7 Ways to Shape Your Day with Values


What have you done with your values? Have you incorporated them into your life?

We all have an equal number of days in each year, and yet, it seems like those days clump together faster than ever to equal another year. Whoosh. Another year done – a new one beginning. Now what?

Make every day worth more than the last.

Let’s try a little exercise in choice.

Consider this list of attributes from Galatians 5 – ones we can assume everyone would want to pursue:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-control

Yes, they’re all wonderful. They all have value. However, which one of these nine has a greater worth to you – which one do you value the most?

We imagine this ranking won’t be too difficult. Have you decided? Which one of the nine did you choose as your most important value?

Now, consider how often in a day you focus on, share and encourage others using this one value you’ve just identified as your first choice out of nine. Trick question?

If you’re anything like us, a day can be filled too quickly with lots of urgent and seemingly important stuff. Oh, yes. We all get caught up. And what is worth the most to us – what we value – can easily be overlooked. Or set aside. Buried. Ignored.

And that one day is gone. And the next.

Do you know what you value?

Maybe the first step is to be aware of what you value. Your values.

In one of the Lead Like Jesus Encounter exercises, there’s a list of 94 values from which to choose.

When Robert does an Encounter, it’s surprising how quickly the participants can decide which values resonate with them. Have you been through a Lead Like Jesus Encounter, or some other values workshop?

In a follow-up email to the Encounter, Ken Blanchard talks about values, and he highlights how even the Pharisees challenged Jesus to tell them which was the greatest commandment. Jesus easily answered their inquiry in Matthew 22:34-40. It’s a good reminder to live our values.

What have you done with your values.? Have you incorporated them into your life?

Robert’s passion has been the study of values. They’ve played a huge part in our lives over the last decade. And in the last year, we’ve been traveling North America to talk with business leaders about values. Robert consults, and does presentations on values, all tied into his eBook that includes 423 defined values.

We believe each organization, individual and married couple can live more meaningfully, if a small number of unique, relevant, and sustainable values are incorporated into their lives. We even have a version of the eBook for husbands and wives. To this end, we also strive to live our shared values – loyalty, optimism and discovery – as husband and wife every day. 

So, how can you move from knowing that values are important to using your values?

7 steps toward using your values every day

Let’s be practical. How can you start shaping your day by using your values?

  1. Choose your own values. Be clear and concise. Ideally, choose only three.
  2. Rank-order those few values. Which is first, second, and third?
  3. WRITE THEM DOWN. Yes, really. Write them on a piece of paper. Just those three.
  4. What do these values mean to you – not only the definition, but what the definition represents to you. Even more relevant if you’re married, do this with your spouse.
  5. Decide how your behavior will reflect these rank-ordered values. Imagine a few different scenarios.
  6. Share and discuss your values with those closest to you – your spouse, your family, other leaders, and those who follow you.
  7. Display your values in places of prominence, so you’ll see them every day.

If you’re going to shape your day with what has the most worth to you, then you need to be continually reminded.

Values are like Rumble Strips

When driving on the highway, there’s often a rumble strip – a series of raised strips along the edge of the road – which quickly alerts drivers to where the edge of the pavement is, should they start meandering a little off the road.

Values are just like rumble strips; they clearly define when you’re going off track.

If you know your values, if you’ve made a distinction in how you’ll behave according to those values, then you’ll quickly be shaken up, if what you value is in jeopardy.

  • If you value achievement, yet you’ve produced nothing in the last quarter, how can you change your behavior to better follow your values?
  • If one of your values is community, but your job requires you to spend long stretches working alone… is this the right fit for you at this time?
  • If generosity is one of your values, but you are surrounded with those who seek to hoard everything they possess, then perhaps you need to add some generous people to your circle.

Are you feeling stuck or uncomfortable? Could it be your values are compromised?

Your discomfort in certain areas of life might be an indicator that your values are out of alignment.

Take the time to first know what you value. Then you can shape your days to make this a great year.

Written by: Robert and Lori Ferguson

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