You can do this exercise a number of different ways; the important thing is that you enjoy it and that you give yourself permission to be creative with it.

  • Carry a camera with you and take pictures of all the things that energise and drain you.  Or, as I often put it, make your heart SING or SINK. It could be that a blue sky energises you whilst a filing cabinet de-energises you.  Take as many pictures as you want to and then lay them out on a table or arrange them in a computer folder. You can also use your own existing photographs.Alternatives:
  • If you don’t like the idea of taking photos, then get a host of old magazines and cards.  Cut/rip out images that stand out to you.
  • Or find objects around your office or home.
  • If you love drawing, then draw your own pictures
  • Once you have images or objects simply put them into two piles: Energisers/SINGS and Drains/SINKS
  • The important thing is there are absolutely no rights and wrongs and your value list will be unique to you.
  • Take each one in turn and explore “What is it about this that energises or drains me?  Keep on drilling down until you get to the heart of the matter.  To the foundations on which you stand.

#Try scoring them out of 10

On a scale of 1 – 10 how much am I living Peace / Adventure / Conversation . . . at this moment? Then ask yourself “what could I choose to do in order to increase my score by maybe 1 or 2?” You don’t have to go all the way to 10! Then choose something and go and do it!

#First thing in the morning (over breakfast?) scribble down ten tiny things you could do to live a value out loud that day. Examples for my Live Joyfully might include: smile at strangers; dance for 5 minutes in the kitchen; walk round the garden and notice what’s blossoming. Then chuck the paper in the bin and get on with your day. Just notice what happens.


Things to do with your values so you can

# One interesting thing to do with your core values is add a verb to each one so you can see what it looks like as an actionable core value. Some of mine would look like this:

Live joyfully                                              Act with authenticity

Promote growth and learning              Create beauty in your life

This helps you make choices about the actions you need to take to feel like you are truly living on purpose.

#Before a meeting or important conversation ask yourself

What 3 values will most support me to be my most chocolatey self in this event?

What actions might I take if I’m more chocolatey?


#Find a way to keep your values to hand. Put a photo on your desktop? Make a credit card sized image and laminate it? Find an object that reminds you of a value? Pick a value for the week?

#Use your values in decision making. All you do is take one deep slow conscious breath…then mentally ask yourself these two incredibly powerful questions…

1.What do I really want here?
2. What can I do right now to express or move towards that?

Then listen to, and act from the answers that pop up.

#Use Melli O’Brien’s STOP method. This process needn’t take long. It might take 3 minutes or as little as 10 seconds.

S stands for ‘stop’ – stop what you’re doing and open your attention wide, taking in everything that’s happening right now.

T stands for ‘take a deep breath’ – take a slow deep breath, and as you do so, tune into the sensations of breathing. Gather your attention and hone in on the exact sensations of breathing right now in this moment. Aim to be fully present with the full journey of the breath into and out of the body.

O stands for ‘observe’ – observe your body and emotions. What sensations can you feel in your feet, your legs, your head, arms and shoulders? Are there any emotions present? Name them. Simply sensing into whatever is present in the body. Then widen your focus and open to the moment and what’s arising in the environment. What can you see, feel, smell, hear and taste?

You have now, quite literally, come to your senses!

P stands for ‘proceed’ – proceed with what you were doing with the intention of integrating this mindful awareness into your activity. If a response is needed you can now respond in a way that feels right to you. You can act from your truth, from your values. This is sometimes called ‘spontaneous right action’.

#Keep a reflective journal. Some questions you might want to write about are
Which of my values did I really honour today?
What did I do that made it possible for me to honour them?
Which value did I neglect?
What was the impact of neglecting it?
What is my learning from today and how will I weave it into my life?