Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Using Personal Core Values and Personal Creed to Evaluate Big Life Decisions


Recently I was helping a friend evaluate a number of opportunities in front of him for the next steps in his career. He has a lot of good things going on and he has one of those unique times in his life where the decisions made in the next 1-3 months will make a tremendous impact on the next 20 years of his life.

Evaluating a handful of opportunities when the stakes are this high is tough.  It’s amazingly complex. I’ve mentioned many times that I have a personal creed and my own personal core values. I cannot say how many times I have fallen back on the 7 written core values to help make decisions; so in this case I decided to help him create a matrix of the opportunities and measure everything against his core values.

We built the tool, and I think it can be a useful idea for anybody considering where they are in life and where they want to be.

Here’s the exercise I did for my friend:

  1. At the top of the page, list your personal core values (and personal creed if you have one).
  2. Number each one.
  3. In a table, across the top, list the opportunities ahead (jobs, companies, cities, etc…)
  4. Down the left side of the table list the criteria you want to use to measure the decision
  5. Evaluate each criteria against your core values and put the numbers beside them in parentheses
  6. Be sure that each core value has at least one criteria attached to it, if any are not on your list, add them, but word them as you would word the criteria to measure against, not the core value itself.

How you measure, rank, and score each box on the grid is up to you. But the idea is that you actually leverage your personal creed and personal core values to make big decisions. It won’t give you the answer, but it’s a great starting point for how to think about the decision and very likely will give you some clarity.

Even if you aren’t at a big pivot point in your life, I’d suggest taking 20 minutes today and doing this for yourself. Are you living up to your core values? Are you in the right place? Are you around the right people?  Or are you waiting for something to happen? You know how I feel about waiting.



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