This has been a year of much travel, many expenses, and some significant transitions. As I contemplated 1 more trip (in addition to the other 5 we will make in the next few months), I was torn. The cost of one more plane fare plus hotel, another weekend away from home, etc. challenged my desire to celebrate the wedding of a friend.

I struggled to make this decision. It felt like either way, if I went to the wedding or stayed home, I would have regrets. That’s when I began reflecting on my personal core values. Relationships are important to me and so is seizing the day – living each day to the fullest and taking every opportunity to connect with those people who are important to me. Before I knew it, I had my flight and hotel reservations completed. Once I made the decision, I felt a load lifted off my shoulders; I felt peaceful.

One of the primary drivers of that peace was making the decision in alignment with my personal core values. When I keep my core values in mind, even when a decision may have challenging consequences, there is an underlying solidness and surety as a result. This is effective with minor decisions as well as weightier ones – such as considering the purchase of a pet or accepting a job offer.

In the roughly 9,000 choices we make each day, what part do your personal core values play?

Are you living, working, and leading in alignment with what is most important to you?

Many of us live our lives, making decisions without an awareness that we are moving through each day with the current of our activities catapulting us forward. What a difference it makes in our journey when we use the rudder of our core values to provide direction!

If you are unaware of you core values, connect here to begin the identification process. Remember to consider where you actually spend your time, talent, and resources. These values should be authentic, not aspirational.

Once you have identified your top 5 personal core values, take some time to define what they mean to you and identify the behaviors that support each value. For example, one of my Core Values is Learning and Growth.

Personal Core Value – Learning and Growth

Definition – Grows in knowledge and wisdom.


  • Practice curiosity.
  • Process learning and apply it.
  • Seize opportunities to stretch beyond the comfortable.

I find that it’s useful to post these where I may see them throughout my week, to keep them top of mind. As I make decisions, these play an important role in reminding me what is most important, and directing me towards continued alignment with my values as I live and work and lead.

At the end of the day, and at the end of a life, our brand and our legacy is reflected in the millions of choices we have made throughout our days.  People know who we are, what we stand for and what is important to us.

Are you aware of your most important personal core values? Can you name them, define them and describe behaviors that support your values? Where have your core values been critical in supporting your journey as you live, work and lead? Stories to share, anyone?


Carla Ruiz

Carla Ruiz

Carla’s mission is to fuel growth and development by affirming strengths, challenging beliefs, and igniting potential through Values Based Leadership. She presents, facilitates, and coaches in a variety of leadership programs and with companies intentional about strengthening their culture. In her role as a Leadership Development Coach, she is passionate about increasing emotional intelligence, which she believes is the cornerstone of effective leadership.

close slider

    Subscribe to the InnerWill email for inspirational stories and tips on how to build engagement, trust, and success at work and beyond – delivered right to your inbox every Monday morning!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.