The advice of all personal development speakers and writers applies and should be acted upon – take the time you need to decide what your values are. Once you have done this work once you will have established in your own mind what your rules should be, as a result of which your conscience will automatically kick in to let you know when you are failing in your efforts to act in keeping with those values.
In a nutshell the process is as follows:
- Find a word that describes what you feel truly represents your value, e.g. honesty, wealth, fitness. For example, we’ll use Integrity.
- Turn it into an active statement or phrase, thus giving it life. For example, “I have personal integrity.”
- Define what you mean when you use the term. It will be different from a dictionary definition. It is my experience that when I suggest Integrity as a value, a room full of people may well define it differently, even if they do so with a degree of similarity. Think deeply and define your value accurately for you. For example, “I show integrity when I stand up for what I believe in, even when it may not serve me to do so.”
- Finally, decide and write down how you will behave in accordance with that value. For example, “When I am tempted to deny my beliefs I instead affirm them wholly to others, whatever they may think of me as I do so.”
Having done this work you should reinforce your decision – and it has been YOUR decision – by reading and re-reading what you have written. Then your conscience will help your integrity by reminding you of your decisions every time you consider behaving out of synch with it. For example, when someone does challenge you (how you look, how you speak, whether you comply with their social convention and ethics, etc.) and you are tempted to change your mind just to avoid confrontation, or being put on the spot or being tempted to ‘fit in’ – then educated conscience will help you revert to standing up for that particular belief whatever the social consequence.
For more examples, go to my Values Statement page.