to help you identify your personal values is to think of how you would like to be remembered if you died today. What would you want to be written on your tombstone?

Personal values like honesty, hard work, fatherhood, and love for family. These principles give meaning to your life and a reason for being. When your business is aligned with your personal values your work gains purpose.  When your family values are aligned with your personal values then your family takes on whole new direction and meaning.

If you did die today, what would people say about you and your character — how you lived your life?

More importantly — what would you WANT them to say?

What would your spouse say?

Your children and family?

Your friends?

Your business associates?

Your God?

Your community?

How you want to be remembered by each of these relationships can help you understand what’s really important — to you.

Not What You Think You SHOULD Value

Identify the values that are important to you. Don’t confuse them with values you feel you should have. Your core values are not what others think you should believe in or what you think others think you should believe in. Trying to live up to values that are not your own will only lead to resentment.

Basis for Family Unity and Success

Your personal core values will lay the foundation for the core values that you establish and live by in your family.  Every decision, action or reaction in your home will be guided by these values.  Your future generations will be guided by these values that are an overflow of what you value.  Your core values, more than any other factor, will impact the quality and impact of the legacy that you leave behind on this earth.

Basis for Business Meaning and Success

How does getting clear on your personal values relate to your business or work life? Life is more than just a paycheck. Your work is a part of you.  You invest a significant portion of the best days and best years of your life in making a living.  So, make sure that the way you go about making a living is in alignment with your core values and allows you to live out your non-negotiable principles of behavior.

Integrating your core values into your vocation is one of the rewarding aspects of owning a business. If you are a business owner, you have the privilege of creating a business that has core values that reflect your personal core values. When you align your business values with your personal values, it’s a powerful motivating force. Your work gains purpose. It will instill passion and energy in you. And, if done in a participative manner, it will also instill passion and energy for your business in your employees, customers, vendors, and anyone else you work with.

How to Discover Your Personal Core Values

Start by brainstorming a list of potential core values that you want to define your life.  To help you get your started brainstorming your potential values, we are providing a list of sample values that might spark some ideas in your mind. There’s a list of simple one word values and another list of values that are expressed as an action phrase.  Either way of expressing your values is fine…however, there is often a little extra power in turning your values statements into action phrases so we are going to encourage you to do that by the end of this process.

The list we post or the values we share are by no means an exhaustive list of personal values someone could have. And again, we are not necessarily recommending any of these specific values for you.  These are just samples.  So please only check those that are important to you and write in others that come to your mind that are important to you but not on this list.

This is for YOU to define what it means for YOU to have been a really great person who succeeds in all aspects of life.

Prioritize Your Values

After you brainstorm a list of potential values that could be important to you.  Then see if you can prioritize and write down your top five or ten personal values.  Ideally, you’ll end up paring the list down to number of values that you can keep in mind, keep in front of you and keep using to guide all your decisions and actions.  Ideally, you’re going to post our core values somewhere where you will be reminded to live your life based on these values.  Ideally over time you will evaluate how well you actually live each of your values and what you would need to start, change or stop to live each value more fully.

If you’re like me, there were quite a few things that are important to me.  I mean, who wouldn’t say that “honesty” is good, right?  But even though you may be an honest person, you may not be as passionate about the value of honesty as you are about the value of compassion or maybe the value of excellence. So, your next step is to prioritize you’re your initial list of all the things that are important to you down to your top values.  Read back through all the values you initially wrote and rank them in order of priority then select the top 5-10 that are most important to you.

Make sure there is an enduring basis of truth behind each of your core values.   That there is a universal truth behind your core values.  If you say you value having 1000 followers on social media, that’s not necessarily an enduring truth that could guide actions and decisions for the rest of your life let alone for generations to come.  Your core values should be principals that will stand the test of time as being enduring non-negotiable principles.

Now it’s time for you to take action to create another system for your success. When you finish listening to this episode, click on the resource links below and work through the system that will help you identify your personal core values.


Kylon Gienger’s Personal Core Values (Stated as Active Affirmations)

1. I have a positive attitude and I think positive thoughts at all times.
2. I do unto others as I would have them do unto me.
3. I am a leader, I lead by positive example in all situations.
4. I defend those who cannot defend themselves.
5. I am a man of integrity, I always tell the truth, my word is my bond.
6. I am humble, I do not seek recognition for my actions.
7. I have self control, I control my emotions and my actions regardless of the circumstance. Even keeled, steady, constant
8. I never quit, I am resilient, I persevere and thrive on adversity.
9. I am a trendsetter, an influencer, I am creative and innovative. I am an outside-of-the-box thinker.
10. I am healthy and strong, physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
11. I am a wise manager of my time, money, and resources.
12. I am hungry, self confident, and ambitious. I can do or have anything in life through DESIRE, FAITH, and HARD WORK.
13. I take extreme ownership in all situations
14. I am formidable
15. I am abundant in all things

Lonnie and Shelley Gienger Personal/ Family Core Values

(with Business Value Corollaries)

  • Continually growing toward more intimate friendship with God
  • Seeking God’s Kingdom and his purposes and interest above everything else.
    • Business Value Corollary: Building beyond business
  • Basing all our thoughts and actions on the model of Jesus
  • Developing positive, authentic friendships
    • Business Value Corollary: Creating quality relationships.
  • Investing our lives in helping people experience God
  • Enjoying vibrant physical, mental and emotional health and energy
  • Seeing value and finding something to appreciate in everything
  • Demonstrating a positive attitude at all times
  • Continual life-long learning and adventure…enjoying life with passion and fun
  • Beginning with the end in mind (setting worthwhile goals we act on)
  • Wise management/stewardship of time, money and resources
  • Excellence, thoroughness, persistence and self-discipline
    • Business Value Corollary: Continually pursuing excellence
  • Always doing the loving thing and considering the preciousness of others.
    • Leaving everything and every person better (building people in every interaction) Business Value Corollary: Building People
  • Seeking first to understand before trying to be understood
  • Leading through serving (influencing and inspiring through a servant’s heart)
    • Business Value Corollary: Leading through serving
  • Creating and experiencing quality music and art to honor God and inspire people
  • Creating value and building a better world through entrepreneurial ventures

Lonnie’s Business Values:

  1. Doing the Right Thing
  2. Acting in the Best Interest of Our Partners
  3. Defining Wealth by Who We Are
  4. Building People
  5. Leading through Serving
  6. Continually Pursuing Excellence
  7. Building Beyond Business
  8. Creating Quality Relationships
  9. Enjoying Life with Passion


Thank You!

Thanks again for listening to the show! If it has helped you in any way, please share it using the social media buttons you see on the page.   We’d also really appreciate any feedback or questions that might guide what we talk about in future episodes.

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