On this page


According to Ethics Sage, values are basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate attitudes or actions. They help us to determine what is important to us. Values describe the personal qualities we choose to embody to guide our actions; the sort of person we want to be, the manner in which we treat ourselves and others, and our interaction with the world around us. They provide the general guidelines for conduct.

Brene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston who has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. She’s the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers, teaching the importance of values. Two insights from Brene are:

There is not a set of professional values and personal values. We only have one set. We don’t shift our values based on context.

Conflicts in our lives come in when our values are in conflict with your place of work, your family, the stranger in line at the store. Our values don’t change in situations. These are our north star which guides us through all of this.

In this simple video created by Dr Russ Harris, author of the international best-selling self-help book ‘The Happiness Trap’ and a General Practitioner in Medicine, he speaks about the difference between values and goals.

What can you do?

Have a look at the List of Values that Brene Brown provides in her book Dare to Lead. Download this list and take your time working through each value that is listed. Eliminate ones that does not resonate with you. The aim is to limit your list down to two or three values that will be your “north star”, and may guide you through decisions that you make into your future.

There are many online tools available that help you to determine your values in an interactive way. Some of these may not be accessible through technology such as JAWS. One of the online value assessment tools can be found on the Value Centre website. When completed, it sends a summary report and unpacks values based on your answers. Please note that Vision Australia does not administer or own the Value Centre website.

Have you thought about getting a coach or mentor? This is a great way to connect with others who may be able to help you determine your values, and help you to align to these in your everyday life.