Values Clarification Process:
Values Worksheet

The Values Clarification Process can help you see where you may be compromising your values, and ultimately your path to success!

The major reason we tend to compromise our values is because we are not clear about what we actually value!

To avoid common success mistakes , it's important to get clear on what’s really important to you. To do so, simply follow the values clarification process below. Create your values hierarchy and answer the “what” and “why” questions on the values worksheet below.


  1. To identify and clarify your values, first choose 5 “work values” that are important to you and list them in the first column below. Remember, your work values may be different than your personal values and social values.


  2. Next, beside each value, write why it is important to you or what it provides for you. For example, “punctuality” could be important because you feel more prepared for your day, because it keeps you out of trouble with your supervisor, because arriving at the same time as others allows you the opportunity to be social with those who gather around the coffee pot, because you consider it to be courteous, or because it is a company rule (and following rules is important to you, or you have experienced consequences in the past for breaking rules). You may even find you have multiple reasons. If so, ask yourself which one is more important, and follow that up with another “why?”

    With each applicable answer, ask yourself again why that particular reason is important, until you get to what you believe is the true reason your original value is important to you. You may even need to re-name it! However, if you do re-name it, be sure to follow through with asking yourself the “why” and “what” questions again to double-check yourself.

  3. In the third column, rank the priority of the value in relation to the others. For example, if you’ve listed “punctuality” and “self-directed behavior”, ask yourself which one is more important to you. Compare only 2 values at a time. Compare each value against your current “top priority” value.

The Cost of Compromising Important Values

People most often get into trouble with their values when they compromise their most important values for values that are lower-ranking values on their list. To see how this works, consider the following example:

Scott is an artist who ranked his values as follows:

  1. Freedom
  2. Passion
  3. Accomplishment
  4. Security

Scott worked for several years at a popular tourist destination where he rented a small vendor booth and created unique air-brushed landscape portraits that he sold to tourists. He struggled financially, but felt a traditional job would compromise his highest values – freedom and his passion for art. One day, however, a man approached Scott and asked him to paint a series of murals for him in exchange for a substantial amount of money. Scott enthusiastically accepted and soon found himself painting murals for the man’s friends as well. For a while, Scott was extremely happy.

After several months, however, Scott began feeling depressed and resentful of his new job. Through close examination of his values and feelings, Scott discovered that he had “sold out” his highest values (freedom, passion, and accomplishment) for one of his lower ranking values (security). Scott missed the freedom he had to make his own choices about his art. Although his new customers were enthusiastic and exceptionally pleased with Scott’s murals, Scott didn’t have the same sense of passion about creating them, and this diminished his sense of accomplishment as well. He also missed interacting with fellow vendors and especially the tourists!

  1. Review your list of values and note below whether any of your values poses a possibleconflict with another value. By compromising a top priority value for a fourth or fifth place value you are effectively blocking your own attempts to get what you reallywant! You’re also likely to be creating additional stress and conflict for yourself during the process!

POSSIBLE VALUES CONFLICTS_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now repeat the values clarification process for "personal values" and "social values."

For more tips about the Values Clarification Process


Clarifying Personal Values

Steps to Success

Positive Change Tools for Success