Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Creating your Personal Core Values


Yesterday I described an exercise you can use to leverage your written personal core values to help with big decisions or a “review” of your life at any point.   However, I realize that many people don’t actually have written core values.  Do YOU?

If not, here is a fun way to find them.  Do this with a close friend, business partner, or accountability mate. Share each step with each other.

  1. Think about your personal dream advisory board. Who would you put on this board? You can use any human being you know. Superheros, historical figures, friends, relatives, co-workers, bosses, competitors, clients, vendors, children, old people, mean people, nice people, yellow people, red people.  Make a list.   Spend some time in quiet thinking about this. Don’t do it quickly.
  2. After you’ve carefully built your “dream team” of personal advisors, share it with your partner.  Spend time discussing each person on your board. Talk about what you admire most about them. Talk about why they made the cut on your board.  As you talk, feel free to revise and edit the board.  There is no right number of people on the board.
  3. Following your discussion, write out beside each board member single words that describe this person. Just list them out beside each board member.
  4. Share the words with your partner, discuss and edit as necessary.
  5. Looking at the list you’ve just created, circle the words that inspire you the most. Circle the words that are what you want to be.  You may circle one per board member, or many per board member. There are no rules.
  6. Take this list of circled words, and write them on a new blank page. This is the beginning of your core values.  Sort them, order them, draw them, or write them over and over. Put them into sentences, or leave them as words.  Do whatever you want, because this is the list of words that will give you your 7 core values.

I love this step-by-step approach to creating personal core values. I did mine about 18 months ago and they have become a big part of how I think and make decisions. It has helped me be much more intentional.

By the way, here are JC’s personal core values, but get your own!

  1. Self-aware and at Peace
  2. Engaged with Family and Friends
  3. Financially Enabled Freedom
  4. Intensity in Everything
  5. Open and Direct Always
  6. Resourceful and Applied Smarts
  7. Laughter is Air

(ps. At least click “laughter,” it will leave you with some good energy!)

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