Core Values: Know Them, Live By Them!

My oldest son recently received a very high honor: His school’s Core Values award. To be recognized as standing out from the crowd, not giving in to peer pressure and living in sync with an established set of core values makes me extremely proud as a father. I want my boys to have core values. Ultimately, I don’t care what their political and religious beliefs are, I don’t care what they choose as a career, as long as all of these are in alignment with their own core values.

“It’s better to know who you are than to know where you are going.” – Jim Collins, author

What are core values and why are they important?

Athletes know that strengthening core muscles is vital to all athletic performance. Your abdominal muscles control your balance and posture. In life, it’s just as important to strengthen your core values. They define who you are and give you balance and posture as you pursue your dreams.

What are the things you stand for and believe in? Integrity, honesty, respect, accountability, love? If you don’t know your core values, I highly encourage you to do some soul searching. I want you to decide what your values are. I want you to be so convinced of them that you own them, that you are able to stand strong in them. It is when you truly own your belief system that you become who you were uniquely created to be.

When you are living in accordance to your core values you feel light. Your soul sings! It gives you energy and happiness that does not come from anything outside you. When you’re living contrary to those core values you lose energy. You feel a heaviness and a darkness within. Your soul feels regret in the choices that are made outside of your beliefs. When you are living without regret, you are living in accordance to your values.

My purpose statement is “to love, serve, and add value to the lives of others.” Everything I do, everything I write, every podcast I produce are done with my purpose statement in mind. I know that, when I am living according to my purpose and values, I can be happy and confident regardless of my circumstances or the people I am around. I have learned to simply leave situations in which people are behaving in a way that is contrary to my values. It is not a negative judgement against them. It is a protective action for me, and ultimately a gift to them and the world. When I am in sync with my values I improve and everything around me improves. The same is true for you!

You know when you meet someone who is confident in who they are, what they are, and why they exist on this planet! They operate with integrity to themselves. You can tell they are living in accordance with their core values. Positive energy radiates from them. They are not seeking approval from others. They have found happiness within.

When you live according to your core values, you stand out from the crowd. You are different and people notice. Sometimes this is uncomfortable. Be strong and believe in yourself. Know what you believe so you can stand on your own despite peer pressure. You will ultimately be happier when you are true to yourself in every situation.

Let me be candid. I am not perfect. My friends and family know me. They know my shortcomings, my mistakes, and my failures. I spent so much of my life living a lie and telling lies that it took me a long time to get back to the truth. We are human. None of us are perfect. We see evidence of core values within ourselves when we recognize we have strayed and take steps to get back into alignment. If you are doing something right now that is not in keeping with your core values, it’s time to realign. I love a line from the song Collide by Howie Day, “even the best fall down sometimes”. And it’s true.

“Man’s greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time he falls.” – Vince Lombardy

If you are living outside your core values – take a breath and get back up. Start living in accordance with your core values. You can do this! Every single day is a day to start over. Every day is a day you can attempt to make yourself a better person than you were yesterday. You are responsible for your actions and behaviors – own them! Change them! Make right what can be made right, and let the rest go. You can’t change how other people feel. All you can do is change you.

The overwhelming majority of my life coaching clients are struggling because they have spent most of their lives trying to be what other people expected them to be. My job is to help them tap into who they truly are and start living in sync with that – to be the fullest expressions of who they were created to be.

Know your values, know what your non-negotiables are, and know what your deal breakers are. Be willing to walk away in social or professional situations. That can be awkward, but it’s better than compromising your values. Learn to find peace and contentment within yourself.

Know your core values, know yourself, and love yourself.

7 Responses to Core Values: Know Them, Live By Them!

  1. Peggy Salvatore May 18, 2015 at 9:56 PM #

    Congratulations to both of you! What an honor!

  2. Leighann Morrison June 14, 2015 at 10:11 AM #

    Please clarify the statement that you do not care what your son’s religious beliefs are… While I agree with the sitiment about my child’s future career, political views, ect. As a Christian, I am significantly concerned about my child’s belief in the only saving grace available through Jesus Christ. Without it they are condemned to eternal damnation. As a Christian, how could you not care about your son’s religious beliefs?

    • Bruce June 14, 2015 at 10:37 AM #

      Thank you for reading this and for your comment. I think what has you tripped up is the phrase “I don’t care.” Of course I care and do everything to live by example and to teach them. However, as the overall theme of the article, they must come to saving faith on their own terms and through the work of Holy Spirit in their lives. Far too many people claim Christianity more as social identification, like “I’m an American” or “I’m a Virginian” or “I’m a republican.” Their belief system is more “churchianity” than it is Christianity. I cannot make my children Christians, only God can do that. God has no grandchildren. I want my boys to come to their faith because they truly believe it, not just because I have taught them a dogma. I know too many people who are in their profession because their parents or someone else wanted them to be that. They are miserable. This was the point of my article.


  3. Dominic Fennell June 22, 2015 at 5:57 PM #

    Hi Bruce,
    I recently discovered your material on Twitter and I’ve been following you ever since. Life coaching fascinates me as I find its focus on positive, resourceful mind states so refreshing, a real eye opener and a daily source of energy.

    As a relatively new father myself I constantly strive for ways to instill values in my daughter and I will know my work is done simply if she grows up with high self esteem, strong principles and respect for others. This is my understanding of your phrase ‘core values’.

    Your point about finding your own way to God is so true! I grew up in a highly intellectual and spiritual household but no amount of exposure to that world could convince me to buy into it. I had to experience some kind of spiritual crisis of my own in my early 30s before I thought, You know maybe all that meditation would be good for me too! So I completely agree with you on that score.

  4. EKOJIKOKO RHO VICTOR May 18, 2017 at 12:10 PM #

    That is great! Nobody tells you what to believe.It is a personal Choice.

  5. Kimberly Craig August 17, 2020 at 2:00 PM #

    Congratulations to both you and your son Bruce. Excellent read on staying true to yourself and allowing your core beliefs and principles guide you. And yes, when we fall short as we all will do, we can step back and realign. Keep shining!

  6. Madhav May 7, 2021 at 10:28 AM #

    Congratulations to both you and your son. It was really an enlightening read. But sometimes I wonder where do core values come from. Are they innate to human beings or are acquired over a life. Just curious to know your thoughts on this.

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